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Many of us are told to stay inside, asked to prevent any social contact, and urged to limit our outings.
This is our new reality during this Coronavirus pandemic, and we have to find a new sense of normal.
Things are changing every day, we’re worried about being sick, about our finances, and we miss our loved ones. While we may not be able to control any of this, it’s important to shift our focus to the few things we can control.
The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic is going to hit different for everyone.
There are health professionals and scientists who are risking their lives daily while trying to save the world. People are working in supermarkets, in pharmacies, in take-out restaurants, in law enforcement, in delivery services…they are also taking risks so we can continue to live as normally as possible.
Then there are those who are sick and those who have sick family members.
And among the rest of us, there are those who live in a huge house by the countryside surrounded by family, and those who live alone in a tiny apartment. There are those who can continue to work from home easily, and those who are being laid off their jobs.
The situations are all vastly different, and we all have our individual coping mechanisms.
Some of us feel like doing nothing and relaxing, others are taking this time to do the things they never have the time to do, and some wish to maintain a healthy routine from home.
No matter where you’re at, here are some ways to help you find a new sense of normal.
How to maintain a healthy home routine during the Coronavirus.
1. Make balanced meals
While those of us who love cooking and possess an adequate kitchen may use this opportunity to create a myriad of recipes, it may be a difficult time for others.
A lot of us eat out a few times during the week, have lunch at the office, or grocery shop regularly to have fresh food on hand at all times— things that aren’t possible right now. In addition, parents find themselves having to feed their kids at lunch when they used to eat in school.
It’s important to do the best you can with what’s available.
Stock up on frozen and canned fruit and veggies to make sure you have a portion for each meal. (But don’t panic buy and hoard more food than you can eat!)
You can do some batch cooking and meal prepping to ensure that you always have a healthy meal on hand. This will stop you from snacking on anything and everything throughout the day (more on that later).
You can make super simple meals that are still healthy. My personal favorite at the moment is lentils with rice and broccoli, with frozen berries for dessert!
You can check out my article on how to create a healthy plate to help you make simple balanced meals.
I also have a lot of tips on eating the right foods during the Coronavirus in this article.
2. Stop eating out of boredom
A big problem a lot of us are facing involves being only a few feet away from our fridge or snack pantry at all times.
While a few comfort snacks can be salutary during this period, indulging in too many isn’t good for our physical or mental health.
The first step to take is to have healthy, balanced, and filling meals. This will prevent a lot of the snacking urges. You should also have a few healthy and filling snacks on hand in case you are actually hungry and not just bored. A handful of nuts, some fruit, a bowl of oats, veggies with hummus, some whole bread with nut butter…
If you aren’t actually hungry but just bored and looking to pass the time, make a list of activities you enjoy, things you never get around to doing, or hobbies you’ve always wanted to start. Pick something to do from that list whenever you feel some boredom eating urges creeping in.
Sometimes, we feel like we know our activity options, but we don’t really realize their full extent until we write them down. You can also find some ideas online. This can be a place to start.
Check out this article for more detailed tips about how to prevent boredom eating.
3. Create some structure
For a lot of people, it’s important to maintain a healthy home routine even during the Coronavirus.
After indulging in the pleasure of lying around for the first few days, it could be good for you to use this time (or at least part of it) productively.
In addition, since a lot of things are uncertain right now, it’s good to create some certainty when you can, and a routine can be calming. Waking up, going to sleep, and eating at regular times all help structure your day.
For some people, getting ready and dressed as if they were going to work or getting out of the house helps with structure and productivity as well. Similarly, if you are working from home, try to have a designated workspace instead of just bringing your laptop to bed.
Since you can’t punctuate your day with outings, try to set up other incentives for yourself. A movie after you finish this essay, a personal phone call in between work sessions, some reading after your home exercise session…
It’s important to give yourself some daily goals to achieve so that you can have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
If you don’t do that, you risk living a series of very similar and meaningless days.
4. Maintain a bit of physical activity
Everyone knows that exercise has many health benefits. It can lower your risk of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer…It’s also great for your mental health, your stress levels, and your sleep quality.
Even if you can’t go to the gym right now, it’s still important to get in some physical activity for a healthy home routine. If you have a back-yard, take advantage of it to do some running, jump rope, jumping jacks, push-up…
You can still do a lot of these activities indoors even if you don’t. If you have gym equipment at home, that’s great— but if not, you can try to make your own. Put some books in a backpack while you do your squats, lift up some milk cartons, or follow some of these ideas if you’re in need of a DIY project (and have the room!)
You can also get some good workouts in without any equipment at all. Don’t hesitate to watch some YouTube videos or to follow a work-out routine on an app!
5. Take care of your mental health
Finally, these times can also take a toll on our mental health. Following the above practices will help, and here are a few more tips.
Even if you can’t go outside, try to spend some time in front of an open window (while reading, for instance). Getting some fresh air is important and can help replicate some of the health benefits of being outside.
Decluttering, cleaning, and organizing your home can be calming, and can help you take your mind off of stressful things.
Being in isolation can also be difficult to handle mentally. Make sure to call your family and friends often. Many people around me are also participating in game sessions or gatherings via video! It’s important to maintain that social connection.
Meditation has a lot of proven health benefits. Take this time to work on yourself, lower your stress levels, improve your peace of mind, and care for your mental health by meditating.
Finally, it’s really important to be kind, whether it be to others or to yourself.
If you’re living with roommates or family members that you aren’t used to spending your entire days with, tensions can quickly arise. Make sure they don’t settle in. If something is bothering or annoying you, say so in a respectful and kind manner. Try to remember that the situation isn’t normal and that everyone is bound to be a bit tense.
And remember to be gentle with yourself, as well. If you watched more TV than you should have, didn’t finish all of your work, or skipped your exercise session, it’s not that big of a deal. Accept that you are doing the best you can during a difficult situation.
How to maintain a healthy home routine in conclusion
Hopefully, you’ve learned a few ways to maintain a healthy routine from home.
It’s important that you continue to eat balanced meals, that you find healthy ways to cope with boredom, and that you give yourself a sense of structure. It’s also a good idea to maintain some physical activity and to look after your mental health.
If it’s comforting to you, remember: we are all in this together!
Check out my other ressources during this quarantine:
If you’re interested in nutrition, its impact on our health, and the science behind it, you should definitely read How Not to Die. In this book, Doctor Michael Greger, founder of Nutrition Facts, examines the top causes of death in America and explains how your diet can prevent— and in some cases even reverse— them. His advice is all backed by science and he writes in a very clear and entertaining way. This book isn’t a list of what you already know. It will teach you the keys to living a long healthy life, in a simple and practical way, and without spending fortunes on supplements and pills!
PLUS if you want to take it a step further, you can check out the How Not to Die Cookbook to implement the advice easily!
It can be hard to find the right balance between healthy eating and dieting without becoming obsessed with food.
You’ve certainly heard about the anti-inflammatory diet before and the benefits it could have on your body.