Staying Healthy & Stress-Free during COVID-19
With the current COVID-19 pandemic that’s been quickly changing our day-to-day routines, it’s completely normal to feel stressed, anxious, or even sad during this time. We have a lot unknown right now, and we are all in this together. Here are some tips to try and stay healthy (& sane!) during this unpredictable time.
★ Manage stress as best as possible. It’s normal for stress & anxiety to be high right now. We can’t control what’s going on, but we CAN control how we react to it. Long-term stress can cause a weakened immune system, so we want to help decrease chronic stress by mindful-based activites and joyful activities. What helps your stress levels?
- Take a hot bath
- Spend time with your pets
- Meditate (there are plenty of free apps)
- Deep breathing exercises
- Practice yoga at home
- Listen to soothing music
- Watch a funny movie
- Call a friend or family member
- Call your therapist
★ Continue to eat balanced meals and snacks. It’s totally normal and okay if your eating has been all over the place lately. It’s normal to have more stress and emotional eating, change in appetite, or unsure what even to eat at this time. Aim to get structure in even if you’re stuck at home. Stock up on some non-perishable staples so you have food you can easily make at home (think lentils, beans, rice, cereal, snacks, freezer items, pasta, sauces, canned veggies, frozen fruit, etc.). Try to still get in some balanced meals and snacks during the day.
★ Support your immune system with a balanced eating pattern, and add some non-perishables to your grocery list.
- Vit C-rich foods – help support a strong immune system and also act as antioxidants to fight off oxidative stress (such as when you get sick).
- Citrus fruits
- Tomatoes (canned tomatoes are a great non-perishable stable)
- Spinach (frozen spinach is a great non-perishable staple and you can easily add to smoothies, stir fries, and pasta!)
- Red bell peppers (frozen stir fry blends with snow peas, onion, and bell peppers are great non-perishable items)
- Zinc – another immune-boosting mineral!
- Legumes (canned and dried beans and lentils)
- Meat (frozen ground beef, bison, turkey)
- Vit A – needed to help make antibodies which neutralize the pathogens that can cause infection.
- Egg yolks
- Oily fish (canned salmon and tuna are great to stock up on)
- Whole grains
- Vitamin E-another vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight off cell damage and infection.
- Sunflower seeds
- Probiotics for good gut health – research shows a healthy, balanced gut microbiome is linked with a strong immune system.
- Yogurt with live and active cultures
- B Vitamins
- particularly B6, B9 and B12, contribute to your body’s first response once it has recognized a pathogen.
- B6 can be found in leafy green veggies, legumes, cereals, nuts and seeds, fish, chicken, and meat.
- B9 can be found in leafy green veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds, and some flours.
- B12 is only found in Animal-protein foods such as meat and dairy, but can also be found in fortified soy milk and other fortified foods.
- Other vitamins & minerals play a role as well, such as iron, selenium, and Vit D. All in all, remember to aim for balance and gently add in fruits & veggies to your regular eating pattern when possible. Research has shown increased fruit & veggie intake is linked with stronger immune function.
★ Engage in mindful movement if you feel up to it. Even if you’re quarantined, you can still move your body! Although gyms may be closed, there are plenty of options to do at home. Try yoga at home, or do a free youtube workout. There are multiple fitness studios that are offering online streaming workouts. Go for a walk even, just be sure to avoid being around other people. Mindful movement can help reduce stress & anxiety, even more important right now. But remember, do what feels best for YOUR body this week and the weeks to come.