As we face restricted movement, social distancing and dramatic changes to our daily routines, it can seem like a real challenge to stay healthy. These tips are designed to help you maintain your physical and mental well-being at home, so you can stay healthy and calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.
No foods or supplements can prevent or treat COVID-19, but eating a well-balanced and varied diet is still important while at home. Maintaining a healthy diet supports your immune system, makes you feel good and can also reduce the likelihood of developing other health problems.
If you have more spare time on your hands than usual, one way to keep busy is to experiment in the kitchen. The best way to get all the essential nutrients you need for good health is to eat a mix of wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, proteins and healthy fats, so try to incorporate these into your meals. We can all be forgiven a sugary snack or two to perk us up right now, but balance is key.
If you’re unsure what to pick up on your weekly trip to the supermarket, try to make a plan before you go. Take inventory of what’s already in your cupboards and plan around these items to create balanced meals, using a mix of non-perishables and fresh produce. If you’re worried about wasting fresh fruit and vegetables, try cutting them up and putting them in your freezer so you can use them for months to come.
As well as eating the right foods, it’s also essential to stay hydrated for overall health. Tap water is the healthiest and cheapest drink, and for a refreshing boost you could add slices of lemon, cucumber, mint or berries. Unsweetened coffee and tea are also good choices to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Staying active is good for both your physical and mental health, so even though you may not be able to go to the gym or exercise in the ways you usually would, it’s important to try and get some physical activity in where you can.
You can still enjoy daily outdoor exercise such as a walk, run or bike ride, so do try and use this time to get active and enjoy a bit of fresh air. Indoors, you could also try a virtual class, play active video games or do some muscle strength and balance training.
Looking after your mental health
This new reality is challenging for all of us and is taking its toll on some people’s mental health. It’s vital to take care of your mental well-being as well as your physical health during this time, and there are lots of things you can do to support your mental health and help others who may need some extra care.
Maintaining your daily routine, or creating a new one, can really make you feel better while you’re stuck at home. Try and stick to a regular sleeping pattern, eat at normal times, exercise regularly and make time for doing things you enjoy.
Getting moving can significantly boost your mood, even if it’s through everyday tasks such as cleaning and gardening. You should also make time for socialising responsibly with loved ones via a phone call or video chat, as talking with friends and family can make a big difference to the way you feel. Check in with those close to you to check that they’re doing okay, and have them do the same for you.
Remember to be kind to yourself in the weeks and months to come, recognising when you need a break. If you don’t feel up to doing anything, that’s fine too, so be sure to focus on your well-being and tell yourself that what you’re doing is enough.
Managing stress and sleep
Managing stress and anxiety is essential for getting enough sleep, while getting enough sleep is crucial for overall health.
Yoga and mediation are great tools for managing stress, and they’re easy to do from home via an online class. You can also look to apps such as Headspace for guided mediation and mindfulness to help you feel calmer and more well-rested.
If you’re feeling stressed or struggling to sleep, try to take breaks from technology and do something you enjoy, whether it’s reading, crafting, cooking or working out. It’s also a good idea to reduce how much you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious, avoiding over-exposure by seeking the latest information just once or twice a day.