Over and over again we’re hearing that staying home is the best way to keep people safe from COVID-19. While it is true that social distancing and self-quarantine decrease your chances of getting sick from coronavirus, staying home can potentially lead to other health issues… both physical and mental.
Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to stay healthy while being cooped up.
Get regular sleep
With schools and most businesses closed, it’s tempting to just sleep whenever we feel like it But, research tells us that keeping a regular sleep schedule is vital to good health. A recent study in Scientific Reports found that the more irregular these sleep patterns, the higher the risk for obesity, hypertension, and elevated blood sugar, and even heart disease.
Maintain some degree of normalcy
There’s no way around it…. Staying home 24 hours a day is not a normal way for most of us to live. Keeping some kind of routine can help boost your mental health. Setting regular work and meal hours is a good way to provide some structure.
As long as your area allows it and you are keeping a good distance between other people, getting outside for walks or runs will help keep both your body and mind healthy. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research showed that spending just 20 minutes in a park, even if you don’t exercise while you’re there, is enough to improve well-being.
If you can’t go outdoors, there are plenty of indoor things you can do to stay active. Yoga, dancing, and jump roping are all things you can do in even the smallest indoor spaces. If you’re finding trouble staying motivated, check out an exercise video or even set up an online group exercise meetup.
The temptation to binge on comfort food is very strong right now. And it is OK to allow yourself some indulgences. But, with no clear end in sight to this crisis, it’s important to make overall healthy food choices. Since it’s recommended that we limit our grocery shopping trips, it’s a good time to buy more frozen fruit and vegetables. Smoothies are a great way to give your body the vitamins it needs and still feeling like you’re having a treat.
Isolation can be very difficult on your mental health. Fortunately, there has never been an easier time in history to stay connected remotely. Texting and social media are both good ways to stay in touch…. But don’t discount the power of hearing someone’s voice. Now is the perfect time to start making regular phone calls to your loved ones, especially if they live alone.
Keep your indoor air clean
The EPA has found that indoor air often has a concentration of two to five times more pollutants than outdoor air. Radon, pesticides, dust, smoke, and various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) all present health hazards, especially when we’re spending so much time indoors. Because coronavirus primarily affects the lungs, it is extra important right now to keep the air in your home clean of pollutants. A high-quality air purifier can do just that.