We are thinking of you all and hoping you are able to do a few things each day that ground you in health: physical, mental, nutritional, social…we may not hit each of these needs every single day, but focusing on one or two aspects will keep your body/mind healthier than it might otherwise be. Every day we get to hear about our patients’ coping strategies and how they are taking care of their health. I am so inspired by peoples’ strategies in their varying life situations; they’ve been able to find resolve and determination, in whatever capacity, to keep re-focusing on health. There are also many of us feeling very low motivation right now. But, even just talking about our struggles and re-setting some short-term goals are huge actions towards getting motivated and continuing a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to share some of the things our patients are doing, in hopes that we can keep inspiring one other and keep trying new things.
Physical health ideas: One 5-minute workout from Fitness Blender each morning; 3 sets of wall push-ups each day; going for 2 walks outside at 12pm and 5pm; dance party with the kids; 4 sets of stairs from basement to top floor; gentle yoga session from youtube; yoga with the kids; 3 minutes of chair exercises; 5 minute stretch in bed; etc. Create your own physical routine or pick a few physical routines for the week that you enjoy. Book these sessions into your day. Move your body in any way possible. Also, sleep! I know sleep is easier said than done for many of us, myself included. If sleep is an issue, try to focus on the things you think may be interrupting it. For example, screens (blue light), listening to negative news stories, worry, carbs before bed, alcohol at night, etc. Pick one thing to change tonight and see if it makes a difference. The next category, mental health, can be directly associated with sleep, so try a few of those strategies, too.
Mental health ideas: Download Headspace App and do daily meditation: some as short as 1 minute, up to however long you like, with a wide variety of topics; Calm App for daily meditation; pottery-making; knitting; musical instrument practice; coloring with the kids or alone; singing (one patient found an app for teaching singing/scales and other instruments); creative writing; painting; puzzle-making; de-cluttering (i.e. cleaning out one drawer a day, focus on one cabinet, go through old pictures) etc. Any activity that brings you into the present moment, whether it’s guided meditation, a creative activity, cleaning, or just being outside, is extremely important for mental health. Many people are also doing a daily journal, either in the form of: logging foods (the Ate app is a great visual journal if you are more visual), writing a few intentions, gratitude, activity, thoughts…journaling is a wonderful way to reflect and get perspective. Try writing down 2 things you’d like to do today that would make you feel good when you go to bed tonight.
Nutritional health examples: Use an eating window to keep intermittent fasting (i.e. eat within 8-10 hours during the day, and experiment with shifting the window back and forth); avoid bread/starch after 2pm; avoid bread/starch/sugar altogether (insulin resistance, mood, energy management); drink water and herbal tea regularly through the day; keep nutritionally-dense, healthy food options in the house to fall back on for yourself, even if others in household have other foods around; if a meal happened that was higher-carb or higher-sugar than intended, focus on making the very next meal low carb and nutritionally dense, or fast a little longer into the next day to re-set; do a fat fast once a week; avoid snacking between meals; have make-your-own omlettes for a low-carb dinner; if ordering take-out more than once a week, make one meal “fun” and flexible, but commit to any others being low-carb and nutritionally dense; from a nurse working 4-day shifts: prep 3 large meals on a day off (for example, chili, coconut curry chicken, and low carb casserole) that will carry leftovers into the next 4 days; etc. Having a plan for meals can be extremely helpful in feeling in control of food choices. There are endless possibilities to make small differences in your nutritional health. Focus on one or two every day that will feel good for your body.
Social health examples: Weekly meet-up with friends or family on video chat or conference call; Houseparty app to meet up with people to play games; call and check in with a different person each day; play an online game or trivia night with others; book the next “get-together” with a group before hanging up on your call or video chat. Find out what live musical events are happening online and tune into them (for example, one client is going to a Canadian music concert on facebook every Wednesday); find a show that does a weekly (or daily) performance and make that a priority to watch. Many comedians, singers and actors are doing live performances virtually, and they can be fun events to look forward to. It’s most important that we keep checking in with others during this time. Even a 5-minute conversation can change another person’s mood, not to mention your own.
We are inspired daily by our patients’ strategies, ideas, creativity and, more than anything, their commitment to ongoing health and wellness. We acknowledge each and everyone of you for doing what you can to stay healthy during this time, in whatever capacity. Be kind to yourselves, be flexible, and be forgiving. Each moment is new, and we can turn our perspectives around at any given moment.
No matter what, keep pushing forward and keep trying. Never, ever give up!