In the spirit of always keeping this site both "your healthy place" and your safe place, I want to post a few self-care recommendations if you are looking for ways to alleviate any stress and anxiety you may be feeling during this time as the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Take your supplements! Coronavirus is more severe than the flu, but all the usual precautions you take during flu season are useful here too.
Always check with your doctor if you haven't taken a supplement before, but immunity-boosting supplements include vitamin C, zinc, and probiotics.
- Meditate, or at the very least, take some deep breaths. Not everyone finds meditation easy, but this 5-minute video is something you can do anywhere, anytime.
If this is too daunting, or you are somewhere without easy access to a video, take some deep breaths. The best trick is to exhale more than you inhale - and hold the breath at the top. Try my 3-5-7 trick: Inhale for a count of 3, hold for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 7.
- Create a routine. Everything feels like it's been turned upside down, so now more than ever is the time to create some structure. This is especially true if you have little ones being kept home from school. Structure is calming and reassuring and gives us a new normal to wake up to each day when it feels like things are changing by the hour.
Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash
This image from Jessica McHale Photography is a good resource for creating a routine for kids if you are home-schooling, and it's not a bad framework to go off of for yourself, too! Just replace "creative", "acadaemic" and "chore" times with work, if you are working from home, or some other activity that you feel is productive (if you have to take a forced break from work, now is an awesome time to tackle those projects you have been putting off - organize those photo albums! Clean out those cupboards! Marie Kondo your life!).
- Get outside. Social distancing doesn't have to mean being housebound. There's a lot of good in getting some fresh air. If you have a park or even just a neighbourhood walking route you can do, make a promise to yourself (put it on your schedule, as per #3!) to get out for a stroll around the block at least once a day.
- Move your body. This may be achieved with your walk around the block as above, but there are also plenty of at-home workouts you can complete if you are avoiding the gym. So many fitness platforms have online streaming options, also. Here are some of my favourites:
- Tara Stiles yoga videos on YouTube
- Body by Simone dance cardio app
- DanceBody online streaming
- Tone It Up videos on YouTube
- Be careful with your news and social media consumption. As this Psychology Today article explains, our frontal lobe actually operates like a battery - the more we use it (for willpower, making plans, controlling our behaviour...) the quicker we run out of it.
Photo by Victoria Heath on Unsplash
One of the activities that drains the battery further is consuming negativity in the media. Click here to read more on this and how you can counter it.
Hint: It involves setting some boundaries for yourself around when you check social media and the news and what you choose to look up or watch. Build these boundaries into the routine you created (in tip #3).
Lastly, if you do browse social media, make sure you are also following some positive news channels so that your feed isn't all doom and gloom. On Instagram, I like @soulpancake and @upworthy.
- Try to laugh at least once a day. When it feels like there isn't much to laugh about, we have to look for the humour in things. I have set myself the goal of tuning into one comedy a day, whether it's a rerun of FRIENDS or a stand-up special on Netflix. Even better if you have a friend who always makes you giggle that you can call up or schedule a FaceTime chat with. Laughter is truly the best medicine!
- Sleep! This is another immune booster, and stress reducer. If you are waking up after hours and hours of sleep and still not feeling rested, that's another story, but try to allow yourself at least 8 hours of solid sleep.
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
- Eat well and hydrate. The best thing for our health at any time - but especially during stressful times - is to make sure we are getting enough water and good nutrition.
And your bonus tip...diffuse! If you have a diffuser, there are a number of oils with antiviral properties.