Whether you’ve been prioritizing your health for a while, or you were trying to integrate some new healthy habits before the Coronavirus pandemic hit, increased confinement has tested all of our resolve.
Most of us have had to adapt to new routines as we learn to work from home and juggle other responsibilities like childcare, homeschool or isolation. But while these circumstances pose numerous challenges, we can also embrace this rare opportunity to rethink how we spend our time and redefine what we want our day-to-day lives to look like — for the time-being and beyond! Here are a few ways to get (or stay) on track with your health.
1. Keep a routine
Create a schedule that mimics your normal routine, or create a better one: for example, wake up and go to bed at the same time every day and try to stick to regular meal times. Plan your lunch break by getting out for some fresh air while keeping a safe distance from others.
2. Practice eating mindfully
Being at home and having access to food 24/7 can be challenging. Avoiding the kitchen outside of meal or snack times can help resist temptation. Listen to your body: eat when hungry, stop when not! Avoid grazing (eating food here and there throughout the day) and train yourself to recognize the feeling of hunger (the empty feeling in the stomach) and satiety (no longer feeling empty but not too full either). This pathway is managed by nerve connections from your stomach to your brain and should take about 20 minutes before you are able to sense a difference, so slow down at meal times.
3. Prep your own food
Stock up on the essentials (see our pandemic grocery shopping 101 article) and keep meals simple. Plan to try a new recipe every couple of days, using ingredients in your pantry or freezer. And for those who are strapped for time, try your hand at batch cooking to freeze leftovers while building an inventory to rotate through. Involve the whole family, challenging each member to choose a meal or recipe they have been wanting to make and delegating tasks to include everyone. In the COVID-19 world, we need to find ways to bond with each other while in confinement.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking 2 to 3 litres of fluids per day is recommended to help keep you healthy. Not drinking enough fluids can intensify fatigue and irritability, making it that much more likely to reach for the comfort of a favourite food instead of addressing the root of the problem. Aside from the benefits to overall health, drinking enough water can help with appetite control – there’s a good chance that you’re snacking out of thirst! Reach for that jug of water before deciding whether to snack again.
5. Treat yourself
Dive into the quiet by stepping away from your computer or TV and reading a book or working on a puzzle. Enhance your at-home work environment by playing music in the background or taking 5 by breaking out the dance moves. Try to see the change of pace as a reminder to rethink our priorities.
6. Keep moving
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week in bouts of at least 10 minutes. For those who are already active, try to keep it up as much as possible while maintaining a safe distance from others or finding other alternatives, like online workouts. For those just starting their fitness journeys, brainstorm what can be done inside the home or backyard, like taking up jogging, jumping rope, doing yoga or going for a brisk walk in your neighbourhood while keeping a safe distance.
7. Be wary of information you may find online
There is no specific food, supplement or natural health product that will “boost” your immune system or prevent you from catching COVID-19. A healthy diet including a variety of whole foods can help the normal functioning of your immune system, keep your energy levels up and keep you strong.