It’s no secret that the pandemic and “new normal” we’re all experiencing is bringing worry, stress, anxiety, and exhaustion to all. Unfortunately, while scientists work hard to unveil a vaccine, we all know that things aren’t going to return to normal any time soon. That doesn’t have to be awful news though! If you know the basics of staying healthy during COVID-19, you can stay well and ease the tension during these unprecedented times.
So, how do you stay healthy, both physically and mentally, during this worldwide pandemic? Together, let’s explore some ways to boost your immune system and protect both yourself and your loved ones, so you can live your happiest, healthiest life despite the looming COVID-19 cloud of uncertainty.
Eat Nourishing Foods
It’s hard to know how to stay safe when everything seems so unknown and confusing, but luckily, the traditional ways of keeping your body healthy still apply. Your body’s natural defense system needs its fuel to keep your body moving, and you get that from healthy food. The bulk of your diet should consist of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and whole grains. Now, we know that anxieties are running high, and it’s totally fine to the occasional treat, but moderation is key!
If you stock your freezer with healthy foods that will last a long time, like frozen meats, vegetables, and fruits, they’ll provide an infinite number of meal possibilities for healthy indulgence. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your food options spoiling before you get a chance to use them. Foods like citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and broccoli are all great foods that help boost your immune system, so consider adding these delectable, healthful treats to your cooking repertoire.
Knowing how to fight a virus means knowing how it spreads. Cut your coronavirus risk by implementing better hygiene regimens in your daily life. Here are some proactive steps you can take to reduce your risk:
• Wash your hands frequently, using soap and water.
• Use hand sanitizer or wipes for on-the-go cleanliness.
• Wear a mask in public.
• Avoid large crowds.
• Avoid touching your face.
• Keep up to date on CDC recommendations.
• Obey social distancing regulations.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces in your home and items you buy.
• Monitor yourself for any symptoms.
• Stay home if you think you’re sick.
Cut Out Bad Habits
Be proactive! We can’t say it enough. Your first line of defense against viruses is to ensure that you’re living the healthiest lifestyle you can. You already know how to tweak your diet, but what about your less healthy habits?
Exposure to substances like drugs, alcohol, and tobacco can damage or weaken parts of your body. Alcohol can be fun at social gatherings or to take the edge off after a long day, but, like all things, remember to drink in moderation because it can take a significant toll on your body. It can destroy your liver, cause chronic disease, and affect your personal relationships. Alcohol also weakens your immune system by altering the cells and molecules that shape your immune response.
In the same way, drugs like cocaine can cause problems, including damaging the mucous membranes in your nose and throat. This damage will put you at a higher risk of contracting respiratory infections, like COVID-19. Smoking also puts you at risk for respiratory problems. Smoking causes an imbalance of your immune system, putting you at risk for autoimmune diseases. If you are struggling with addiction, reach out to your family, friends, and other support systems while you navigate through the turbulent waters of overcoming substance abuse. Remember, when you take control of your body, you regain control of your life, your wellness, and your happiness.
Implement Healthy Coping Mechanisms
This crazy pandemic is new to all of us! No one knows how long the effects are going to last or what to expect in the future, which can be scary. All of these unknowns can lead to stress and, for some people, unhealthy coping mechanisms.
If you don’t learn how to effectively cope with everything this big, scary world is going to throw at you, you might end up putting yourself at risk for other health issues. That’s why humans seek coping mechanisms that bring them comfort, but unfortunately, not all coping skills are healthy in the long term. Many bad habits that likely fall in the “quick relief” category simply aren’t sustainable. So, instead of reaching for a glass of wine or a cigarette, try incorporating healthy habits. Grab a healthy snack, or reach out to therapists or support groups via Skype or Zoom if you’re missing that social interaction and want to expand your system of support.
Meditation is another great tool to reduce stress. There are plenty of meditation apps or channels on YouTube you can use to get started. You can also spend more time enjoying or exploring new hobbies. Feel free to unwind as well. Try sitting in a bubble bath with a good book. If you can, make time every day to do something that brings you joy. This can become part of a self-care routine to relax, as well as something that you look forward to every day.
We totally get it – with stay-at-home orders still in place, it can be difficult to get out of the rut of binge-watching Netflix every day. This is especially true for those who have been stuck in this routine since the start of the pandemic. But if you need a reason to get off of the couch, here’s a pretty compelling one: studies show that sitting for too long increases your risk of developing life-threatening blood clots. Yikes! So, it’s time to get up, move around, and keep that blood flowing!
Not only does exercising help control body weight, but it improves overall wellness and mental health, too. You don’t need to become a gym rat to reap the benefits of regular exercise, either. Even going for a walk will boost immune function and improve your mood tremendously.
If you haven’t done any physical activity since the pandemic began, start slow. Set a goal to take two or three 20-minute walks this week. Put on your favorite music or podcast and stroll around your neighborhood while masking up and staying socially distant. As you become more in shape, you can change it up by either walking for a longer distance, or you can try your hand at jogging. If you’re worried about the winter holding you back from outdoor exercises, find a YouTube channel with indoor workouts that suit your fitness level and interests. Be creative! As long as you’re moving, you’re staying healthy!
Staying Healthy During COVID-19
Staying healthy is no easy feat, but the good news is that we’re all in this together! Keep reading our blogs to stay up to date on more tips and creative ways to stay well during the pandemic. Your health should be one of your top priorities during these unprecedented times, so stay proactive and prioritize your wellness at every turn.