Staying Healthy as the US Begins to Reopen
- May 8, 2020
- 3 min read
Staying Healthy as the US Begins to Reopen
The world has changed. The COVID-19 crisis has affected the world on a scale most of us have never seen before. Businesses and schools are shut, people are confined to their homes, and anxieties are high. But we must remember that there is an end to this crisis. The US, and the rest of the world, will begin to reopen over the coming weeks and months. Although this isn't the end of it, it marks a victory. But staying healthy as the US begins to reopen is essential. We take a look at how you can do exactly that.
Why Is It Important To Take Care Of Yourself?
Self-care is important at any time in life, but especially so now. With the challenges that the world has presented us recently, taking responsibility for staying healthy has never been more essential. But what is it that's so important about taking care of yourself?
Many of us spend our days following whatever routine we've fallen into. Our physical and mental wellbeing may not even enter our minds. Yet it's something that can have huge consequences on our lives. There are two main self-care categories to think about:
The way we eat, exercise, sleep, and treat our bodies, in general, can have some significant impacts. By taking care of yourself physically, you lower the risk of an array of health problems.
A healthy diet and exercise can help prevent things like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, and other potentially fatal diseases. During the COVID-19 lockdown, they can also boost your energy levels, help your mental health, and help you be more productive.
Mental and physical health are closely tied together. Practicing one can often help you improve on the other. Conversely, things like stress can have a negative impact mentally and physically. So, in the coronavirus crisis, self-care becomes even more important.
Stress can leave you feeling tired, agitated, low on energy, and unproductive. It can also lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and anxiety. Taking care of your mental health is always important, but especially so in the current climate.
How COVID-19 Can Take Its Toll On You
The exact scale to which coronavirus impacts our lives won't be known for many years. The social, economic, and lifestyle changes could be far-reaching and long-lasting. This Reuters article explores some of the more general impacts of COVID-19 on health.
There is also a more immediate and individual side to how individuals are coping with the current situation. So what are some of the problems people have been facing during quarantine?
- Lack of social interaction. Many of us have struggled with loneliness as we shelter in place. Whether or not you live with others, the lack of outside social contact can leave us feeling isolated and alone.
- Anxiety. The threat of the virus to us and our loved ones can be distressing. Add to that the lack of connection and worries about money, and feelings of anxiety can soon arise.
- Lack of exercise. For some, stay at home orders mean that they're not getting enough exercise. With gyms and recreation centers closed, it can be hard to find places to get a workout.
These are just some of the problems people have encountered. However, each one can take its toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. They can mean you sleep worse, lose your appetite, and feel stressed.
Of course, the light at the end of the tunnel is that things will open back up soon. However, for many, there are other anxieties and worries that come with this prospect. Will we still have to socially distance? What about the risk of infection and a second wave? And will you have to wear a protective face mask?
Life after COVID-19 - Transitioning to a Partially Opened Country
At this stage, it's too early to tell exactly what an end to quarantine will look like. What's likely is that we'll see a phased approach as the country begins to open up. Many social distancing elements will likely still be in place, as we gradually return to some sort of normality.
When the country does start to reopen, we will all still need to adhere to many of the guidelines that have been outlined by the CDC over the recent months. So, even when businesses start to open up again, we'll need to take precautions.
It's highly likely that some form of social distancing will remain for some time. This means that you should avoid all physical contact with people who are sick and keep a distance between yourself and others.
It's important to remember that a person can have the coronavirus without showing symptoms. So, protective gear such as our respiratory masks might be useful when on public transport.
One of the key things to help the country reopen will be to follow the advice and regulations outlined by the government. Their decisions are based on the expert insight of scientists and can help us all stay as safe and healthy as possible.
Whether you're going exercising, to the store, or eventually back to work, there are things you can do to make it safer when you go outside. This includes things like:
- Following government advice
- Washing your hands often
- Adhering to social distancing measures
- Covering your mouth when around others
- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing
- Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces
Not only do these steps help you keep yourself and your family safe, but they can also reduce the spread of the virus in the community. We all have a responsibility to those around us.
Tips for Staying Healthy While At Home
So, in reality, even once the country is partially open, many of us will still have to spend an increased amount of time at home. Although it's maybe not the prospect that many of us want, it's necessary for the short-term and can help protect vulnerable people.
With this in mind, it's worth thinking about ways you and your household can keep happy and healthy. Even the smallest changes to your daily routine can have significant impacts on your overall mental and physical health.
Whether it's making changes to your diet, taking charge of your physical wellbeing, or looking after your mental health, there are plenty of tips out there for staying healthy. Below, we've outlined just a few of the ways you can make a difference.
