Are you going COVID crazy?
These are difficult times for many people, for many different reasons. We’ve heard it said that we are all sailing the same stormy seas but that we’re all in different boats; some leaky, some have no rudder to help guide the way. Others resemble a cruise ship – lucky them! Regardless of the ship you find yourself in, one theme is pretty common many of us are going COVID crazy! Today we wanted to take a time out to focus on some tips and tools for keeping healthy, both mentally and physically, as we sail these unchartered waters together.
First, it’s particularly important to acknowledge that our mental health and physical health go together. It will be almost impossible to have one without the other and much of what I’ll be sharing today is about ways to encourage both. Exercise, diet, meditation, family and friends – all are important components of maintaining overall general wellbeing. With this in mind, let’s take a journey together on what a good day, a good week and even a good month might look like whether COVID keeps us “locked down” or not!
Physical exercise is a must! It doesn’t have to be a hard work out every day although I’m loving my “rock it out” fitness classes with @issacboots every morning! For you, it might be something as simple as going for a walk, breathing the fresh air, absorbing some sunshine and vitamin D and using the walk as an opportunity to clear your mind of clutter and prepare for the day ahead. Any type of movement, from yoga to cardio or weight training are all going to give you more energy and perhaps inspire you to make better choices throughout your day including how you spend your time and the foods you choose to eat.
Speaking of food choices, work on an attainable goal of choosing to eat healthy around 80% of the time. Lean and green is the way to go if you can. Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or you enjoy a good steak – the point is to make good food choices most of the time. Your body will thank you! Whole grains, rice, fruit and plenty of green vegetables are always healthy choices. That said, it’s time for me to admit the truth, I’m a “whole cake” kinda gal! I LOVE desserts! That brings me to the other 20% of the time. If you’re mostly eating well, there’s no reason not to occasionally indulge. I would even go so far as to suggest that now more than ever the occasional treat is not only nice, but also necessary. Physical health depends on the foods we eat but mental health sometimes relies on the treats!
If you’ve never tried meditation before, now is the time. Our minds are constantly racing, the news is always in the background and there are many demands on our time and energy from work, children, perhaps a spouse and the world that is constantly changing. Taking time to meditate each day has been a game changer for me. Consider an online tool like Calm that will guide you through a short or long meditation exercise to help calm the swirl of racing thoughts. It will help you sit still, focus on only one thing and to breathe – just breathe. Meditation will help you control any negative thoughts, to acknowledge but not dwell on them and to encourage the focus on healthy and positive thoughts. I strongly suggest everyone give it a try.
While you’re at it – don’t just think positive thoughts but try to surround yourself with positive people. The negative energy of others can really drag you down so whenever you can, surround yourself with people that elevate you. You might also want to consider taking a break from the news or social media. It can be a real drag and a drain on our time. You log on for a couple of minutes and the next thing you know an hour has passed by. If this might be a hard habit for you to break, consider scheduling a twice a day scan of social media and set a time limit, set an alarm and stick to it.
Try Something New!
Finally, for many, this time has actually given us more of an opportunity to do new things and think about our lives in new and different ways. Whether you are working or not, the reality is we aren’t able to use our “leisure time” in some of the usual ways we might have in the past. That means it’s a great time to embrace a new sport, hobby, or activity. I’m not suggesting for a minute that you pressure yourself to learn a new language – unless you want to that is! Rather, I simply mean find something fun that resonates with you and maybe even allows you to connect with others in a socially distanced, safe way. Consider this list as a starting point and we’d love to hear about some of your ideas too!
- Get outside! Go for a hike, a bike ride, a walk or a run. On a trail, through the woods or just around your neighbourhood – embrace your newly found downtime.
- Read a book – or twelve! Local libraries in many areas are offering free, easy to use download tools to allow avid readers more time with a good book. If you like the feel of holding an actual book and can’t get out to shop, there are plenty of online sources and delivery methods available that will allow you to buy a book and have it ready to read in your hands in just a matter of days.
- Cook, bake and hang out in the kitchen. This is the time to give that recipe you’ve “been meaning to try” a chance. With so many folks working from home you might have a few extra minutes in your day to cook. Since I’ve already admitted to being a whole cake girl, go ahead and bake yourself a little treat once in awhile too.
- This is an ideal time for the self-employed entrepreneur to really dig deep and focus on your business. Update your website, build a vision board and plan your future. Set goals (with flexible timelines due to the current situation but goals nonetheless) and reach out to others through online networking groups and with zoom calls. Many small business enterprise centres in communities are offering free online business classes. See what’s available in your area.
- Look for online classes that are just for fun. Try painting, do a fitness class, look for crafting tips, tools and suggestions. Gardening techniques, building a birdhouse, how to refinish furniture. You name it, it’s available online so think of something that piques your interest, do a Google search and get down to the business of doing something enjoyable that’s just for you.
That’s it for now. Viv&Oak is committed to helping folks find healthy ways to manage both their mental health and physical wellbeing. If you’ve been going a little bit COVID crazy, we hope you have found inspiration in at least one of the suggestions contained within this blog. Stay healthy. Stay safe and stay well!