*Let me say right off the bat I am not a medical doctor. This article offers my opinion on general healthy practices, not for those who have contracted the Covid-19 virus. If you recognize symptoms of Covid-19 please contact a medical professional.
There is a quote that has stuck with me lately from Epictetus, “No matter what happens, it is within my power to turn it to my advantage.” I think this is particularly poignant given the strong possibility that many people around the world are now looking at extended shelter in place mandates.
I find myself frustrated some days I can’t do my normal grocery shopping or see my friends and family face to face. I’ve played out mental apocalyptic scenarios before but generally I was wielding a baseball bat against a horde of zombies, not sitting on the couch all day feeling foggy.
So I developed some daily practices to keep my sanity intact. Most of the time I remember these things, but like any normal human being, sometimes I get out of the habit and need to find my rhythm again. Feel free to develop your own and use mine as a template:
1) Figure out a morning routine. Right now, because I was furloughed, I don’t have a full work day most days so the temptation to sleep in and blow through seasons of The Sopranos is high. So here’s what I do:
2-Min Cold Shower – Wakes me up, may be anti-inflammatory.
10-20 Min Meditation – Gives me clarity, especially when feeling listless.
Gratitude Practice – I think of 3 unique things to be grateful for in the present moment. Research suggests that practicing gratitude regularly can improve mental health.
2) Exercise. My home routine is strength training once every 3-4 days (one set per exercise to absolute failure) using my own body weight and resistance bands. On non-strength training days I do as many burpees as I can in 5 minutes. I also take one day per week completely off from exercise.
3) Sleep. A good night’s sleep is cliche at this point. REM sleep is where growth hormone gets released. A full night’s sleep helps reset our ghrelin and leptin levels, the hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, respectively.
4) Healthy Food and Hydration. Aim for a nutrient-rich diet and try to minimize fruit sugar, soda, and desserts. Men shoot for 1g of protein per lb. of body weight, women 0.7g/lb. Protein helps build and maintain muscle, which in turn makes us feel strong and energetic. Water intake is simple: drink to thirst. In other words, if your body tells you it’s thirsty, take a drink and don’t worry about hitting a certain number of ounces per day.
5) Connection. Especially if you’re quarantined alone during this time you may feel very isolated. Humans have an innate need for connection and now, in the “Zoom era,” many people have a little extra time to catch up with friends and family. Try initiating a text/call/virtual chat; almost everyone will be grateful to know you care and are thinking about them. Check out the Johann Hari TED Talk below for a fresh take on connection.
These 5 practices are some of the best things you can do for your body and mind short of administering a vaccine or developing antibodies for Covid-19. Do they guarantee you will not contract the virus? No. I can’t promise that and neither can any of the hucksters promoting detox, immuity boosters, etc.
But the Covid-19 pandemic will eventually blow over. I posit that if you take this quarantine time and re-frame it as an opportunity to develop and maintain some new habits, you may just come out on the other side with resilience that will improve almost every area of your life.
By: Jesse Schmidt
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