The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the clear value of living a healthy lifestyle. If you weren’t looking to reduce stress and increase your immunity before, you most likely are at least thinking about it now. Living healthy can actually support your immune system to possibly fend off a viral attack in the future. Given the choice, who wouldn’t want to live a healthy, vital life?
Okay, sure, when things look bleak, sometimes the rebel within us just wants to say, “To h*ck with it!” (Or a few other choice words.) But deep down inside, you know your own health is important and the journey toward living your best life is still meaningful. With that in mind, here are some ways you can live your healthiest life, even in a pandemic.
10 Tips for Living your Healthiest Pandemic Life
1. Center yourself.
Centering is an excellent place to begin living your healthiest pandemic life. Rather than looking for the answers “out there,” take a moment to heed your intuitive wisdom. When you feel stressed, you always have the power to take a pause or at least take a deep breath. Even 60 seconds of calming practice can do wonders. Respect the pause.
2. Find a way to process emotions.
Okay, so you’re centered and calm. While a brief pause likely helps your emotional state a great deal, don’t stop there. We’re bombarded with so much news and so many images each day. We likely encounter many alarming micro moments, too. So we need to carve out space specifically for quiet reflection and internal processing.
Examples of creating space for some frequent emotional processing might include journaling, meditation, sketching, or coloring. If you need help beginning these practices, try writing or drawing with specific prompts for reflection. Listen to a guided meditation if sitting alone is tough. And check out our fun Almeda coloring pages! There are lots of ways to aid your mind to get quiet so you can listen more carefully to your body--where emotions are processed and stored. Pick one to start.
3. Help someone else.
Once you’ve centered yourself and processed your emotions, you’ll likely feel more ready to focus outward. You can give your time, talent, treasure, or all three! Emerging social psychology research demonstrates that much happiness comes from giving and contributing to the well-being of others. So look for some small ways to contribute.
The simplest and easiest gift has traditionally been a smile. Unfortunately, it’s a little harder to share this gift when wearing a face mask. Instead, make eye contact and smile with your eyes. Wink. Laugh. Say hello. We’ve got to find new ways to communicate and connect in the socially distanced environment in which we now live.
Even if you’ve lost some resources, you can offer a helping hand where you see it is needed in others. Giving in this way is incredibly empowering. It lifts everyone’s spirits.
Give gifts. Buy extras of your favorite products and send them to others. You can buy locally to boost the economy, or share something that brings you joy. If you don’t have a huge budget, remember that you can draw, sing, perform, or share your own unique talents with others.
4. Move creatively.
“Exercise” can feel like a tedious chore, we know. However, when you introduce a new way of moving, you may reconnect with your physical being in an important way. Some ideas of things you might try include: stretching more, taking a moment for a “5 minute flow,” holding a personal dance session, encouraging a backyard family game of catch or establishing a Wii night of gaming that keeps you hopping.
If you don’t want to try something new, perhaps “go back to basics.” Roll around on the floor like a toddler would. Find something you used to love to do, but have fallen out of habit doing. Find something minimal that you can say “yes!” to, and then do it. Don’t overthink it, just act.
And don’t forget that a simple outing -- a walk or hike with a friend can feed your soul as well as invigorate your body. It gives you both a boost, mentally and physically.
5. Cook something new.
Some people love to improvise in the kitchen, while others love to use specific techniques. Wherever you land on the spectrum, don’t let it stop you from trying something that reconnects you to your senses.
If you’re not a cook, maybe experiment with preparing one new food in a simple way.
Might we suggest some of our favorite recipes, as well?
6. Cultivate loving relationships. Keep reaching out, even if it is more challenging now. Call and send cards if you can’t visit in person. Spend a little extra time truly connecting. If you don’t know where to begin, google “questions for connection” or just spend time listening and reflecting what you are hearing. Everyone enjoys being heard.
7. Notice nature. Take inspiration from the natural world around you. Look at sunlight and shadows, trees and grassy strips. Hang out on trails and in parks. Look at the stars at night. Grow plants inside (especially helpful during winter months). Talk to your plants. Pet your pets. All of these actions bring us closer to nature and help put our troubles in perspective.
8. Rest and sleep when you can. It’s easy to either feel pressured to get better sleep or to feel you should be doing something other than resting. You are your own best guide in this. Sleeping well often relates to how we handle stress and relaxation during the day. Focus on what you can control, and the rest will follow.
10. Get professional help if you need it.
We’re not meant to struggle alone, and there’s only so much our friends and family members can do for us, compared to a trained professional. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional health care provider or therapist for a check-up. Many are doing virtual telehealth appointments, if not in-person sessions.
Signs that you’re facing more than a D.I.Y. issue:
- Experiencing rapid or obvious mood swings.
- Feeling down, sad or hopeless most of the time.
- Struggling to function in your daily life.
- Considering self-harm or suicide.
- Noticing excessive worry or anxiousness.
- Recalling Traumatic events (past or recent) frequently.
- Using substances (food, alcohol or drugs) to numb yourself.
- Finding your sleep and eating patterns are becoming disturbed.
- Feeling angry and temperamental.
- Feeling paranoid or having irrational fears.
- Withdrawing from social interactions.
Obviously, that last one is affecting us all. That’s why it is more important than ever to reach out. It’s okay to not be okay. There should be no stigma associated with seeking professional help. You don’t have to wait until a crisis to get the help you need, either. If something seems off, it’s always worth checking it out.
You can join us in living the healthy Almeda Lifestyle, even now.
We often talk about the importance of the Almeda lifestyle. The Pandemic doesn’t preclude you from striving for your healthiest life. In fact, it can fuel your desire for living vibrantly.