Many of us are wondering just how to cope during social distancing without a clear end in sight for COVID-19. There’s a big likelihood that the “normal” we all long for will be drastically different once the shelter-in-place order is lifted. No doubt, the pandemic has brought major added stress and uncertainty to our lives, putting many out of work and worry concerning what the future may hold. Plus, for most of us, the usual ways we handle stress – like going to the gym or seeing friends, spending time outside, among other activities – have been deemed unsafe for now.
It is extremely important that we do our part and practice social distancing, but it is also vital to take care of ourselves too! Here are some ways you can practice self-care while still social distancing.
As an outdoor enthusiast and rock climber, news of the shelter-in-place order first sent me into quite a tailspin. How do I stay in climbing shape if I can’t go to the gym? No more yoga classes? Hiking trails closed? I’ve actually found that there’s no shortage of exercise tips for staying fit within the confines of your own home. Fitness gurus, such as Kayla Istines, have posted free videos on YouTube with exercises you can do inside with little to no equipment!
Furthermore, many yoga studios have posted free access, even hosting live yoga sessions on their websites or via YouTube. There are so many great resources out there to stay in shape even without access to your regular gym. Running and walking outside, or riding your bike are all great ways to exercise and enjoy some fresh air – both are essential to increasing our mood and boosting our immune system!
Get Some Fresh Air
Even with the shelter-in-place order, we are still able to go out for necessities and fresh air is definitely one of them. Go for a walk, bike ride, or just enjoy some fresh air on your porch or balcony. For one, catching some rays and vitamin D is helpful for boosting mood and immunity. A change of scenery can also be helpful for remote workers to re-energize midday. It’s also an excuse to get up and stretch your legs.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
What better way to channel that extra time around the house than to cook healthy meals? Staying in has allowed me to explore my creative side with cooking. Prior to COVID-19, I was so busy during the workweek that I typically prepared meals on Sundays. This saved me from the hassle during the week and helped me to stick to a somewhat healthy diet. However, as time went on, meal prepping became harder to sustain and I was stuck in a rut making the same recipes or opting for take-out. Having extra time has allowed me to try out some new recipes and get variety in my meals, making it much more fun and enjoyable to stick to a healthy plant-based diet
Get Enough Sleep
We all know how important it is to get a good night’s sleep, yet most of us rarely do. Now is the perfect time to catch up on much-needed rest and recovery. I have struggled with insomnia for several years now. I typically toss and turn for hours, or wake up in the middle of the night and find myself unable to go back to sleep. This past month, I’ve gotten the best sleep I’ve experienced in years! The newly acquired time has allowed me to practice better sleep hygiene. Hopefully, the new habits I am developing will stick with me even after the shelter-in-place act is over.
Why work on sleep hygiene now? Sleep helps us improve memory, concentration, and mental sharpness. It also strengthens our immune system and helps our muscles recover after exercise. Sleep is also extremely important for us mentally. Poor sleep is linked to emotional dysregulation and can increase the risk of depression.
Stick to a Routine
As someone who has always stuck to a rigid schedule, getting out of my daily routine actually made me feel more lethargic! The work from home workweek was starting to feel like a perpetual weekend and had me wondering: Why do the days go by so fast, yet I feel like I get nothing done? I realized part of this was because I got out of my daily routine. Instead of waking up to get ready for work, I was getting up, sitting in my PJs, drinking coffee, and checking social media for too long. It was zapping my energy.
I realized the importance of sticking to a routine for personal hygiene. Try getting up like you normally would have and get dressed for the day. Strive to start your day with exercise. It’s okay to cut yourself some slack – after all, none of us have anywhere to really be. Perhaps use this time to get rid of bad routines and establish new ones.
Bonus: E-connect With Friends & Family
COVID-19 is actually the perfect excuse to reconnect with friends and family. Whether your loved ones live just a drive away or reside across the country, use this time to connect with them over the internet.
Try a virtual happy hour, game night, or just carve out time to chat with loved ones who you haven’t connected with for a while. Since the shelter-in-place order, I have reconnected with friends I haven’t talked to or seen for quite a while due to our busy schedules. Just because you may be quarantined by your self at home doesn’t mean you have to be alone.
Check out Health & Wellness to see how can you improve yourself during this covid-19 crisis.