These are surely difficult times. Social distancing and quarantine come with obvious drawbacks.
This is an important time to attend to your health. If you become sick, your best medicine will be having a reserve of health on your side ahead of time. I have some suggestions going forward.
First, as a group, we can limit the spread by respecting the recommendations from the city, state, and federal governments. By all means, continue to do so.
As an individual, you can prepare yourself for what may come.
A. Be calm
1. It will feel better. How to? Take some deep, slow breaths through that fancy nose. 1, 2, 10 breaths? You pick. Another great way to get a handle on an anxious mind is to write out your thoughts. Don’t know what to write? Ask yourself what you could write, then answer your question. Writing is simply slow and deliberate thinking.
2. Pray or meditate (choose your flavor).
3. Spend time with the people you care about. You may have to suffice with a phone call or a video chat. This may be the best medicine.
4. Anxiety is not just in the mind. Your mind and body are connected. The situation in your mind spills into your body. Your stress hormones will increase. You can become more healthy, even improve your abs by taking note of your thoughts and calming the mind.
5. If you are home from work, use the time to pursue a hobby or education. Read a book. Use the internet to educate yourself. Try a new language. Be creative. Don’t be bored.
B. Prioritize sleep
1. Sleep is an amazing miracle. There is nothing that can improve your life and health like high quality sleep. Practice a consistent wake time. This sets the rhythm for the rest of your day.
2. Get outside and see the sun. This sets the circadian rhythm or daily clock in our bodies. Regular time spent outside, seeing the sun is a powerful tool to improve sleep. Try a 10 minute walk after each meal.
3. See if you can get an extra hour of sleep. Depending on your work or school changes, this may be the perfect opportunity to boost that habit.
4. 8 or more hours of sleep (time in bed) is great. Less than 7 hours, and you will not be at your best.
Your immune system is active while you sleep. Sleep is important.
C. Eat well
1. This is a great time to clean up your diet. A poor diet is never your ally, especially now. Use this period of time as motivation to improve your eating habits.
2. Practice eating all your food in a 12 hour or smaller window. That means if you eat your first bite of food at 8am, try to finish eating by 8pm. If you can tolerate a 10 hour or 8 hour window, even better. All systems of the body benefit from this. Check out the book “The Circadian Code” for more info.
3. Avoid beverages with added sugar. If you currently drink beverages with added sugar, this will be the area of your diet that you can make the quickest and most meaningful progress.
4. Animal products and fruits and vegetables are very nutrient dense. I call egg yolks nature’s multivitamin. All types of meat and fish are nutritious. Liver is a great source of many vital nutrients. Try dicing liver and adding it to a pot of chili or stew.
5. Avoid more processed foods. I know this is a vague term, but it is a good general idea.
D. Stay active
1. Phil Kniep had the suggestion of maintaining a normal schedule. This will help to normalize your life. It will also help you find the time to get some exercise. Any kind of activity is useful; what matters is that you actually do something.
2. At Lincoln Nutrition & Fitness: Home of CrossFit Lincoln we have the Zoom virtual classes. These are a great way to check the activity box. An added benefit is the virtual interaction with others. Community is important for health. This may also help to keep your schedule regulated if you choose one of the scheduled classes (5:30am, noon, 4:30pm, 6pm). In addition, the 5:30am class will daily be recorded and posted to the CFL Member’s Facebook page so that you can access it when your time allows.
3. Get yourself outside! Go for a walk, run, plant a garden, do anything. This lets you see the sun which helps set your internal circadian clock which in turn greatly improves your sleep. Some daily sun also helps your body make vitamin D, a worthy ally for your immune system and general health. Simple daily walking (even 10 minutes) can have a noticeable impact on how your body and mind feel.
4. Recruit a friend or family member to do some activity with you. You need it and they need it. Just be wise as you include others in your activity.
5. COVID-19 attacks the lungs. Those with cardiovascular issues seem not to fare well. This is a great time to bump up your cardiovascular health.
Email me at [email protected] if you have questions or need any kind of help.