n light of the new variants of the Coronavirus, many are staying home. Going shopping or attending an afternoon matinee can offer a pleasant break from the daily stressors in life. But, now, we live in the circumstances of our new norm.
This article offers healthy tips and suggestions on how to stay healthy and centered while being stuck at home during the pandemic.
Not knowing about the future, the endless news coverage, and a ceaseless flood of messages on social media can add to your stress level. Of course, stress is expected during these trying times, but it can also cause insomnia, irritability, lack of motivation, an increase in alcohol consumption, and emotional outbursts. Be sure to contact your healthcare professionals immediately if you are experiencing anything like this.
Waking up Positive
If you greet your day feeling anxious because of the changes to your routine that accompanied COVID-19, here is a 10-minute practice exercise to help you prepare for your day.
When you first get up, spend 10 minutes on self-love. I recommend writing down three things you are grateful for in a journal. Gratitude lists can start your day on the right note. They don’t have to be complicated, such as a morning cup of tea, a blue sky, a safe home, and such. Avoid jumping right onto your cell phone as soon as you wake up for at least the first 30 minutes.
Deep Breathing for Stress Management
Before the demands of your day set in, practice some deep breathing exercises to center yourself. D Practicing deep breathing techniques at least three times per day resets your autonomic nervous system and helps relieve stress and anxiety. One popular deep breathing method is called 4-7-8, and it’s easy.
- Take a deep breath while counting to 4.
- Hold it in for 7 seconds.
- Slowly exhale, counting to 8
Stretching and Moving Indoors
Stretching and moving can help you stay active and boost your mental health and immunity. Commit to doing three safe and non-resistance exercises for 10 minutes each day. Even if you have never tried yoga, close your eyes, raise your hands over your head, and “streeeetccch”! Stretching provides better movement of your joints and improves your posture. It also helps release and relieve stress and tension and reduces the risks of hurting yourself. It can also help with balance and coordination.
Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t take a nature walk or a walk around the block. Gardening and observing nature will improve your overall well-being and reduce the anxiety associated with the coronavirus. Do your best to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine for at least ten minutes twice a day. Sunshine promotes vitamin D production and helps prevent vulnerabilities to common sicknesses.
Proper nutrition is imperative during this stressful time of the pandemic. Increase the variety of nutritious whole foods to gain more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. Taking supplements to boost your immunity is not as efficient as enjoying whole foods. Eating fruits and leafy green vegetables is beneficial to your overall health and wellness. Sugar and trans fats increase the risk of inflammation. A treat here, and there won’t hurt, and maybe just what you need once in a while when you’re feeling worried or tense, but, for the most part, cook homemade dishes using turmeric and ginger, drink plenty of water, and consider some herbal teas.
Coping with COVID Toolkit
A coping toolkit is a collection of items, skills, suggestions, and techniques that you can use as soon as you start feeling stressed or anxious. Trying different methods can be fun and exciting, and when you find one that works, put it in your coping toolkit and use it as a safety net. Create a kit in a shoebox or other container that you can decorate with things like written affirmations or your favorite colors. Keep a lovely scented candle on hand for those times you feel yourself starting to slip emotionally. You can fill your box with items such as a stress ball, family photos, and a list of helpful coping skills.
Negative Self-dialog During COVID-19
Unfortunately, many of us speak to ourselves negatively. You are not alone if you find yourself doing just that during the pandemic. The stress of COVID-19 can make it challenging to stay positive.
What is negative self-dialog?
You should always talk to yourself the same way you would speak to a best friend. We all have an inner dialogue (talking to ourselves in our heads), and sometimes that voice can be pretty mean. It doubts you, notices your flaws, and judges you on things other people would never notice. “I am too old,” “My hair looks awful,” “I can’t see any more” are some of the more common negative self-talk associated with aging. These things can have a more significant mental effect during the stress of the pandemic. Your brain reacts much stronger to criticism than it does positive self-talk, but the things you say to yourself matter! Insulting yourself lowers your self-esteem, and if it becomes a habit, it can contribute to mental health problems such as depression.
If you tell yourself that your negativity is the truth, it doesn’t benefit you. Negative self-talk snowballs into an unhealthy belief system and taxes your immunities. Everyone in the whole world is experiencing a loss of control anxiety. We were not prepared for a pandemic, and we are unsure when things may go back to some sense of normality.
Your social life or lack thereof during the pandemic may be impacting your self-dialog. Take the time to connect with distant family members and old friends. Even though seeing them on a screen is not the same as the affection of being together, it is still a way to stay connected and validated.
Current COVID-19 Protocols from the CDC
Quarantine vs. Isolation: Quarantine yourself if you think you have been exposed to the virus. Isolate yourself when infected or sick from the virus, even if you are asymptomatic.
- Quarantine is a method used to stop the spread of COVID-19 by keeping individuals who have had contact with someone infected with the virus away from others.
- Exposure: Having contact with someone who is infected with the virus in a manner that increases the chances of getting the virus.
- Close Contact: Being less than 6 feet apart from a person infected with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or greater in one day.
- You do not need to quarantine if you have been fully vaccinated and came into close contact with someone infected with the virus.
- You do not need to quarantine if you tested positive for COVID-19 within the
last 90 days and have recovered.
6. If you have been near someone in the last ten days who had COVID-19, wear a well-fitted mask.
7. Get tested a minimum of 5 days after you have had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
8. Quarantine if you have been in close contact with someone infected with COVID-19 and you have not been fully vaccinated, including the recommended booster.
How to Quarantine
- Stay away from other people at home for at least 5 days after your last exposure to someone with COVID-19. Day 0 is the date of your exposure.
- Wear a well-fitting mask at home when you are around anyone else.
- Monitor for fevers of 100.4◦F or higher, shortness of breath, cough, or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.
- Get tested immediately if you develop symptoms, and then isolate yourself until you get your test results.
- If you test positive, follow isolation protocols.
- If you do not have symptoms but think you have been exposed, get tested five days later. If your test is negative, you do not need to isolate but do wear a mask for at least 10 days after the possible exposure to COVID-19.
- If you have a positive test result or have symptoms for COVID-19, isolate for a minimum of 5 days.
- If you have been exposed to COVID-19, avoid being around anyone who might be immunocompromised or considered high-risk, such as the elderly, for at least 10 days.
- Do not travel during the quarantine period.
- If you think you have been exposed, avoid public settings for 10 days.
How to Isolate
- Stay home until you test negative.
- Wear a well-fitting mask at home around your family.
- If you are sick, separate yourself from others.
- Designate a “sick room” in your home, including a separate bathroom, if possible.
- Even if you have been vaccinated but you have symptoms of or test positive for COVID-19 isolate.
- During isolation, monitor your signs. If you start having breathing trouble, seek medical attention immediately!
- Improve ventilation in your home, if possible.
- Avoid contact with others and with your pets.
- Don’t share kitchen utensils or other household items.
- Keep yourself informed.
Click here for more information about current COVID-19 protocols: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html