Just a little while ago, many of us were living our lives without restrictions. We joined friends and family for dinner and entertainment. We were starting to see breaks in the weather which inspired shopping trips for spring clothing or trips to get pedicures. Children were breaking free of the indoors; the familiar sound of bicycles and laughter was filling our neighborhoods once again.
And then it all just stopped.
Our new mandate requires an end to most of what we used to think was normal behavior…human contact, freedom, independence and perhaps general happiness. This allows for an increase in less than desirable conditions, such as isolation, depression, anxiety and grief.
Let me be clear in saying, you are allowed to grieve and to appreciate the lives we lived so freely before. Going forward, we need to take each of those steps to accept the reality of life as it is now, even if it is temporary. We can use this time as an opportunity to ground ourselves and really focus on what is important…because life will go on. We have the time to do better, be healthier, love more openly and live with gratitude. Consider these helpful tips to combat the mental cobwebs and physical limitations of our space:
Yoga is a connection between mind, body and spirit. It focuses on meditation and breathing. It forces your mind to focus on the body’s capabilities which in turn allows for a mindful meditation. Meditation is helpful to relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression, as it allows you to categorize your thoughts. Almost like a card catalog or a thought rolodex- organization of your mind will help ease anxious overthinking. Yoga is also a great way for all ages to increase their flexibility, circulation and muscle tone. Yoga emphasizes on controlled breathing, which has shown to increase immunity and decrease stress on the cardiovascular system.
Walking Exercise releases endorphins, tiny hormones that make your brain happy. Besides the pure joy of walking, a 30 minute stroll has been proven to help strengthen your bones and muscles, help reduce stress, improve your balance and coordination and help reduce other cardiovascular ailments. As we spend more time with Netflix and our couches, a daily walk becomes even more important to keep up our muscle tone and mood!
Sunshine: A daily dose of sunshine and some outdoor air will not only increase your mood but it will also stimulate your body to make Vitamin D. That’s right, your body uses sunshine to stimulate Vitamin D synthesis from the cholesterol in your skin cells. Most of us (roughly 42% of Americans) are deficient in Vitamin D as well. Vitamin D has been proven to fight depression, help aid weight loss and boost immunity.
B Complex Vitamins (with Zinc): These are the powerhouse vitamins. They are beneficial to general health and stress reduction. They promote healthy cell function, increase of red blood cells and energy levels. Zinc has also been proven to aid the immune system. Most B Complex vitamins have the addition of Vitamin C and Vitamin E, these are increasingly important during cold and flu season because of their antioxidant and immune support.
Technology: Take advantage of virtual resources for interactions with friends and family. Facetime, Zoom, Skype or even Facebook messenger allow for face to face communications. As humans, we are a social species. It is a core human need. It is so important now to continue to connect with our loved ones even if it is on the other side of a screen.
Eat Healthy! Drink Water! Get plenty of sleep! It has probably been said time and time again. We tell our children, we tell our friends but rarely do we take our own advice. A healthy, balanced diet, low in processed foods and sugar is the best defense we have to keeping our bodies healthy from the inside out. Drinking at least 8 8oz glasses of water a day allows for hydration while your body flushes toxins and lubricates the mucus membranes and joints. A good night’s sleep is vital for your body to continue checks and balances. Sleep keeps the body’s metabolic functions working correctly, it is important for a healthy heart and brain. Good sleep is the catalyst for so many self-nurturing habits. Find the time to relax every night. Adopt a routine that allows the brain to know it is time to unwind for a restful night’s sleep.
And it is important to remember we will get through this, one day, one hour, one minute at a time.