I write this blog, I’m hoping you and your families are continuing to
stay safe and healthy. I’m thinking of all of our healthcare workers,
first responders, retailers and grocers who are putting their health and
their families' health at risk for the benefit of others. I’m thankful
to everyone who has stepped up big or small to work extra hours so
patients have the care and supplies they need, that food and toiletries
can be delivered and restocked, those checking in on neighbors and loved
ones, and those spreading messages of hope and positivity.
For all of us, the
past few weeks have brought with it a roller-coaster of emotions that
range from uncertainty, anxiety, and stress to feelings of hope and
gratitude. It’s never easy to find the positivity in a negative
situation, but there will be a silver lining and we will all come out of
this stronger than when we began.
As we learn how to navigate and find our new normal we thought we’d give some tips on how to boost your mood while being home.
Create a Routine: If you’ve been winging the first
few weeks of being home, it’s time to create a routine. Having a routine
can help minimize stress and reduce anxiety. This could be as simple as
getting up, showering, and being dressed by a certain time each day or
making sure you get out for walks and exercise regularly. Create a
checklist of things you want to accomplish whether it’s doing a webinar,
e-mails and work tasks, having a few planned activities for your
kids/grand kids or planning out your meals for the week. Having some
semblance of routine will make you feel in control and accomplished
while helping everyone in the house know what to expect day to day.
Exercise: The mood lifting properties of exercise are well known. Exercise increases
serotonin which helps regulate mood, sleep and appetite along with
endorphins which are mood lifters too. For those who rely on the gym or
doing classes each week not having access to workouts can be a big hit
both hormonally and socially. The good news is many gyms have taken
their classes online allowing you to see not only the instructor but
other people working out just as hard as you. Find other ways to get
your exercise in whether its daily walks around the neighborhood or
creating a gym using household items (cans, chairs, towels), or maybe a
challenge with friends and family for who takes the most steps each day.
Reduce Stress: Let's face it, all of us have seen
our stress levels rise over the past few weeks with the events in the
world, the uncertainty of our finances, trying to figure out how to care
for loved ones, keeping our immunity high, or taking on new roles of
being teachers while working full-time. Stress can fuel symptoms of
anxiety, sadness, frustration and depression while wreaking havoc on our
health by producing the hormone cortisol. Try and find a way to combat
stress each day by carving out some “me time” to exercise, meditate,
pray, or anything that helps bring you a sense of calm.
Avoid Sugar Highs: One of the things with a change
in routine is a change in our eating habits. If you’ve found yourself
going for simple carbs and sweets now that you’re home, find ways to
curb this habit. Eating sugar and carbs can lead to
fluctuations which can give us an initial high but then leave us tired,
fatigued, and moody. Try and make sure each meal and snack has a
combination of lean
protein, healthy carbs and a small amount of heart-healthy fat. This will help to keep you full, stabilize blood sugar levels, and keep your mood in check.
Take Your Omega-3s:Omega-3s
are known for their mood lifting benefits and for boosting immunity
through their anti-inflammatory properties. Most of us don’t know that
our bodies can’t make omega-3s so we have to get them through our diet
Stay Hydrated: If your caffeine consumption or even
your alcohol indulgence has gone up slightly in the past few weeks
there’s a good chance your
has taken a hit with it. Make sure you are keeping yourself fully
hydrated. Even a slight decrease in our hydration status can make us
moody, unable to concentrate along with bringing on headaches and
fatigue. Do what you can to keep caffeine and alcohol to a minimum while
boosting your intake of water and hydrating foods like
fruits and vegetables.
Practice Self-Care: Being in good health right now
is more critical than ever for both mood and immunity. One of the
downsides of our fast-paced lives is that we tend to push ourselves and
our health to the back burner. Use this time as an opportunity to focus
on you. Get that extra sleep each night instead of staying up late
watching shows, reacclimate yourself with the
Zone Diet or portion control or start being consistent with your health whether its diet, exercise or self-care.
Find a Hobby: For better or worse this is a great
time to find a hobby whether its learning how to cook, starting a
garden, finishing those DIY projects, or finally creating photo-books of
your family. Having a hobby can take your mind off things and has been
shown to decrease stress and depression.
Stay Positive: Social media can be both positive or
negative. It’s a great way to stay connected with friends and family but
can also makes us feel helpless if it promotes feelings of being alone,
comparing ourselves to others, or despair at what is going on in the
world around us. Find the balance of what works for you.
Stay Connected to Friends and Family: Feeling
disconnected with family and friends can take a toll on our mood. Stay
connected while being socially distant whether its Facetime, Zoom
events, writing letters or picking up the phone and checking in on loved
ones. This is especially important for those living alone