Hey friends! Happy Monday! We are without a doubt going through a very odd time dealing with the COVID-19 virus. Whether you are an essential worker still physically going into work, or you’re hunkered down at home, each day can bring new feelings of stress, grief and confusion.
I went into self-quarantine thinking that this was going to be short-term… but now that I’ve been sitting inside of my house for a month and the virus has not even reached its peak in Charlotte, the reality has started to sink in that we may have some more time dealing with this. I’m still meeting with clients and the feedback I’m getting is that this has been harder to deal with for some than others.
I put together a list of tips if you’re struggling to figure out how to best care for yourself right now. I hope this is helpful to you as we all try to get through this together!
Develop a Routine
One of the best ways we can move forward right now is by developing some sort of routine to help each day feel a little more normal. Simple things like setting an alarm in the morning and having a bedtime can give your day a little bit of much-needed structure. Keeping your normal shower and meal routines can build on to this.
If you’re working at home then think about creating some work/life boundaries. What times will you start and stop work each day? How can you make sure you’re getting important work done while still honoring your mental health during this time? Set some expectations for yourself about what is realistic for you right now given your individual situation.
Just a reminder that routines do not have to be rigid… you can certainly give yourself loose structure that allows for flexibility during an uncertain time like this. I personally have been heading to bed around 10pm and trying to wake up between 6:30am-7am. I make it a goal to be sitting at my desk by 8am each morning. Just having this goal in my mind helps me get up and moving each morning. Every day I also try to work in (1) doing some sort of cleaning around the house and (2) spending some time outside. Each and everyone one of those things doesn’t happen every single day but just setting the intentions has been helpful.
Move your Body
Body movement can be the perfect thing to lift your spirits and change energy levels. Whether it’s a deep stretch while you’re watching TV or taking a walk outside, moving your body decrease the stress you’re feeling and improve your mood. So many influencers and workout companies are offering resources for free or at little cost during this time, so there are lots of opportunities to try new things.
I’ve personally found it helpful to go outside on walks on most days. Just being outside in the fresh air and getting my heart rate up a little bit has made me feel like a new person. I notice how much more down I feel on days were I don’t do this.
One of my clients said something to me during our visits that has really stuck with me over the past few weeks. She told me that she feels like she has nothing to look forward to now – no get together with friends, no trips, no date nights. I can certainly relate to this feeling, and am just holding on to knowing that this is temporary.
In the meantime, I’m currently feeling so lucky for all of the technology we have to stay as connected as we can to each other right now. So far we’ve done zoom calls with many of our friends and family members. We even did easter zoom calls yesterday with both sides of our families. I have heard that Google Hangouts and Facebook video messaging have also been great. They may not be quite the same as physically being with someone, but seeing peoples’ faces has been a nice change.
Be Mindful of News and Social Media Consumption
We all want to know what’s going on right now so tuning into your favorite news station may be the norm for you. We had new on in the background for the first few days of this, so we were hearing updates on everything 24/7. Just think about how much time you’re spending consuming news and social media and whether this is helpful for your mental and emotional health. There was a recent report that time on social media was directly correlated with more stress and worry during this time – I can definitely believe that! Seeing friends arguing over politics makes me feel upset. I personally check the local news in the morning and watch national news for about 30 minutes in the evening now, and this has been the perfect boundary for me.
Eat Balanced Meals
Would I be a dietitian without talking about the importance of eating balanced meals? :)
When we’re all out of sorts when it comes to normalcy and routines, our eating habits tend to also suffer, too. Making sure you’re starting the day with a breakfast that contains fiber-rich carbohydrates, protein and fat will ensure that you’re giving your body sustainable energy throughout the day.
Groceries are pretty uncertain where we are. If it’s the same for you, just try to roll with it and do the best you can. Remember that packaged, canned and frozen foods are completely okay and can still nourish your body.
Many of the clients I’ve met with since we’ve been in quarantine have noticed a correlation between their mood and snacking – the more anxious they are, the more they mindlessly eat throughout the day. Eating out of emotions in a time like this is completely normal. There are so many things outside of our control and food can be incredibly comforting! Don’t feel bad about it. HOWEVER, I would encourage you to allow yourself to feel the emotions you’re feeling and evaluate whether food and snacking is helping you in that moment. Bubble baths, coloring, reading and spending time working in the yard have all been coping mechanisms I’ve used over the past few weeks to decrease stress.
Give Yourself Flexibility and Grace
These are unprecedented times. The best thing you can do right now is to give yourself flexibility and grace with each passing day. Whether it’s a botched grocery order or a day where you just end up sitting in your PJs, you’re doing the best you can. Hang in there.
Don’t forget that there’s virtual support for you if you need it. I’m still offering 1-1 nutrition coaching services in the form of Telehealth. Some of the topics that clients and I have worked on during this virus include how to create meals with limited groceries, trying new recipes, processing emotions without using food as the only coping mechanism, and we’ve worked on other wellness habits like sleep and body movement. Schedule a free phone consultation here if you’re interested in working with me!
Sending you positive thoughts,