Since the COVID-19 virus struck like a Category 5 hurricane, quarantining and sheltering-in have become a way of life. Isolation from the virus has provided safety from infection, but also challenged personal health in other ways — straining our mental, emotional and physical well-being. While there may be nothing quite like getting outside and socializing with abandon, there are some simple things you can do to help get through quarantine that will lift your health and spirits.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Wake up! Don’t put off lunch until 5pm! Go to sleep! Technology can do wonderful things, like allowing you to work from home if your office has closed. But being available all the time erases the boundaries of the work-life balance and disrupts your circadian rhythms. It sounds obvious, but to take control of your schedule is to make it yours. Wake up and go to bed at consistent times. Eat three meals a day. Stop working at the end of the day. Your work will still be there tomorrow and you can tackle it better after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Work out. You can adapt an exercise routine to your home. Doing yoga will stretch, tone, and strengthen you, and relax your mind. If you don’t have a treadmill to get in your daily steps, walking your hallway or stairs can do it. Just taking a short break from sitting and doing light intensity physical movement will help ease your muscles and improve circulation. Set an alarm for every hour during the workday that gets you to step away from your desk or work station.
Exercise your mind. Quarantined people are reporting feeling brain fog — a sense of struggle to focus their thoughts or remember information. The brain is like every other major body organ and needs to be exercised to stay fit. Doing a daily crossword puzzle, reading a new book, practicing an instrument, or even learning a new language are wonderful brain workouts that will help clear the fog, so to speak. It’s also key to limit your news intake. Not only is too much time sitting and watching the news bad for your eyes and posture, it shuts off parts of your brain that need to be stimulated. Turn off the TV and let your mind get a workout in.
Eat right. The unrelenting sameness of quarantining can make your cooking and eating feel uninspired. A variety of food is not only good for the tastebuds, but essential to staying healthy, especially during quarantine. The World Health Organization recommends:
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables (whole grains, legumes, plenty of fruits and vegetables)
- Cutting back on salt
- Moderating fats and oils (use olive or corn oil for cooking instead of butter)
- Limiting sugar (snack on fruit instead of cakes and cookies)
- Hydrating (drink water instead of sugar-sweetened drinks)
Give back. Missing people and a sense of purpose can send you into a tailspin, but you don’t have to stay disconnected just because you’re quarantined. With a computer or a phone, you can join a community online group, like a virtual book club. You can also volunteer your time with a service organization. It will engage you with people who may be feeling isolated and you’ll be helping yourself while helping others.
This blog is intended to be informational in nature. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.
If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.