Keeping Healthy, Mentally & Physically

  • 24 March, 2020

The last few months have been some of the scariest in recent history. The onset of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has everyone frightened and maintaining a 6-foot radius of “social distance”. We are frightened of touching our friends and family and going anywhere where we might be exposed to a nasty little bug. For many of us this isolation only adds to our feelings of hopelessness and fear, AND STRESS. The media is not helping, focusing on the negatives and the direst of outcomes. It is enough to make you give up hope, grab a box of cookies and hide under the bedclothes.

But let’s get real for a second.

No matter what is going on around you, you have a choice. You can choose to worry and fear and eat the cookies, stay in bed all day, expecting the worst OR you can choose to come out of this better than you were before IN SPITE OF the restrictions that self- quarantining has put upon you. You can choose to eat well, stay hydrated, exercise and embrace some of the positives, the blessings that self- quarantining has ALLOWED you to notice.

Good quality food
We have seen the run on grocery stores. Milk, bread, eggs, cereal and of course toilet paper (?) were the first to go flying off the shelves. Most Americans who have fallen prey to this negatively have rushed around buying things that frankly you should probably avoid. Baked goods, canned processed food (soups, potted meat) and frozen and boxed convenience food. They have run stores out of things that have probably been on the shelves longest, and once this is over will remain taking up valuable real estate in the pantry.

Rather than focus on the standard staples of grains, flours, canned vegetables and convenience foods, try instead to focus on frozen vegetables and fruits and lean meat.

Frozen is second only to fresh and in season fruits and vegetables, maintaining most of its nutrients and flavor. Lean meats are your best option if buying organic is difficult or unavailable. Since animals store most toxins in their fat, buying lean is your best bet for commercial farmed meat. Get some good healthy fats too: olive oil, real butter, nuts, but oils and nut butters. Fats are brain food, and quality matters.

Plenty of Rest
Sleep is arguably one of the most important aspects of good health, but most of us have really ruined our ability to get good quality sleep over time. We have resorted to melatonin or other sleep aids, we watch TV until we fall asleep and we read on tablets well into the night. For generations, the sun was our natural alarm clock, and our bodies recognize its signals. Technology has increased the duration of our day and interfered with our natural sleep cycles. And this lack of sleep is stressful to the body and our overall health.

Now is a great time to undo some of those habits since we are not rushing off to appointments or the office at first light. Let the sun be your guide when it comes to sleeping and waking. Avoid evening blue light from television and other devices after sundown, or utilize blue light blocking lenses. Add a little ambiance with candlelight. Go to bed when you get sleepy, wake up naturally. Then allow your circadian rhythm to self-regulate by exposing yourself to bright early morning sun for 15-30 minutes. And remember, a good night’s sleep starts the morning before.

Staying hydrated
Chronic dehydration can create a host of other issues from imbalanced electrolytes to dry skin to poor digestion. Let others buy soda and sugary (or artificially sweetened) drinks.

Focus on water as your primary source of hydration. Drink 6- 8 glasses of water a day and an additional glass for every caffeinated beverage you consume. Drink water 30 minutes before any meal and whenever you are feeling a bit puckish, but do not know what you want to eat.

Side note: Feeling a bit dehydrated, add a couple of GRAINS of salt to your water bottle. You won’t taste it, and the additional trace minerals can help stave off the effects of dehydration.

Exercise
It would be easy right now to set up camp in front of your television or computer, to focus obsessively on what the talking heads are saying about how dire our circumstances are and how the end of the world is nigh. But don’t.

More than any other place, when it comes to your body, movement and health, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.

Even if your regular outlets for exercise are restricted, find excuses to be active.

Garden, walk your dog, do at home exercise programs, practice Tai Chi, dance, stretch, yoga, balance work, breathing exercises. Be active. Do things that elevate your heart rate and respiration. MOVE. Appreciate all that your magnificent body has done and can still do.

Need more guidance, check out youtube.com and search exercises for seniors. There are hundreds of low intensity, chair and standing exercise programs out there to help with cardio, balance, muscle tone and more.

Connect
For many of us, one of the hardest parts of the whole COVID-19 scare is the lack of social outlet. Churches have suspended services, hospitals and assisted living locations have restricted visitation, stores, cafes and many gyms have limited hours or have closed completely. It is difficult not to miss our friends and family and be lonely.

But we also live in an amazing era of technology. Apps like Facebook and Twitter allow us to stay connected to friends. Phones with video chat features or Skype allow us to see our family and interact with them. Take time every day to connect with someone you love using any means available. Don’t let self- quarantine mean total isolation. Yes, hugs are wonderful and irreplaceable, but for now blow a kiss and stay safe. This too will pass, and you will be able to catch up on those hugs and hundreds more soon enough.

Categories: Article, Local Health

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