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More and more of us are finding ourselves cooped up at home. As you work from home and find yourself unable to enjoy many of the social and physical activities you used to, social distancing and isolation can quickly become a drain on your physical and mental health.
Rather than focusing on what you can’t do during this quarantine, try taking advantage of this time to improve your health. Check out these tips and recommendations for your health and wellness journey during your time at home.
No matter where you live, you have likely been encouraged to get outside for a walk if possible while still maintaining social distancing recommendations. If you can take an additional walk outside or live around some good hiking trails, take advantage of that time. Try giving yourself a break for a 30 minute walk, either outside, around the house or even walking in place. You likely have more sitting-around time than you’re used to. Use that time to keep yourself moving and you may find a new habit you want to maintain even after the quarantine.
Almost all of us are feeling a strain on our mental health after weeks of being isolated socially and physically, especially with the constant stream of bad and scary news we are seeing. Dr. Russell G. Buhr, a pulmonologist at U.C.L.A. Health, said “good mental health promotes good physical health.”
Focusing on your breathing, especially diaphragmatic breathing, is a great way to help reduce anxiety. Now is also the perfect time to try meditation. There are plenty of apps and YouTube channels you can use to learn meditation techniques. With your extra time, you can also focus on that book you’ve been meaning to read or a hobby you’ve been wishing you could prioritize. Using an activity that you find relaxing is a great coping mechanism for anxiety and boredom. And although you can’t physically go visit with your friends and family, a phone call, video chat or online chat with your circle of loved ones is essential for keeping everyone’s mood up, anxiety down and staying connected.
Many times we can get in a rut of focusing only on specific lifts and less on our overall flexibility and mobility. While stretching may not help shed unwanted pounds, it’s an essential part of keeping your mind and body healthy and happy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you should be stretching at least two to three times a week. As you invest time in your stretching, keep in mind how your body is responding to a stretch and remember that you shouldn’t feel pain, just a little tension. Yoga is a fun way to guide you through stretching while also getting your heart rate up, improving your overall mental health, too.
It’s totally normal to begin feeling some level of depression during an isolation that most of us haven’t experienced before. You may also feel angry, scared or overwhelmed. All of these feelings are part of your emotional health and they should not be ignored. Embracing your creativity - whether through a craft project, art project, writing or even cooking - making something can help improve your mood. Now is also a good time to start a journal if you don’t already have one. Writing out your feelings, whether in a journal or letters to someone you’re missing right now, can help you to identify your emotions and explore where they are coming from.
If you haven’t already, consider using supplements designed to help reduce stress. One option you may consider is a hemp oil. Hemp oil is a THC-free, meaning it won’t give you a “high,” rather it has been shown to help with everything from anxiety, depression and PTSD to reducing inflammation and pain. This broad spectrum formula can supplement the other ways you are focusing on your health. A couple drops under your tongue can round out your new-found self-care focus and help in ways that exercise and meditation can’t.
However much time you dedicate to your health, both mental and physical, during your added time at home, you will benefit from engaging in any physical activity you can, prioritizing your mental and emotional health, and supplementing your new habits with supplements designed to aid in recovery and relaxation. Together we can all come out on the other side of this experience healthier, happier and more centered with better habits we can share in together.