How To Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy During Stressful Times
When people think of what it takes to be healthy, behaviours such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are probably the first to come to mind.
During stressful times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, these actions become increasingly important for maintaining one’s mental and physical health. But how can you eat healthy when some of your food is non-perishable items rather than fresh fruits and vegetables? How can you work out if you are stuck at home? How can you get enough sleep if you are constantly worried?
Although we do not have all the answers, we hope our guide to staying well during stressful times is a helpful place to start. Here are our best tips for staying happy, calm, and healthy despite times of stress and uncertainty.
While many people are stocking up on canned goods and grains, this is actually a great time to buy fresh produce. It can be difficult to eat fresh if you are only grocery shopping once every few weeks, but fresh fruits and veggies can be cut up and stored in the freezer, making it possible to keep them fresh and on-hand for months.
Frozen produce works great in smoothies, soups, and more, and is extremely convenient to use. Some of the best fruits and vegetables to freeze include:
- Berries such as blueberries or raspberries (freeze on a tray first before adding to a bag to prevent clumps)
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Bell peppers
Along with finding ways to be sure you keep fruits and vegetables in your diet, it is also important to plan out your grocery trips carefully. This helps avoid panic-buying and ensures you get everything you need. Take close inventory of what is in your pantry, what meals you plan to cook, and what kind of healthy snacks you can buy when you need a quick but healthy bite to eat.
If you do opt for dried or canned goods, try to find options with the lowest amount of added sugar, salt, and saturated fat. A good rule is to look for foods with:
- Less than 5 grams of added sugar per serving
- Less than 1.5 grams of saturated fat per serving
- Less than 200 milligrams of salt per serving
If you are tempted to eat due to stress or boredom, realise that you are not alone and show yourself some grace. Recognise that it is happening and try to pinpoint new ways to channel your energy such as journaling, venting to a friend, or learning a new hobby.
No gym? No problem! Now is a great time to explore new avenues of fitness such as running, biking, and hiking. All of these activities offer the advantage of getting yourself out in nature while still allowing you to maintain safe social distancing measures. Many gyms and fitness instructors are also offering a variety of online classes right now.
You can also get creative with items found throughout your home to transform your space into your own gym. Some fun DIY exercise equipment ideas include:
- Dish Towels – These can be used as sliders to make exercises such as mountain climbers and lunges even harder
- Your Couch – Yes, your couch can be a fitness tool! The edge of a couch is perfect for tricep dips. A great way to sneak some activity into your day is by turning commercial breaks into mini-workouts, which means the couch will be right there and at the ready for some tricep dips!
- A Sturdy Chair – Try (carefully) using a sturdy chair to challenge yourself with some step-ups. This is a great way to get your heart rate up and get those leg muscles burning.
- Small Space – Even the smallest areas can still work for a variety of exercises such as jumping jacks, planks, push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, and squats. For a simple circuit, choose five exercises, perform each for one minute, then repeat the circuit three to five times.
- DIY Dumbells – Items such as canned goods or water bottles can be used carefully in place of regular dumbells.
Even if you do not fit in a traditional style workout, even regular activities can be great for keeping your muscles activated. Gardening, walking, and cleaning are all excellent ways to squeeze in some activity and productivity all in one!
Another easy way to increase your activity level is by switching to a stand up desk. By standing instead of sitting throughout the day, you can reduce the pressure on your back and neck and keep your muscles activated.
Stay Social, Safely
Along with carving out quiet time for yourself, it is important to maintain social interaction. Loneliness can compound any stress you are dealing with, making it important to safely connect with family and friends.
Fortunately, technology has made it possible to stay connected in so many different ways such as phone calls and video chats. Now is also the perfect chance to write letters to loved ones! For family members that are missing each other, finding a letter in the mailbox can be completely uplifting and exciting.
Getting a deep, high-quality night of sleep is always a key component of good health. And right now a healthy night of sleep is as important as ever.
If you find yourself riddled with anxiety and struggling to settle down to sleep, here are some easy tips to help promote a better night’s rest:
- Try a yoga program
- Perform gentle stretches before bed
- Avoid caffeinated beverages too late in the day, opt for a caffeine-free herbal tea with native Australian plants that helps to promote sleep
- Use an essential oil such as lavender oil that is proven to promote a quality night of sleep
- Play white noise in the background
- Avoid liquids too close to bedtime
- Create a calming bedtime routine
- Set up a tech-free room (no technology of any kind, other than a speaker for calming music) to relax and wind down before bedtime
- If the news upsets you or creates anxiety, watch it in the morning rather than before bed. It can also help to spend some time reflecting and journaling before bed to help clear your mind.
While many people are postponing non-essential medical procedures and appointments, it is still important to contact your doctor in the event of a pressing medical concern or if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
When in doubt, contact your doctor’s office or hospital for directions. Calling ahead keeps everyone safer and ensures that proper measures are in place if you need to be seen.
Cut Down on Stress With Breaks
Whether you are spending time with your kids, working from home, binge-watching your favourite tv series — or a mix of all three! — it is important to take breaks to stretch and relieve muscle tension throughout the day.
When possible, try to walk or stand when on the phone, use a stand up desk as mentioned above, or make a goal to stand up at least every 30 minutes for a quick break.
Wash Your Hands
Pandemic or not, washing your hands is an essential practice to staying healthy.
- Wet your hands with warm water
- Lather up your hands by rubbing them together with soap
- Scrub all parts of your hands including the back, around your cuticles, under your fingernails, your wrists, between fingers, etc.
- Continue scrubbing for at least 20 seconds before thoroughly rinsing
- Many experts recommend singing the ABC’s once or ‘Happy Birthday’ twice to ensure you scrub long enough
- Dry hands using a clean towel
Wishing You Health and Wellness
We know this is an unprecedented time that makes it hard to support yourself during this stressful situation for so many people. We at IsaTonic want to let you know we are here for you and want to make sure you get through this time as healthy as possible.
In fact, now just might be a wonderful chance to spend more time focusing on your health and wellness and possibly even coming out of self-isolation fitter and healthier than ever! Check out our full range if you wish to buy Isagenix products.
If you need help finding healthy self-isolation snacks, ways to stay fit at home, healthy recipes, or just need some support, please do not hesitate to reach out to our caring, experienced team or check out our blog.