You may be surprised to know that in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, most of my patients have been ‘showing up’ (by phone) to discuss their health and how to improve it.
This, of course, is in the midst of social distancing and isolation, fears of getting the virus, losing jobs and paychecks, difficulties getting groceries and medications, working from home and home schooling children.
Why are they showing up?
A common theme I hear is that managing their health and weight are still important to them and they know they’re at risk of letting themselves go. They’ve also lost and regained weight in the past and they want to do things differently – during this current crisis.
I am committed to helping them and I’d like to help you also.
Here are my 4 tips from lessons learned these past few weeks that I hope will help you move forward in your health journey:
1 – Set in place a new routine
Planning, scheduling, and having a daily routine are important strategies to build health into our daily life. As the coronavirus pandemic has forced us indoors, we need to use the same principles and apply them to new circumstances. I encourage all of my patients and you also to immediately start building key routines back into your daily habits.
Examples include to maintain a normal sleep and waking up schedule, set aside time daily to use a meditation app, plan for daily meals and snacks, track your diet if you find it beneficial and be sure to get in fruits and vegetables (frozen may be more accessible than fresh). Enjoy planned snacks like a popcorn and almond mix or an apple and nut butter instead of mindlessly snacking throughout the day.
2 – Activity is a family affair
As we are all forced to huddle indoors, often in close quarters with our families, this is a time to explore new and creative ways of getting our bodies in motion. You can take daily walks outside, dance indoors or stream workouts from social media.
Patients have enjoyed workouts from Amazon Prime, Sworkit, Seven Minute Workout or even Peloton (no bike required).
My patients with children at home are being creative doing Wii exercise games with kids, setting up indoor miniature golf games or playing in the backyard.
If you have home equipment, weights or exercise bands, you can also do cardio and strength training.
All workouts are as important for your mind as well as your body.
3 – Self-care takes on new meaning
The need to maintain social (physical) distancing is paramount to keeping yourself, your loved ones, and community safe from the coronavirus.
These necessities are in addition to how I usually use the term ‘self-care’ which means taking care of your physical, mental and emotional health.
Although difficult to feel or measure, a very important benefit of self-care is building a strong immunity to defend against the virus.
4 – We’re in this together
No matter where you live, your financial status or job, we are all dependent on one another to do social (physical) distancing and help ‘flatten the curve’ of the coronavirus.
It’s heartwarming to support one another as we heed the warnings of first responders who show up for us and only ask that we stay home for them.
It’s a mindset – we all can do this!
Robert Kushner, MD