Aristotle said it best when he said that humans by nature are social animals. Granted - in varying degrees owing to either our extraverted or introverted personalities, nonetheless we all subscribe to community and society!
It is important to keep society alive, which is why our last blog “Keeping Community Alive'' (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/coronavirus-anxiety.htm) covered a vital aspect of keeping the community going.
What more can we do to make sure we are performing at optimal status, now that gym regimes are slack, diets and nutrition are lax, and stress and anxiety levels are high?
Let’s look at 3 vital areas which we now need to improvise to fit the new norm!
Looking After Yourself Physically:
This may seem pretty basic, but we often neglect the fact when so many new factors start invading the home space; for instance, WFH and teaching kids, both aspects that eat into our time – which we need to reorient with and work into our basic routines now!
Sleep – yes we are in lockdown, and we believe we have plenty of time to sleep, but many of us have let our routine slide and our sleep cycle is now so erratic some of us are not getting adequate uninterrupted sleep! Remember, this is the first step to staying on routine. (Here is an app I like to use to track my sleep...https://www.sleepcycle.com/)
Exercise – not as easy to get enough of but requires vigilant commitment from our end! If we cannot get out even to walk the dog, it might be worthwhile investing in an app, joining an online class, and even getting the whole household involved. Get into it - stick to it and keep a set time going! (MerriLyn recommends: https://active.popsugar.com/)
Hydration - Make sure that you are mindful of your fluid intake: for the forgetful bunch of us, there are apps for this, and water seems to be the cure for all ills, as well as the number one beauty aid! So, keep hydrated! (Pick what works for you… https://techigem.com/water-reminder-apps/)
Meal planning – Let us be honest, during social distancing, how many of our boredom tips lead us to the fridge? (Alas, as someone who has tried and failed at social distancing from my fridge…) Many of us eat to beat boredom, lapse into irregular mealtimes, and are not careful with our intake ensuring that it is a balanced meal. Use the spare time on hand to research and plan out meal prep, making sure you have the right nutritional balance, in the right quantities, and plan right down to your snacks! (A good place to start: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/category/meal-plan/)
Sunlight – Now, the amount of light we have access to could be limited during this time, and this is really sad because sunlight is said to raise the amount of serotonin, which is a hormone associated with boosting your mood and helping you feel calm and focused! So do try and maximize your sun time – even if it is sitting by a window - you need the extra vitamin D too! (A quick video to explain why… https://time.com/collection/guide-to-happiness/4888327/why-sunlight-is-so-good-for-you/)
Managing Media Intake:
While connecting via social media is great, we must maintain caution in what we let into our heads – so to speak!
Negativity – make sure you are not exposing yourself to too much negativity. While being in the know is important, it's important not to let yourself wallow, or become antsy by the news you hear. Make sure to interlace your media exposure with lighthearted uplifting content as well. (Why you should watch out! https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/coronavirus-anxiety.htm)
Eye health – A little too much time indoors and excessive computer, reading, and time on handheld devices, can cause myopia! It is recommended that screen breaks are taken and that you go over to a window and focus on something in the far horizon for 10 to 15 minutes. (Work on sunlight time too!! https://www.centralvisionopticians.co.uk/how-covid-19-could-make-the-world-more-short-sighted-warning/)
Blue light – too much blue light, especially at night is bad for you…it actually has an adverse effect on your body clock; blue light from phones or TV right before bedtime makes it harder for you to sleep. Blue light stimulates your body, so be mindful about that ‘last catch up’ before bed: you may want to swap this out with a book instead! (Don’t believe me? Here is the proof...https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side)
This is probably the best way to make sure that you fit all the above essential steps into your day! Yes, we would go as far to suggest time blocking and time management tools, to make sure you do not overcompensate on one activity and totally neglect the others.
Here is a blog we have written on some of the tools we recommend for scheduling your day: The art if time blocking and making it work for you - (https://www.assistants4hire.net/post/the-art-of-time-blocking-and-making-it-work-for-you)
Make a Daily routine - Tackle the parts of your day time block to optimise and build in the above facets so you know you are building in Self-Time without too much effort.
Make a Weekly routine - Make sure you schedule in your community activities (Virtual, of course) during these times: a zoom dinner, a hang out with friends… these all matter!!
Schedule in time for self learning and self improvement: whether it’s a voice training class, or a self improvement class in time management, or something you do for improving your business like a LinkedIn overhaul, do something that exposes you to new realms in terms of knowledge!
While being productive does need work, it does not always equate to work – sometimes you need to schedule in some play, just so you can stay healthy and be productive!
Maintaining routine, physical health, and mental health is a keen focus for many these days as many have predicted a secondary Pandemic in relation anxiety brought on by handling the Covid Pandemic! So, keep on track and get plenty of sunlight! - Along with washing your hands and not touching your face 😊
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Written by Tatum De Souza