9 Ways to Improve Health and Wellbeing During COVID-19
Updated on April 8th, 2020
We are currently in a time for the history books and definitely not a good one. I hope everyone is staying healthy and looking out for their neighbours. Its times like this is what brings us together as a community but it can be easy to forget that when panic sets in. It’s also natural to start neglecting yourself which is why it is so important to look out for your health and wellbeing.
I know I was struggling to stay motivated last month as it’s so easy to let negative thoughts creep in. So I wanted to share a post about things I have been doing which turned this attitude around. You can implement these tips to support your health, both physical and mental during these trying times. I’ve even created a weekly health tracker you can download here.
What makes this time so scary is the unpredictability of it all and that we have no idea how long it will last. How long will everything take to settle back into reasonable normality? Is it worth creating new routines when things may get back to normal in a few months? I definitely think so. If we wait too long to implement new lifestyle choices we run the risk of losing previous good habits, becoming lazy and having no motivation or productivity.
If you were lacking a healthy lifestyle before now is just the time to swap up your routine for something better suited to keep you emotionally and physically healthy during these trying times. What’s good about creating a new routine for yourself is that when everything returns to the way it was it’s as simple as returning to the old one. Here are some things to implement into your daily life and ways to improve health and wellbeing over the next few months.
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Top tips for staying healthy and managing stress
If you’re allowed to go out, then you should make the most of it and go for a walk or a run. It’s still possible to exercise and keep your social distancing. Exercising is one of the most important things you can do for both your physical and mental health. On the days I’ve been feeling down one of the last things I want to do is exercise but once I have finished a workout or a short walk I feel so much better.
If you’re in a country where going outside is not an option, make the most of a balcony, backyard or even a sunny spot in the house for exercising.
There are lots of free workout videos online and many gyms have transitioned into offering an at-home style workout. I try and do Yoga with Adriene daily. Adriene offers free Youtube videos ranging in class length and focus. Whatever your mood I challenge you to type in, ‘yoga with Adriene for [mood]’ and you’ll be surprised how many videos come up.
Another great place to look for free videos is on Instagram. Users are turning to Instagram TV to broadcast classes they can no longer run in a studio.
Eat a balanced diet
Just like when dealing with travel burnout, eating well can be a huge mood improver. Make sure to fill your daily diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega 3’s. Omega 3’s have been proven to have a positive impact on your mental health improving anxiety and depression.
Find Omega 3’s in oily fish like salmon and tuna as well as avocados, flaxseed, mixed greens and walnuts. An easy way to implement heaps of green yumminess is by making green smoothies. If you’re new to green smoothies, ease into them with lots of fruit for added sweetness.
Get into a routine
Everything is tipped upside down at the moment. Some people are out of work, others are working from home. You may still be working as normal but your social life has become non-existent. It can be hard to stay motivated to exercise, work and keep busy.
The Netflix binges and the sleep-in slowly get longer until you’re left feeling blah. You can still enjoy a bit of a sleep in if that’s something you never used to have time for but still get up at a reasonable time. Once you’re awake get dressed and officially start your day.
Go on a short walk or do a few jumping jacks to break up your day. If you’re working from home create an office space instead of lounging on the couch all day. That way when work is over you can ‘leave’ the office and feel like you’re getting some distance from it.
Create time for yourself
If you live with others you probably feel like you haven’t had any time to yourself lately. Having alone time is so important for our mental health. Being along is proven to boost creativity, productiveness, relationships and concentration. So if you’re stuck in isolation on your own, don’t fret. Just think how much better you will come out on the other side of this.
Not only are there these proven benefits, but creating time for yourself allows you to sit back and think about what is really important to you. I have been using this time to think about what I want in a future job and what’s important to me in life. While I probably would have felt rushed into getting a new job had corona not hit. This unfortunate situation is actually giving me the time to visualise my goals and work towards something more meaningful.
The time I take for myself has been my daily yoga sessions and also taking a drive to go on a walk. I want to remind you that being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. Learn to tell the difference between the two is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Make sure you aim for 7 or more hours of sleep every night. Getting a good nights sleep is essential to feeling your best. There’s so much information online about the benefits of getting good quality sleep and how you can improve yours if that’s a problem for you.
I struggle with jetlag pretty badly and one thing that helps me fall asleep is to listen to mediation audio clips. Essential oils also create a calming effect as does staying away from a blue screen (your phone and laptop) when it nears bedtime.
Start a project
I think we’re all pretty split right now. Half of us want to binge Netflix, drink wine and eat junk food until this passes. The other half of us are trying to get as many projects done as possible. Binging Netflix and drinking wine is definitely not a bad thing, just make sure you do it in moderation. Save it for a rainy day or pick certain days of the week to allow this indulgence.
Are there projects you have been putting off? Add this to your daily routine. Or create a new project. I love Pinterest as you already know. You can seriously find every DIY project imaginable on there. Alternatively, learn a new skill to create something. Us southern hemisphere peeps could learn how to knit and make a beanie for the upcoming winter. You can also jump on Amazon to order some watercolour paints and create a picture for your house.
Websites like Skillshare and EdX offer online classes on a variety of topics. Last year I purchased a course through Domestika to learn how to paint botanical illustrations with watercolours.
Surround yourself with loved ones (if not physically – virtually)
As you can see everything is best when balanced. You want to spend time alone but also with loved ones. If you don’t live with close friends or family make it part of your weekly routine to call someone you care about.
Having someone you can talk to honestly and share concerns and wins with is massive for your mental health. These are tough times so give a friend or family member a call if you need to get something off your chest. Make sure to lend an ear if they have things they are struggling with also.
There are probably people you’ve been meaning to call but haven’t had a chance to do so. Now is your time. Zoom has become super popular lately and makes group video calls really easy. Arrange a time and get a few of your mates online and have a virtual happy hour or tea time!
Did you know that Netflix has expanded to offer Netflix parties? You can some mates and all get together for a movie marathon or stream your favourite tv shows.
Meditate and practise mindfulness
The Headspace meditation app is a great way to start meditating with just 10 minutes a day. As well as managing stress, reducing anxiety and cultivating peace of mind practising mindfulness can positively impact mental, physical, and emotional health. They have a free 10-day trial to see if it’s for you. See how much better you feel and make sure you commit to a daily practice.
Pssst.. Don’t forget to download your health tracker to keep you motivated and healthy during this tough time.
Why is it the more time we have the lazier we get? I know the reason I have been struggling to stay motivated is that I have so much spare time on my hands. I’ve also had a few bad days where I have been questioning everything. The best things you can do is keep yourself busy. Use the above tips to stay active physically and mentally.
This advice is what has been helping me over the last couple of weeks. I have seen a huge change in my attitude by sticking to a routine and keeping busy. Surprise surprise, my motivation even came back.
If you need someone to talk to, I’m happy for you to reach out to me either on social media or via email. If it is something serious, it’s perfectly ok to talk to a professional.
Another great tip is to start planning future travels. Use this guide to help you choose your next travel destination.