The Ultimate Guide To Self-Care During The Pandemic
If there is one thing that has become clear during the covid-19 pandemic, it's just how important our health is. Most of us could make some significant improvements to our health, and doing so could not only help us to survive and thrive during the pandemic, but far beyond that too. If you are wondering how you can ensure you are properly taking care of yourself at this time, you might want to take a look at the following. In this guide, we are going to show you how to care for yourself during covid, so that you can be as healthy as possible.
Balance Mental & Physical Health
Later in this guide, we are going to go through a number of ways in which you can hope to look after your physical health and your mental health, but first just a quick point to say that you should always be on the lookout for ways to balance your physical and mental health. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that taking care of the one takes care of the other, so make sure that you are trying to do this at all times for yourself.
Fuel The Body
One of the most important health concerns at all times is to ensure that you are fueling the body properly. No matter what you might be hoping to do, how active or not you are being, you are always going to need to keep the body fueled in the right way. That means primarily that you need to have a good sense of what to eat, and learning about nutrition online could be a powerful way to help you here. You should also bear in mind that the most important fuel of all is water, which you should be drinking plenty of at all times, but especially right now.
Sleep is one of the most essential aspects to human health at all, and yet so many of us fail to get enough of it. Not only is it vital for your overall health, it even helps to boost learning and much more. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, you might want to look into some of the common factors that can often cause this issue. For many people, it is related to what they are putting into their body during the day. If you are drinking coffee, that is going to affect your ability to sleep up to twelve hours after drinking it, so that's something to bear in mind.
At the same time, alcohol consumption also makes your sleep worse. Not only does it make you more likely to wake up during the night multiple times, it also affects your heart health in a way which makes it harder to relax. So you should absolutely think about cutting down on alcohol as much as you can.
You might be able to get off to sleep more if you are looking after your mental health too – for instance, having a lot of anxiety will absolutely make your sleep worse and cause insomnia in many cases. Then once you have started sleeping better, you will also find that your mental health continues to improve, so it really is a virtuous cycle that you should try to encourage in your life.
Finally, to really get to sleep much more easily and deeply, you should consider having a strong bedtime routine that you follow every night. That has a way of getting the mind ready to wind down, and allowing the body a chance to relax before bed. With enough sleep, every other aspect of your health will also be improved, so this is a hugely important thing to think about.
You should always aim to get plenty of exercise, and that should be no different at the moment just because of the pandemic. Of course, there might be some significant challenges when it comes to trying to stay active when you are self-isolating, or if your movements are generally limited. But no matter what situation you might be in, it's important to remember that it is always possible – and necessary – to get your daily exercise.
If you fail to exercise every day, your body is going to become stiff and harder and harder to use as you age. Doing cardiovascular exercise improves your heart health, reducing the likelihood of developing heart disease and stroke, and also helps you sleep better at night, which we have seen is very important in its own right. Muscle training boosts fat loss, improves your core strength and helps you to be more flexible, and also provides a much-needed confidence booster for many people. Exercise of any kind can even cure depression.
Around forty minutes of exercise a day, where you are getting your heart rate up, followed by a period of rest, should allow you to be much healthier during this pandemic.
Practice Deep Breathing
There are many fantastic advantages to deep breathing, not least the fact that it is such a powerful stress-buster. On top of that, practicing good deep breathing every day will also encourage your brain to be more youthful in terms of how it functions and how quickly you can think, and will improve your ability to focus on everyday tasks, studies show. So how can you make sure that you are practicing deep breathing every day?
A good place to start is in the morning, and at night. When you first wake up, try taking a few deep breaths in and out, before you do anything else or get out of bed. When you do these breaths, really do make sure that you are breathing deep straight into the diaphragm, as that is the kind of breathing you want to try and promote. High, shallow breathing in the chest can increase feelings of anxiety, so if you are feeling anxious about covid in general this deep breathing should be a big help.
If you are looking for a more regimented way to try and incorporate deep breathing into your life, consider taking up meditation. A simple meditation routine of spending ten or twenty minutes a day focusing on the breath with the eyes closed can work wonders for your overall physical and mental health: it reduces stress and cortisol levels, helps control anxiety, promotes emotional health and stimulates cognitive intelligence, reduces your heart rate, makes you more compassionate and caring, builds your patience, enhances your self-awareness, lengthens your attention span, reduces age-related memory loss, increases the brain's ability for neuroplasticity, and might make you a better lover.
At first, it might be challenging to take up this practice, but it's like anything else: the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Ask For Help
Not everything that you should be doing at this time to look after yourself is related to keeping your body healthy. You should also make this a good time to practice basic mental health practices, including looking after how you think about yourself and treat yourself and how you relate to other people. And one of the most important things you can do here is to make sure you are asking people for help when you need it.
There might be many occasions during the pandemic when you need help. You could be self-isolating and in need of some groceries to be delivered. You might actually have the virus itself, and you need someone to help get your medication. Whatever it is, asking for help shows the world that you feel you deserve it, and it is one of the most important practices you can do for your mental health.
Cope With Isolation
If left unchecked, social isolation can actually be incredibly damaging to your health. We are social creatures, and not spending enough time in the company of others can be a real concern for all of us, mentally and physically. If you are having particular trouble with this aspect of lockdown, you should make sure that you are finding ways to cope with it. This can include simple things like making sure you are showering and brushing your hair every day. It can also mean meeting up with people online via video conferencing.
If you are still at least talking to people, you are going to find that your overall self-care is much higher, so it's important not to overlook this. Some people think that they are natural hermits, only to discover that they actually need people more than they realised. If that sounds like you, perhaps the pandemic is a good opportunity to discover just what it is that you need from people, and start to confidently get it.
If you can focus on all these things, you are going to be looking after yourself so much more successfully. That will increase and improve your general wellbeing, and you should find that the pandemic becomes a lot more bearable for you, and a lot easier to deal with in general.