Opinion

Tips for Staying Healthy and Sane while Social Distancing

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Have you found yourself stuck at home more these days? If so, you’re not alone. Whether you work remotely full-time or simply trying to social distance, you might be recognizing that your sedentary lifestyle might not provide the healthiest choices.

Let’s check out how you can make the most of your at-home challenges to maintain a healthy lifestyle. (If you’re looking for tips on ways to make your unhealthy choices healthier, you’ve come to the right place!)

 

Eating Healthy

Just because you spend a lot of time sitting at home working does not mean your diet needs to be lazy!

 

Canned and Frozen Produce 

Instead of automatically popping in a frozen pizza for dinner, adjust your healthy recipes to include canned and frozen options.

If you’re low on fresh produce, remember that frozen produce is often flash-frozen, which means it comes directly from being harvested to being cleaned and immediately frozen. This translates to higher levels of nutrients than the broccoli that’s been sitting at the fresh produce section for a week. The longer a vegetable waits to be prepared, the more nutrients it loses, so don’t feel like you’re not getting your nutrients if you are using a lot of frozen veggies and fruits. On the contrary, you’re getting just as many -and likely more- than if you were to use the fresh produce from a grocer. 

 

Healthy Comfort Food

When you’re stuck in your house, food can be a huge comfort. Try making your “comfort food” recipes healthier. Want pizza? Try cauliflower pizza bites. If pasta is one of your comfort foods, sub out the pasta for a protein-heavy pasta like those made with lentils or chickpeas, or replace the pasta entirely with zucchini or squash. If your comfort foods aren’t something you’d consider healthy, it doesn’t mean they can’t be. It just might take a little creative thinking. 

Soups are one of those warm-you-up foods that can make you feel like everything is going to be alright, and they also happen to be one of the easiest foods to keep healthy and filling. While it’s springtime now, autumn soups are hands-down some of the most comforting options, and they are helpful in keeping you hydrated as well. Never underestimate the power of hydration!

 

Online Options for Delivery and Pick-up

If you’re trying to social distance and avoid as many places with groups of people, it can be difficult when you’re trying to get groceries, pick of prescriptions, and maintain your sanity. One option can be to order things online that you’d normally go out for, and that goes for a multitude of things!

Cooking a healthy meal every night can feel a bit like a hamster running in a wheel: pointless and ceaseless. Sometimes you just want someone else to do the work for you! While eating out tends to be less healthy, there are a lot of places that will deliver high-nutritional food. You just have to be a bit more diligent in finding them. If you’re ordering food for pick up or delivery, look for options that add in various vegetables, consider ordering from a vegetarian restaurant, and here’s a big tip: Don’t wait to order when you’re hungry. Instead, order earlier in the evening, and that way when you’re ordering, you’ll be likelier to choose a healthy meal instead of binging on something you feel not-so-great about later. While things in moderation might not throw you off your healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to spiral down and justify eating fried potatoes one night and chocolate cake the next, and so on. 

If you are trying to keep to a stricter eating schedule, or want to eliminate snacks from your diet while working from home, schedule your grocery pickup or delivery online. This way, you are not tempted to throw in an extra bag of candies or stop by the ice cream aisle. Reduce your temptation by scheduling your grocery pickup and avoid the aisles entirely. Not all grocery stores have curbside pickup, so you may be forced to try a new grocery store, but you’ll also be cutting down on interaction with larger groups of people. 

Let’s be honest: people at pharmacies are often sick and picking up medication. If you’re trying to stay healthy, a pharmacy isn’t the ideal place to be hanging out, but many of us rely on specific medications, especially if you have a chronic condition.  If you’re looking to purchase prescriptions online, you can try Simple Online Pharmacy. This way, you can avoid the crowds of pharmacies, but you’ll need to remember to plan a little bit in advance to consider shipping time.  

 

Working out at home

Stay moving! 

If you can, take a walk in your neighborhood each morning to get your blood flowing and get some fresh air. While this might fall under mental health, warming up your body before sitting down at a computer for several hours is huge! 

If you’re accustomed to working out with weights at a gym and have found yours closed down, don’t dismay. While bodyweight exercises won’t give you the exact same resistance as heavy weights, they are still valuable options in a small space. Alternate bodyweight pushups, squats, planks, and crunches. Bored with the basics? Get creative!

If you’re craving lifting some things other than yourself though, get creative. Fill a backpack with heavy things, and then do squats with it on your back. For an arm workout, secure things to the end of a broomstick to add resistance, or simply lift one-gallon jugs of water. It’s not glamorous, but if you’re breaking a sweat, it’s better than sitting still.

Used to running on a treadmill? It’s time to switch things up. If you have a yard, you can get outside with a jump rope, and feel your heart and lungs working overtime. For something a bit less redundant, but equally challenging, check out the plethora of online workouts available. If you’re not sure where to start, Google “HIIT workouts at home,” and be prepared to be inundated with options. Yoga is another great option for a low impact workout. The only excuse left to not workout is you! 

 

Mental Health

When you’re social distancing, it’s easy to forget the importance of mental health. If you’re used to seeing a therapist but want to avoid offices, or if they’ve closed for a while, see if you can have a phone appointment. Alternatively, consider checking out online options to chat with a licensed psychologist or therapist. 

Feeling trapped? The small space of a home, when you’re used to being out-and-about, can begin to feel very stifling. To combat this, open your blinds for natural light, stick to a normal sleep schedule so you’re seeing plenty of daylight, and if you can, get some fresh air every day, even if it’s just by opening a window and sitting beside it with a cup of tea.

If you’re longing for social interaction, schedule a time to meet with friends online to see some friendly faces. Chances are, they’re longing to see you as well. Arrange to have an online game night with family and friends, and again, get creative! Just because you didn’t do these things before doesn’t mean you can’t start now. 

If you find yourself suddenly staying at home or working remotely, it doesn’t mean you need to let yourself go, or sacrifice your mental or physical health. Remind yourself that this too will pass, and when it does, you’re going to want to be the healthy person you envision yourself to be.

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