Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Quincy Bioscience, the makers of Prevagen.
We are all living in an unprecedented time with the spread of COVID-19. Around the world, people are shut up in their homes, venturing out occasionally to get necessary groceries and supplies. Some are social distancing simply to help slow the spread of the virus, while others need to self-isolate or even be in quarantine because of potential exposure to the virus.
As the weeks drag on, it is easy to feel cooped up and stressed out. It is also easy to lose a sense of routine and fall into some bad habits, such as:
- Poor eating.
- Binge-watching TV shows and movies.
- Not reaching out to friends and family.
- Wearing pajamas day in and day out.
- Neglecting personal hygiene.
- Not exercising.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
While these behaviors might be okay for a few days here and there, when kept up for the long term, they can cause a lot of strain on our physical, mental, and cognitive health. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid falling into the trap of poor self-care, even when in isolation. There are small things you can do that can make a huge difference in how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Take a look at this list and choose the things that are most likely to work for you. Chances are, you can embrace most, if not all, of these changes.
Keep the same sleep routine: Continue to go to bed and wake up at the same time as you would when life was normal. Keep your bedtime and morning routines. These can give you a sense of comfort and normalcy during this time of uncertainty.
Shower and get dressed: Do this every single day. If you want to give yourself a pajama day every once in a while, go for it. We all do this from time to time, but doing it every day begins to take its toll mentally and emotionally.
Eat healthy foods: During isolation, you are under stress. While eating healthy at any time is important, during such a stressful time, it is especially necessary because your body needs that full nutritional support more than ever to help manage the stress. When you eat well, you will keep up your energy, are less likely to put on weight, will feel better emotionally, and will be able to maintain healthy cognitive function. To eat healthy:
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible. When you can’t access them, eat frozen veggies, and keep canned as a last option.
- Home cook your meals.
- Eat only whole grains.
- Eat regular meals, but avoid overeating.
- Get creative with the ingredients you have. Turn old bananas into homemade muffins, and use up old vegetables to make soup.
- Be sure to treat yourself to something indulgent occasionally. A little chocolate, a baked treat, or a bowl of popcorn is fine in moderation.
- Avoid or minimize your consumption of refined and processed foods and sugar.
- Avoid or minimize your consumption of alcohol.
- Take supplements to support your health.
Get plenty of exercise: As long as you haven’t been exposed to the virus, you can go outside and exercise. As long as you are practicing social distancing (staying at least six feet or two meters away from others), you are fine. At home, you can also do strength training to maintain or increase your muscle mass. Physical activities that you can do in isolation include:
- Going for walks.
- Riding your bike.
- Lifting weights (if you have them).
- Doing full-body strength training exercises, such as squats, sit-ups, and push-ups.
- Taking an online yoga class.
- Putting on some music and dancing.
Exercise is so important, and not just for your physical fitness and health; cardiovascular exercise also gets those endorphins pumping. These are the feel-good hormones that act as a great stress reliever and boost your mood, something everyone needs during these uncertain times. And remember, all it takes is 15 minutes a couple of times a day to keep your body healthy.
Reach out to friends and family: Even though you are in isolation, it doesn’t mean you can’t socialize. With the technology we have today, you can easily FaceTime or Skype friends and family. Apps like Zoom are allowing people to hold meetups, book clubs, dance classes, game nights, and more. Make use of this time to connect with the people in your life.
Take up an old hobby, or start a new one: Keep yourself busy with constructive activities. If you have any hobbies that you haven’t engaged in for a while, now is a great time to pick them back up again. If you didn’t have a hobby, now is the time to find one. Whether that is reading, knitting, building puzzles, woodworking, painting, or something else, getting creative will help you maintain your cognitive function, keep boredom at bay, and help keep your mind off of more stressful things. You’ll also have something nice to show for it.
Work smart: If you are working from home, make sure that you have a good workspace setup. If possible, have a separate office space. However, regardless of where you work, you need a good chair, a desk or table, and good lighting. Natural light is best. Get some plants or some art, and make the space your own. If you are working full days, make sure to get up and move every half hour or so. If you really want to, you can get chores done during these breaks. You’ll get your movement in and get some much-needed housework done. Just be sure not to use chores as a way to procrastinate on work.
Schedule your day: Working from home or not, it is a good idea to schedule your day so that you have a routine to rely on. This will help you stay calm and relaxed, and it will help ensure that you do the things that are good for you, such as exercise, meditation, hobbies, and whatever else you want to do during your day. Also, be sure to schedule in healthy meal planning.
Support your cognitive health: All of these tips will help you support and maintain your cognitive health. In addition, you can take a supplement that will support healthy brain function.*
Stay Safe: The most important thing to do as we continue social distancing is to stay safe. Staying home is how you can play your part in keeping everyone safe. And remember, just because you are home, it doesn’t mean you are alone or that you can’t take care of yourself. You just have to make a commitment and do it.
Prevagen is a dietary supplement that has been clinically shown to help with mild memory loss associated with aging.* It contains apoaequorin, an ingredient originally discovered in jellyfish. In a computer-assessed, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study, Prevagen improved certain aspects of cognitive function.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.