For most of us our daily lives have changed significantly as schools, restaurants, gyms and other luxuries have been taken away. Now is the time to be thinking about others, our family, friends and loved ones. As we continue our social distancing it is important to keep our minds healthy and our immune system strong. These times are hard but do not let it get you down. When things start getting back to normal it is important for us all to be healthy from the inside and out.
Sitting around on the couch watching the news or social media and stress eating or drinking will only create more negative reactions through the body mentally and physically. This only leads to added stress, anxiety, depression, inflammation and a plethora of other issues.
Before the coronavirus we all had our own daily routines and habits. Whatever those were they created structure and a feeling of security and accomplishment. Brushing our teeth, making our bed, drinking coffee, going for a walk or to the gym and the list goes on.
Being a practitioner in the health and fitness industry here are some routines and habits and tools that should be helpful during this time.
I always invite my patients to begin their day with gratitude. Even though it is hard to think about due to the events going on, it will bring on a feeling of positive emotions and make you appreciate what you have rather than what you do not have. This can help you feel less anxious, sleep better and boost the immune system. You can write in your daily journal or just mindfully engage in the thought. You can make it fun by changing and mixing it up. Create a gratitude jar, on a small piece of paper add a different one each day, try to be specific and maybe at the end of this year open it up and reflect back on this time. Sending emails and texts and/or calling to let family, friends and loved ones know how important they are in your life.
Paying attention to our nutrition, hydration, exercise and sleep is very important during these times. Work on providing the body with fiber and immune boosting antioxidants and vitamins by eating a pound of colorful vegetables every day by adding some to every meal. Kale, broccoli, spinach, carrots, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, avocados, asparagus just to name a few. Get plenty of fermented foods throughout the day for gut health. Eliminate frozen and processed foods. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water.
Get plenty of sleep by following the seven- to eight-hour rule and napping for 20 to 30 minutes a day is good as well. Meditation or breath work for just five to ten minutes a day can help with anxiety, fear and depression in the face of our new daily stressors. Walking meditation is amazing. Be mindful with your breath and moving as slow as you can without completely stopping. You can use a long hallway in the house or a stretch in the back yard or go down the street a little and back.
Cardiovascular exercise such as brisk walking, running, hiking, biking will all boost the stress reducing endorphins. According to Web MD, these endorphins reduce the stress hormones that can alleviate and reduce anxiety and mild depression. Cardiovascular exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, type 2 diabetes and the risk of osteoarthritis.
If you are a person that regularly visits the gym or does group classes there are plenty of body weight exercises along with HIIT apps and videos online that can be done in your home. You can also purchase a stability ball, some resistance rubber bands, foam roller, stretch strap and yoga mat. Remember that exercise should be fun but also have intention and purpose. Most of us that go to the gym think that we always have to have a good hard workout. I love a good hard workout but during times like this I believe it is a good time to cultivate energy with energy in types of exercises.
Julian Turner is a C.H.E.K Practitioner 2, C.H.EK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, C.H.E.K Tennis Conditioning Specialist and owner of Reach Your Potential.