Improve your health during the COVID-19 pandemic

By The Health News Team | March 25, 2020
Improve your health during the COVID-19 pandemic

So, you have extra time at home due to the social distancing you’re practicing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Staying indoors and taking what might feel like extreme measures to avoid coming in contact with those outside your immediate family can certainly be challenging. However, the preventive steps and increased free time can also offer benefits to your overall health and wellness far beyond decreasing your risk of catching or spreading the new coronavirus.

“Health is a combination of our physical, mental and spiritual health,” says Dr. Wasim Mansour, a family medicine specialist with Sharp Community Medical Group. “The following steps can help each of these facets to better improve your overall health and immunity.”

10 health and wellness benefits of a quarantine

  1. You’re preventing more than the spread of COVID-19. Not only are you learning to properly wash your hands, sneeze and cough into your elbow or a tissue, and disinfect the frequently used surfaces around you, you’re also decreasing your risk of spreading and catching a variety of bacterial and viral germs, such as those that cause the common cold and flu.

  2. You can eat more home-cooked meals. Have you noticed that you’ve become a regular at your local fast-food drive-thru restaurants because you just haven’t had the time to cook at home? Well, once you’ve done your initial shopping in preparation to hunker down for a bit, you can start making all those healthy homemade meals you’ve dreamt of preparing. Recipes inspired by the Mediterranean diet are a great place to start.

  3. Exercise can become a daily habit. Gyms and fitness studios have shut down, so take this as a prime opportunity to peel the strewn clothes off your home exercise equipment and give it a try, sample the plethora of free or low-cost online fitness classes, or strap on your cross-trainers and head out for a brisk walk around your neighborhood to get in your steps.

  4. You can catch the z’s you’ve been missing. You know how much sleep you’re supposed to get, but how often do you actually get in a full 7 to 9 hours? Now that your commute is to your kitchen table, your “office attire” requires less dressing to impress, and you can accomplish far more without all those distractions around the water cooler, you can afford to add an hour or two to your daily sleep cycle.

  5. Your house can sparkle and shine. How many loads of laundry, grimy sinks and sticky floors get neglected during your regular work week? Well, now you have no excuses for not tackling them. Plus, everyday tasks, such as household cleaning, offer an extra opportunity to burn calories and get fit.

  6. Your stress can be reduced along with your mess. We know mess causes stress. So this is also an excellent chance to clean out your closets, drawers and cabinets and get rid of all the things you don’t use. Create one pile to donate, one to discard and one to keep, and then head into the post-COVID-19 phase clear of mind and clutter.

  7. You can boost your brain health. Have you ever wanted to learn a different language, master the perfect crepe or take up a musical instrument? Not only can learning a new skill fill some of your at-home time, it can also improve your brain health and help prevent age-related memory and cognition issues. It also makes you a more interesting and talented person to take back out into the world at large.

  8. You can master mindfulness. Meditation, deep breathing, journaling and gratitude are all the things you know you’re supposed to be doing but perhaps never found the time to do them regularly. Well, now’s your chance. There are several online programs and apps to help guide you through each mindfulness practice and you’ll likely find this is something you choose to continue far into the future.

  9. You can drink more of what you should and less of what you shouldn’t. Drinking eight glasses of water to stay hydrated can be challenging, especially if you have to carry around a bulky reusable container to ensure you have access to all you need. Being at home allows you easy access to water as well as the ability to add some tasty flavors, such as fresh herbs and fruit. Bars and restaurants, where a majority of social drinking occurs, are currently closed, which can help you reduce or eliminate your alcohol consumption, an excellent way to give your health and wellness a boost.

  10. You can stay connected to stay healthy. We love spending time with our families, but don’t usually spend so much time together. While this can be challenging, it can also be a chance to connect with one another in a more present way. There can be time for deeper conversations, quiet time bonding over a puzzle and time spent in nature, taking walks or sitting in the sun for a bit. You also have time to reach out to friends via a phone call, text, email, video chat or social media post, all excellent ways to improve your physical and mental health through social connection.

“Get your family and friends involved to help improve everyone’s health and wellness,” Dr. Mansour says. “But remember to practice social distancing.”

Learn what Sharp HealthCare is doing to screen for COVID-19.

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