Our diet plays a huge role in our overall health. Although it can be tempting to rely on whatever is convenient and comforting, diets based on these criteria often tend not to be the healthiest.
Thankfully, many grocery stores and supermarkets remain open. This gives you the opportunity to stock up on some healthy ingredients, as well as the indulgences that bring you comfort. Here are some areas to think about when it comes to diet:
Eating a balanced diet that's full of nutrient-rich food is always important. However, never more so than at the moment. The World Health Organization has a guide on the types of approaches you should have when it comes to food. They also have some examples of meals you can prepare and eat during this time.
Cook home-cooked meals wherever possible, using fresh ingredients. You should avoid eating too much salt, sugar, fat in your diet while making sure to have enough fiber. You should aim to get five portions of fruit and veg per day.
You can rely on things like canned and dried ingredients where possible. They have many of the same nutrients and mean you don't have to visit the store as often.
It's important to keep hydrated at a time like this. Taking on sufficient fluids can help you feel good and keep your body healthy. If you've recently been sick, fluids with electrolytes can help you replace those that you've lost.
You need around 6-8 drinks per day to keep hydrated. This will also help improve your mood, energy, and concentration. With things like caffeine and sugary drinks, try and keep them in moderation. For alcohol, try and limit your intake, as it can weaken the immune system.
Only a few countries have put a total ban on outdoor exercise, and many of those have already started to lift. Even in these strange times, it's possible to take care of your physical health. Here are some tips on how you can do exactly that:
Whether you exercise outdoors or at home, it's still possible to keep active. The HSS recommends that adults should do at least 150 - 300 minutes of moderate exercise per week. This works out at 2.5 - 5 hours' worth.
Although this may seem like a lot if you're just starting out, even some physical activity is better than none. Additionally, the more intense your exercise, the better. Adults should also do some muscle-strengthening exercise on at least two days per week.
There are many benefits of exercising regularly. As well as boosting your mood in general, it can help with things like weight loss and heart health. It's also good for your joints and bones and can increase your overall energy levels.
Getting Started With Exercise
So, what can you do to exercise during the COVID-19 lockdown? There are all kinds of activities that can get you active and moving, helping you stay fit and healthy. We've listed some out below:
- Bodyweight exercises. Things like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and lunges are a good place to start.
- Cardio. Walking, jogging, running, and cycling are all good cardio exercises. You can find all kinds of apps and programs to help you gradually improve your pace.
- Yoga and Pilates. These two activities are low-impact ways of staying healthy. They're also great for your mental wellbeing.
Sleep is something many of us take for granted until we fall into bad habits. A good night's sleep is essential for your physical and mental health. It means you have more energy and can concentrate for longer. According to the CDC, adults need at least 7 hours per night.
To make sure you get a good night's sleep, a routine is essential. You should have a regular bedtime and have good habits before sleep. Avoid looking at screens, don't drink caffeine or alcohol too late, and don't eat before you go to bed.
Meditation may not be something you're too familiar with. However, it's something that can benefit your physical, mental, and emotional health during these difficult times.
Meditating can help lower your stress levels, improve your focus, and feel more connected with your feelings. If you want to get started with meditation, the website Mindful has some excellent tips for beginners.
Our mental health can have a huge impact on our daily lives, often without us realizing it. During what is a stressful and anxiety-inducing time for many, it's important to take care of your mental health.
Along with eating well, exercising, and sleeping properly, there are a few other activities you can do to look after your mental wellbeing:
This is something that's linked very closely to meditation. Mindfulness is about paying attention to what you're feeling and being aware of how you feel at the moment. Doing so can reduce your stress levels and feel more present. The website Headspace is an excellent resource on the subject.
There are all kinds of breathing exercises you can do with mindfulness. Paying attention to your breath and clearing your mind for a few minutes each day can really help your mental health.
Although it's easy to feel lonely during the shelter in place measures, it's never been easier to stay connected with others. Popular video conferencing apps make it simple to keep in touch with your friends and family.
Try scheduling calls to chat, play games, watch movies, or other activities with the people closest to you. Remember, they might be struggling with loneliness themselves.
An Active Brain
Try not to sit and dwell on the current situation. Although times are tough, there's plenty you can do to keep your mind active. Trying escapism like reading a book or playing a game, or something more creative like writing or crafting can really help.
Of course, the usual brain-occupying activities can be helpful here too. Puzzles, chess, crosswords, and sudoku can all bring some relief.
Staying Healthy as the US Begins to Reopen
So, no matter how long it takes the US to fully reopen, there is plenty you can do to keep healthy and active. Taking care of your wellbeing and that of your family can bring many benefits, both during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Remember, if you are going out and about and want something to bring a bit of joy, our custom filtration masks can be just the thing to raise a smile while staying safe.