To say that the past several months have been incredibly challenging is putting it lightly. The social support systems we normally rely on to bolster us aren't available, which can lead to feelings of exhaustion, depression and anxiety. When we are feeling out of sorts, we can often get off track with our normally healthy behaviors and lifestyle...and the bad habits can start to spiral (hello, freshman 15).
Here are some tips for staying healthy in body and mind during tough times.
There are so many things competing for our attention it can be hard to to shut down and get some quality rest. But sleep is not a luxury. It’s an important part of staying healthy. Not getting enough sleep impairs memory and concentration and can affect your judgement and mood.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night for adults aged 18-60. Some other tips from the CDC include:
Still not having luck getting to sleep and staying asleep? Try this 4-week Insomnia Workbook.
When life feels overwhelming, often all we want to do is lay on the couch and binge-watch Netflix. While this may feel comforting for a little while, it really only leads to continued low energy and mood.
According to The Mayo Clinic, just 30 minutes of exercise for three to five days a week “may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms”. This could include anything from structured workouts to riding a bike around town to just taking a walk. The key is to find something you enjoy and do it consistently.
Looking for an online fitness program you can do in your room? Check out obé fitness' virtual workouts. No gear required and lots of yoga, pilates, and barre workouts to choose from.
Want to sightsee in your Hub hometown? This app provides guided walking tours of thousands of cities including Tucson, Lexington, and Columbia.
Is getting out into nature your Happy Place? AllTrails is a great way to find nearby trails that match your desired level of difficulty and desired attractions (some include “hot springs," “beach," and "views.”) Grab a friend for a socially distanced hike!
What goes hand-in-hand with zoning out on the couch? Usually it’s comfort foods like ice cream, chips and other high-sugar, high-fat, high-salt snacks. Just like inactivity, a diet of junk food may feel good in the short-term but only contributes to bad feelings over time.
In addition to weight gain and dull skin and hair, a nutrient-poor diet can lead to sluggishness, sleeping problems, and increased depression and anxiety. Check out this list for foods that contribute to a better mood.
Interested in learning how to cook healthy foods for yourself? These online cooking classes offer a wide variety experiences from immunity-boosting foods to making your own sushi to plant-based meal prep.
Want to eat healthy but don’t have time to cook? These nutritious meals—like Shrimp and Vegetable Curry, BBQ Pulled Chicken, Pork al Pastor—are delivered to your door and are ready to eat within minutes.
In addition to daily healthy habits like good sleep, nutritious food, and exercise, talk therapy and meditation can be great tools. An online meditation program like Headspace or online therapy like Talkspace can be very helpful in sorting through big and possibly unfamiliar emotions.
Reaching outside of your own world and helping others is not only a worthy act of generosity, but it can also do wonders for fostering positive feelings of connection and purpose.
And lending a hand does not necessarily need to be in person. There are many opportunities to volunteer virtually. From animal rights to human rights to education to the environment, there is a program in need of volunteers to match pretty much every interest. VolunteerMatch is a comprehensive resource for a huge variety of volunteer opportunities.
For even more ideas of how to get involved with your community, keep reading!