As coronavirus spreads throughout the world, people are staying home from work, school, and social events.
We are all exercising caution in our new reality, but life as we know it does not need to stop completely.
Below are six tips to help you feel calmer, healthier and more connected during the days of coronavirus.
Please keep in mind, these suggestions are not all or nothing. Life at home may feel topsy-turvy so do what you can, when you can. Something is better than nothing!
1. Exercise in place of your commute to work – If you are working from home, you can use your travel time for exercise. Stick to the same wake-up time and substitute exercise for your commute. Take a walk, jog or find a class online. There are many options besides the
gym. Make exercise a priority not only for your physical health but for the calming effect it has on your mind and mood.
2. You can still “do lunch” – If you are accustomed to eating lunch with friends or colleagues, you can stay home AND keep your lunch plans. Try using FaceTime or Skype to connect over a sandwich or smoothie. Social distancing does not require social isolation.
3. Cook during the time you would commute home from work – Less activity often leads to more snacking. Use the time typically spent traveling home from work to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Healthy eating is a protective factor that helps us stay physically and emotionally well.
4. Get more sleep – For many people, the hectic pace of daily life does not include sufficient sleep. With many activities canceled, use this time to go to sleep earlier. Choose a bedtime at the beginning of the day and adjust your schedule to stay on track. Sleep is an essential component for a healthy body and mind.
5. Pamper your hands – With so much hand washing and cleaning, your hands may be dry and chapped. If this describes your hands, perhaps treat your hands to a hand bath of soothing lotion with a relaxing scent like lavender. Don’t have any lotion? Apply a small amount of Vaseline or olive oil.
6. Be compassionate to others – Take time to show compassion and care for others. Even the briefest phone call, text or email can have a significantly positive impact on someone – and you will benefit from being compassionate too. Being compassionate has been shown to improve physical and emotional health. For some, fear is sowing competition — competition for hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, food and toilet paper. This competitive mindset, while understandable during these times, also has the tendency to turn us inward.
This inward focus reduces connection and psychological well being, exactly what we don’t need now.
While we adjust to the presence of coronavirus in our lives, there is much we can do to make our days healthy and meaningful. Recognize the silver lining and use this opportunity to care for yourself and those around you.
Beth Lorell, LCSW, MPH, Info@bethlorell.com