Globally, we have experienced a dramatic shift. Instead of being required to leave the house for business as usual we are being told to stay at home until further notice. This new-found stillness and seclusion can be overwhelming, but with more time at home we can actually turn it into productive energy. Being required to stay home provides a chance to connect inward and practice much-needed self-care, defined as an action that benefits your mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual health. Often used as a buzzword, self-care doesn’t always look like a manicure or buying new clothes; it can also take a form of “tough love” like self-discipline.
With worldwide uncertainty, staying healthy and level-headed is key to moving through the chaos. Luckily, multiple self-care practices not only enhance mindfulness but also boost the immune system. Exercises that strengthen mindfulness are meditation and yoga. To start meditation, set aside anywhere between 5-20 minutes and sit with yourself. As you sit, eyes closed and breathing deeply, observe your thoughts without judgment while counting your breaths. The purpose of this exercise is to bring you into the present moment and into your body. Yoga is often viewed as moving meditation because the body is moving through multiple poses with a breathing sequence, again bringing you into the present.
Aside from mindfulness practices, other activities that positively affect mental health and immunity are gratitude, regular exercise and eating a balanced diet. Did you know that stress weakens the immune system? A great way to counteract stress is by practicing gratitude which strengthens immune system function. An easy way to express gratitude is by keeping a daily journal. Start by writing at least 5 things you are grateful for every single day and why.
Exercising regularly promotes a higher quality of sleep and improves mental health by lowering stress hormones in the body. With exercise, there are numerous ways to get started, whether it’s an online workout at home or just a walk around the block. Remember, some movement is better than no movement!
Finally, the key to having a well-balanced diet is eating the rainbow (no, not Skittles), which is a variety of fruits and vegetables. The more variation your meals have, the more nutrients you are absorbing! Time at home can give you the opportunity to create a meal plan and maybe find your new favorite home-cooked meal. Meal planning is not only time saving, but it prevents food waste and can even save you money. How many times have you gone to the grocery store hungry or not sure what to fix, then ended up buying food you didn’t need or even want to eat? Personally, before meal prepping that would happen more than I would like to admit!
I hope this inspires you to try something new! For all of these practices, many free resources are available online for more information. Along with self-care, remember to treat yourself with kindness during this period. Take everything one day at a time!
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