Prioritizing Your Overall Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
This past week has challenged us and changed all of our worlds in one form or another. This is a time of uncertainty with the ever-changing news surrounding COVID-19, Many of us have been sitting on the edge of our seats wondering what will happen next, what does this mean for our family, what does this mean for our country. Social distancing/ isolating, working from home, school closures, social establishments being closed has all led to a new normal for the foreseeable future.
Coping with major life events such as this can take a toll in various ways. Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations and it often depends on your background, personal traits and characteristics, people you are surrounded by, as well as your mental and physical health coming into these major life events.
With so much uncertainty and negativity looming it can be close to impossible to thrive and be productive. Scrolling your newsfeed, wondering if you have a job to go back to, how you’ll make ends meet or provide for your family, and what the future holds can all be debilitating right now. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, historical substance abuse, are immunocompromised, or have a myriad of other mental/ physical ailments, this time can be particularly crippling. Understand that your feelings and emotions are valid and okay. It’s how we choose to cope with this situation that is vitally important. Luckily wellness and mood have been studied for decades and there is much scientific information on what can help us cope through quarantine, avoid depression, and thrive during these unprecedented times. We are here to provide support and love to our community. We are creatures of connection and practicing social distancing is an uncomfortable yet necessary step for the benefit of ourselves and our neighbors. Here are some helpful ways to prioritize your health and cope with quarantine/ social distancing
Have a Daily Routine
Keep your daily routine (or as close to it as possible) including setting your alarm in the morning and maintaining a nightly bedtime. Get up and shower, eat breakfast as normal, and get dressed – you don’t have to dress up but don’t stay in your pajamas.
Be proactive and lay out an intentional structure for your day. If you’re telecommuting, stick with your usual work-times or something similar. If you’re not working, create a schedule of mealtimes, reading time, phone time, exercise, chores, etc. Include a mix of things you need to do like work, chores, cleaning as well as things you like to do. Write your daily schedule/ plan and stick to it as close as possible. This approach to your day is actually an evidence-based treatment for depression called “behavioral activation” that will also help prevent it.
Make Yourself a Priority
Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and at your normal daily scheduled mealtimes. Make daily exercise part of your schedule. If you aren’t confined/quarantined to your house, sunlight and being out in nature can benefit mood tremendously. If you’re stuck inside, try one of the many workouts that you can find on online.
Be sure to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. While it’s easy to get caught up in the anxiousness of the current situation, take time to turn off the TV, reflect and process. Perhaps begin a journal, write down how you are feeling and what your thinking throughout the day. Journaling can be very helpful and cathartic to process your emotions.
Be intentional with any extra time you have during quarantine. Pick a topic you’ve wanted to learn about, teach yourself a new skill or start a new hobby. Reading that self-help book you have been putting off or finally practicing meditation can not only assist you in connecting in the moment now but it will also be helpful for coping in the future. Plan to come out of this quarantine having personally grown and with a fresh perspective. Whatever specific measures you take, be sure to be intentional about prioritizing your mental, physical and emotional health.
Connect With and Help Others
Connect with others. We are all experiencing this Coronavirus, global pandemic for the first time together. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
Single and ready to mingle? Plan a virtual happy hour online and invite others locally via social media. Everyone wants a distraction from the newscycle and this can be a great way to meet someone new to *virtually* get through this time with.
If you are in a relationship, be intentional about keeping your relationship healthy. Plan a date night in with your significant other. Keep the lines of healthy communication open, be honest about your fears and feelings and find comfort in each other. Keeping your emotional intimacy a priority will organically help you keep your physical intimacy a priority as well. (And on that note, if you are close to running out of SYLK, we are still taking orders and shipping as usual (wink-wink)).
Taking care of family, friends and people in your community can also help you cope with the current stress. Write some handwritten notes and mail them to friends, family or people you work with and let them know you are thinking of them to brighten their day. Message and email people who may be struggling right now and tell them you’re thinking of them. Be present and let others know you are here for them to cope with these uncharted times together. This is the time to show up for others in meaningful ways, not physically (but if that is required remember to maintain that 6ft of distance) but rather, emotionally, offer help (if you can) and most of all choose to be kind.
This will not last forever
During these unprecedented, times it’s easy to let worry and fear set in and take up a lot of emotional real estate. We are creatures of connection and practicing social distancing is an uncomfortable yet necessary step to flatten the curve. Know that this virus can invade your body but you get to decide and control whether it affects your emotional and mental well being. We encourage you to mindfully and diligently protect your emotional, mental and physical health. Take comfort in knowing this won’t last forever and know that we are community and here to support one another. #wearesylk
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