COVID-19: 5 Action Steps to Manage Your Health
Don’t touch your face…don’t gather in groups of 10 or more… don’t buy more than 4 units of oatmeal at a time…
But what can you do to keep your healthy habits going during this time of uncertainty, change in environment, and change in schedules?
In times of uncertainty, what can make us feel better is taking action, taking back some control over our lives (stay tuned for an upcoming post about good goal-setting, focusing on small action items, and baby steps!). With schools out and many employees working from home or not working at all, no doubt your schedule has changed or you are feeling a loss of routine and structure. Despite this disruption, you may now also have the opportunity to focus on sustaining, or perhaps initiating, healthy habits. Read below for 5 action steps you can take.
- Maintain a structured eating schedule. If you are triggered by stress or boredom to open the fridge or the pantry (or just tempted by the visibility and access), post a list of 4-5 activities you could do instead of on the doors to both.
– Fold laundry, do 20 air squats or calf raises, or read an article in a magazine you have been meaning to get to.
- Take physical activity breaks. Without built-in daily opportunities to move, such as getting up and walking to a meeting or walking across the floor to the break room for more coffee, we typically end up sitting longer than normal. Try setting a timer to work for 50 minutes, and then another timer for 10 minutes. During the 10 minute break, walk to the mailbox, do a few yoga poses, or do an online exercise video – there are lots of free and local options available (check out the Recommended Resources below). Get outside for fresh air and sunshine if possible!
- Get creative with recipes and freezer cleanouts, use the slow cooker and/or the instant pot – try something new to you or pull out that recipe you saved and just never got around to. Consider cooking meals that can be frozen for future use. Since you may have more time, spend a little more time on food prep as both a stress-relieving tactic and to help you feel more in control. Check out the recipe below for ideas on how to put together a variety of commonly found pantry or frozen items.
- Make a plan for what you really need at the grocery store, and also be prepared to get creative with using what’s actually available at the stores. Despite the temptation (or tendency if you’re drawing on past hurricane season experience) to get packaged foods, instead focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods. This can include items such as frozen fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as low sodium canned beans and lentils, canned tuna and frozen seafood, eggs, and whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal. Our bodies need nutrient-rich foods like these to support our immune systems – they provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, probiotics, and protein. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about supplementation.
- Drink water, lots of it! Staying hydrated is another way to help protect our bodies as it carries nutrients to our cells, helps to remove waste products and toxins, and keeps our mouth, nose, and eyes moist, which helps protect against entry of infection-causing agents. Aim for 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water daily, plus an additional 16-20 ounces per hour of exercise.
It is important that you continue to address health needs such as diabetes management, blood pressure, heart health, nutritional status, and other underlying conditions in order to protect yourself from infections. In fact, a lifestyle with a healthy diet, exercise, and adequate sleep is integral to prevent and fight infection – your healthy diet and lifestyle will help keep you strong and healthy.
Reach out to us today
We are here to provide support to you and to help you stay healthy. Our team of dietitians is available for nutrition coaching appointments in our office in Cary and virtually via telehealth or video call. We are also currently taking new patients. Click here to contact us for appointments or more information
Stay tuned for upcoming posts with resources and strategies for success.
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Yours in health and wellness,
Recommended recipe for ideas on how to put together a variety of commonly found pantry or frozen items
Recommended resources for anxiety:
Free Guided Meditations, a free app available
HelpGuide.org: Sleep Stress Management – includes a page on COVID19 Anxiety
The New York Times: A Brain Hack to Break the Coronavirus Anxiety Cycle
Recommended resources for home exercise:
FitOn app – free fitness workouts and personalized plans
Fit Feels Best (local trainer and pilates instructor Kerry Brandewie)
Body Weight Workouts
Pilates-Inspired Core Workout
Call Us Today: 919-990-1130