While social distancing has been shown to be an effective tool in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, not leaving your home for weeks at a time can have serious mental and physical health impacts.
If you’re eating for comfort and regularly ordering takeout to support your local restaurants, you run the risk of gaining weight – which has many immediate and long-term physical health impacts. If you’re not able to socialize with friends and loved ones, possibly while working full time and taking care of small children, it’s going to put you through a lot of unnatural stress – which has immediate and long-term mental health impacts.
According to health experts, there are a number of effective ways to battle the negative impacts of social distancing. Consider the following.
Maintain Good Nutrition
In order to minimize your potential exposure to the coronavirus in a crowded grocery store, it’s a good idea to regularly stock up on groceries. If you’re going on a shopping binge, it can be easy to get indulgent. Before you go to the grocery store, make sure your shopping list is full of healthy items.
Beans are an obvious healthy and smart choice right now, but don’t sleep on fresh produce. There are many fruits and vegetables that hold up well in the freezer, including pineapples, strawberries, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Be sure to read labels and avoid foods heavy in sugar, salt, and fat.
Stick to a Fitness Routine
Fortunately, a healthy fitness routine doesn’t have to include a gym membership. There is a mountain of evidence to suggest that regular running, walking, or any other moderate physical activity can have significant positive physical and mental health benefits.
If you are hoping to get more than just cardio in, try getting creative with items around your house. For instance, you can use wine bottles as weights or a sturdy chair for all kinds of abdominal workouts. Exercises like setups, planks, or pushups don’t require any equipment at all.
Manage Your Stress Level
Unfortunately, we don’t typically do enough to manage mental health when there isn’t a pandemic situation. Now is the time when you should absolutely be prioritizing mental health by responsibly managing your stress level.
Yes, it’s a good idea to keep abreast of the latest coronavirus developments. But it’s not healthy to obsess on the latest news and case numbers. If you find yourself getting worked up by what you see on the news or social media, step away and do something you can get lost in.
If you want to manage your stress level but don’t know where to start, there are a number of great apps you should check out, including Headpsace and Talkspace. Even just making time for a few quiet moments each day can have a profound positive impact on your mental health.
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