I think I speak for the majority when I say that 2020 has been one big ol’ rollercoaster ride. From earthquakes in Puerto Rico, to the bushfire crisis in Australia, to the step back of Prince Harry and Meghan, then Kobe’s airplane crash and death, to the almost impeachment of President Trump, to today’s pandemic, the Coronavirus (COVID-19).. Needless to say this year has been a rocky one, but life goes on and we must adapt. Life as we know it is rapidly changing, just last month we were out and about, traveling, watching sports, socializing and then BOOM COVID-19 swept the nation and thousands have been knocked down from this unexpected turn. Now we’re left uncertain and forced into quarantine, bored and unmotivated. However, now more than ever, it’s crucial for us to not fall into a pit of despair, but Instead we need to rise up and actively take a stand for our health and the health of others. Yes, it’s easy to give in and fall into an unhealthy pattern of netflix series, stress eating, and binge drinking, because hey what else is there to do?  Yet this is the best path to follow…absolutely not. Instead I have listed the Top 5 ways to stay healthy during quarantine that will not only help you reduce those feelings of anxiousness, and or laziness, but also boost your spirits and ensure a healthy outcome. For this too shall pass.

1. Sleep 

  In short, the problem most individuals experience is either;

  1. Lack of sleep  
  2. Too much sleep
  3. Insomnia
  4.  Excessive fatigue 

Although these sleep patterns vary based on several factors, it is crucial for individuals to try and keep a consistent sleep pattern, especially for health. “The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep for people over age 64 and seven to nine hours for ages 18 to 64. Kids need more sleep.” If you can try not to disrupt this recommended sleep cycle with unhealthy lifestyle patterns such as; binge drinking, binge eating sweets. binge watching tv or binge sleeping. Especially if you’re doing so because of stress. 

2. Reduce Your Stress

 I get it being quarantined can be stressful, maybe you have temporarily lost your job, have loved ones sick, maybe you’re scared to get sick or actively fighting on the Coronavirus front line? All these scenarios can easily spike anxiety and stress, heck just the thought of COVID-19 can sometimes be overwhelming. However you must not let these emotions take control. Stress is a killer in itself!  So If you are feeling stressed or anxious, or just down in the dumps try to engage in stress reducing methods such as; yoga or meditation. These are especially useful if you’re having difficulty maintaining a consistent sleep pattern. In short, meditation  is a simple technique that takes only about 10 minutes a day, more if you wish, there are many ways in which you can practice but the ultimate goal is to find a peaceful place and ease the mind and allow yourself to let go of that which you can not control. Easier said than done but ultimately this can help you control stress, ease anxiety and fear and help you achieve a better capacity for relaxation.  Yoga, itself incorporates meditation, breathing techniques, and low impact physical activity. Now if you’re new to Yoga there are hundreds if not thousands of how-to videos out there. I suggest researching local businesses and seeing if they offer online or sessions via phone , not only does this allow you to support these individuals during quarantine, if you enjoy the sessions (which i’m sure you will) you can then visit the physical location in the future. 

3. Exercise

Now I understand gyms and fitness centers are closed, however this does not mean exercise is cancelled. Instead it’s a perfect time to be creative. If you can get out and walk, run, jog or bike. However if you’re in an area that makes it difficult to be outside and maintain social distancing, then I highly suggest researching in-home workouts. Not only is exercise important for your health, it’s crucial for mental health. According to the American Heart Association individual ( unless told otherwise by physician) should ; 

    1. “Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week.” 
    2. “Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least 2 days per week.” 

Some Examples are listed on the AHA website, but remember to choose ones that correspond with social distancing. As well remember to STRETCH 

    1. “As a general rule, stretch whenever you exercise. If you don’t exercise regularly, you may want to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. If you have a problem area, such as tightness in the back of your leg, you may want to stretch every day or even twice a dayhttp://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/move/flexibility-better-health

For more information on the AHA visit https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults

4. Eat A Healthy Diet 

Just because you’re homebound and bored,  don’t fall into the pit of a bad diet. This can lead to numerous issues, including sleep interruption, weight gain, and a decrease in overall health. Instead maintain a healthy diet. Your home, why not try some new recipes, hearty recipes. Try not to binge on sugary or salty snacks, especially alcohol. Instead focus on immune boosting foods. Such as proteins, foods rich in fiber, omega- 3 fatty acids and  fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in antioxidants and vitamin C . I suggest you do your research, and create a menu based on your dietary needs, then meal prep. 

5. Read/Write/Draw/Create

I can’t stress this enough but seriously try to LIMIT “SCREEN TIME”, especially regarding the media. With dozens of streaming sites, social media outlets and continuous content being poured into all of our devices it’s easy to stir emotions or laziness, anxiousness or boredom. Sure  “ netflix and chill” sounds fun, the first week of quarantine but is this a healthy lifestyle? Absolutely not! These habits can lead to overeating, excessive worrying, obsessive thought patterns, sleep interruption and even tension. Why, because your brain needs time to relax too. Instead, read a book, write songs or poems or even blogs, draw or create something. These brain exercises help to boost brain functions, as well as increase  creativity levels, decrease stress and overall assist in maintaining a healthy mental state. 

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