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Restore Your Routine
During the pandemic, emotions are high, routines are off, and many people are spending most of their time at home. All of which can increase the risk of falling into unhealthy habits. To help protect your overall well-being especially physical and mental health, find a daily routine that you can stick to. Situations may change intensely and present real challenges, but the behavioral targets for health remain the same.
- Protect Your Sleep
Once other routines in your day change, it is easy to let sleep patterns change. Sticking to the same sleep schedule each day and getting enough sleep each night is vital. For it to be possible set an alarm for wake time and bedtime. Limit screen time at night, and for at least 30 minutes before you get into bed let your devices far from you.
- Be Thoughtful About Nutrition
Establish a schedule for eating that includes three meals and up to two snacks. Have a plan for what and when you will eat each day. During a crisis, it may be challenging to stock up with ideal foods and you may be limited by what is currently available in the local market. Do your best to have a home food environment that will set you up for success. Keep highly processed, tempting foods out of sight and out of the house if you’re able to find healthier choices.
- Keep Moving
If you are stuck at home, the chances of inactive behavior go up. At a set time each day, try taking a brisk walk outside, walking your stairs at home, or dancing in your living room. Remember, movement can take any form. Set reminders to get up and move around every couple of hours. You can even engage in cardio and strength training at home without any equipment.
- Be Intentional About Stress Relief
Purposefully take time to socially connect, engage in a hobby, play a game, and make others laugh, take a hot shower, listen to music, read a book, practice a relaxation exercise, engage in faith activities, or take a walk outside. The need for stress-relieving activities is even greater in times of uncertainty.
- Promote A Feeling Of Productivity And Gratitude
Spend time on activities that help you feel a sense of accomplishment. You could keep up with the laundry and daily chores, reorganize a drawer or closet, or take care of household or online tasks you’ve been putting off. Try to recognize aspects of life that you appreciate or make you feel grateful for every day. This can help keep you from focusing too much on negative things that are happening.
- Watch out for stress eating.
- Limit your exposure to the potentially constant stream of bad news. Consider checking in on what is going on at designated times in the morning and the evening.
- Put limits on behaviors that you know can be unproductive or harmful. Think about putting limits on activities like drinking alcohol.
- Keep your appointments if you are able, but see if you can do them virtually. Many therapists and physicians are now offering appointments virtually.
- If you are having trouble managing your anxiety or mood, consider starting or re-engaging in therapy. Therapists are now able to offer telephone and video counseling.