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Top Ways to Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy While Social Distancing
Staying physically and mentally fit is important in this age of social distancing. These days, social distancing is encouraged because it can literally save lives. Staying at least an arm’s length away from everyone else can greatly lower risk. It can be hard in times like this – so we want to give you tips on tools you can use for staying healthy.
Although absolutely necessary these days, social distancing is also the perfect recipe for disaster when it comes to our physical and mental health. Because you are encouraged to stay indoors as much as possible, limited face-to-face contact with people and reduced social activities may result in depression in many people.
That is why it is important to take up new habits to stay physically and mentally healthy in this “new normal”. And we have listed three of them here.
This may seem easier said than done because come on – It CAN be a challenge to plan and cook all three meals a day. Especially when you can’t stay too long in a grocery store where there are other people around.
This is why many people resort to stocking up on non-perishables such as canned food, instant noodles, and frozen dinners. The question now is, can you actually eat healthily when what you have in your pantry is mostly canned food?
This would surprise you, but it IS possible to have nutritious meals even if you are stuck with just non-perishables at home. The key is to choose canned food that has low levels of salt, added sugars, and saturated fat.
By low levels, we mean less than 5 grams per serving for sugar; less than 1.5 grams per serving for saturated fat, and less than 200 mg per serving for salt.
A quick scan of the nutrition facts at the back of the can will do your body a whole lot of good, so don’t be embarrassed to read labels the next time you go to the store. And when you DO go to the store, plan your grocery list so you would not forget to add fresh fruits and vegetables, too.
If you’d like to look at other great ideas on how you Eat healthily during this time, check out our other articles here!
Exercising regularly not only benefits your body, but it also boosts your mental and emotional health, too. And while you may not be able to go back to the gym yet, you can still get your much-needed workout.
Isometric exercises are an example of workouts you can do indoors. These are exercises that tense up muscles with little to no movement. It is an ideal workout for most people that do not have access to gym equipment or have limited spaces in their homes.
You may have better success if you can set a specific area in your home for your daily exercise. It does not have to be a huge space – you can set up your exercise mat and dumbbells in your bedroom or even set up space in front of your TV. Just make sure that you go back to this area every day so your mind and body get into the habit.
It is also okay to go out for a walk or a run as long as you keep the recommended distance of six feet from other people. Go jogging around your neighborhood and choose a less crowded trail, or take your dog out for regular morning and afternoon walks.
If you have a bike, go out for a long ride on a new route. Apart from giving your glutes and leg muscles a great workout, being in a new environment also stimulates your brain. If you are more into stretching exercises, you can also layout a mat and do yoga exercises in your backyard during sunrise or sunset.
For more good ideas on how you can get out and Move – check out articles here!
Set Recovery Days
By this, we mean taking the time to relax and take your mind off the craziness going on. Take a “news detox day” if you must. Turn off the TV and put down your phone for a day or two so your mind and emotions can take a break from the chaos and give yourself some love by doing one (or all) of the following:
Meditation is a great way to manage anxiety and stress and you can do it right at home or anywhere, for that matter. Make sure that you choose a quiet area and keep away from distractions.
Meditation not only allows you to relax, but it can also help improve your sleep. And getting enough sleep is very important in both your physical and mental health.
Soak in Warm Baths:
Or take a long hot shower if you don’t have a bathtub. A study published in 2017 showed that taking warm baths (or hot showers) can help a lot in improving one’s mood and showed positive effects among participants suffering from depression.
You can amp up the spa vibes by lighting up scented candles and using Epsom salt in your bathwater. Play some relaxing spa music or your favorite chill-out songs in the background. Or read a book while you soak. Anything that can help ease your mind and give your body time to relax. Do this before bedtime so you can prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep.
Anxiety and stress can cause physical symptoms like muscle pain and tension. And getting a massage is the best way to relieve muscle aches. The same goes for exercise-related muscle pain and soreness. However, since you can’t go to a massage therapist or a spa just yet, self-massaging is the next best thing.
Using a percussive massage gun for just 10 minutes gives you the equivalent of a one-hour deep tissue massage session. These handheld devices break down the lactic acid buildup in muscles that cause pain and tension and promote blood flow which allows your muscles to relax.
While massage guns are often used for relaxation and post-workout recovery, you can also use these devices before and during your home workouts, in between reps. Using a massage gun for 30 seconds per muscle group before your workout “wakes up” your muscles and prepares it for exercise. On the other hand, using it while resting between sets helps maximize muscle efficiency and relieves fatigue.
When to Ask for Help:
If you find that you still feel overly anxious and depressed despite your efforts, then it is time to seek help. Always remember that being depressed is not being weak. Just like you can’t always avoid getting physically sick, you can’t always avoid mental health issues either.
You can either call your doctor or contact a therapist for advice. You will find there are many therapists that offer therapy sessions over the phone or online because they are social distancing, too.
When Jai Tadeo isn’t at work writing full time for HYDRAGUN, she’s usually at home, running on her treadmill. When the weather’s great, she runs 5 kilometers outdoors after a day of writing. She’s also been unsuccessful at beating her husband at badminton every weekend for the past ten years.