Gut Can Be Happy

A Self-Care Guide to Maintaining Health and Happiness During COVID-19

Written by: Brad Krause

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a negative toll on people worldwide. If you find yourself more stressed due to the ongoing public health crisis, you aren’t alone. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, Americans are experiencing greater levels of stress. Additionally, Americans are leading more sedentary lives as a result of lockdowns — meaning their physical health is suffering too. Not surprisingly, all of this stress can cause problems, mentally and physically, which is why we need to learn to cope.

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Read on for tips on how to maintain health and happiness during COVID-19, brought to you by Gut Can Be Happy.

Transform your home into a positive zone.

You are likely spending more at home because of COVID-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. Make the most of it by transforming your space into a happy one. Clear out negativity with a thorough cleaning. Eliminate clutter, open the windows to let in the fresh air, and light some candles or soothing incense to create a calm atmosphere. You can also use sage to smudge the rooms, eliminating bad vibes and adding a nice aroma.

Start spending more time in the kitchen.

You might be tempted to order in while you’re stuck at home during COVID. Instead, try preparing your own meals. Home-cooking tends to be healthier because you can avoid excess fat and salt often found in restaurant foods. The American Heart Association has tips on how to make nutritious dishes. Their resources include a list of healthy substitutions, such as skipping salt in favor of herbs and using vegetable oil instead of butter.

Find creative ways to work out at home.

Finding the motivation to do a home workout can be tough. Shake up your routine by trying something different. VeryWell Fit has a list of innovative workouts, like a home-based MMA workout. Mixing up your routine keeps you from getting bored and can help you stay focused on fitness even if your gym is closed. You can also try online Zoom workout courses, which let you break a sweat in a virtual group. This can be more fun than a solo session.

Look for ways to socialize, even if you’re not going out.

Even if you aren’t seeing people face-to-face, it’s imperative that you maintain some kind of social life. Psychology Today explains the health benefits of socializing: You will enjoy greater mental and physical health, lower your risk of dementia, and might even live longer. Look for innovative ways to connect digitally, such as establishing a book club. The Bash also offers a long list of 35 virtual party ideas, from a vacation slideshow to a wine tasting or Pictionary session.

Try meditation to beat anxiety.

It’s understandable if you’re feeling anxious in light of COVID-19. The entire world has changed around you and you have little control over what’s going on. It’s important to seize control of such anxious thoughts. Meditation can help, calming your mind and forcing you to focus your thoughts inwards (and forget the scary world outside). If you’ve never tried meditation, look to an app like Headspace for guidance. You can also try meditative music to help you get into your new routine — wireless speakers that easily connect to your smartphone can help you take these tunes with you wherever you go.

Put yourself on a media diet.

It can be tempting to constantly check the news for the latest updates on COVID-19 numbers and vaccines. This probably isn’t great for your mental health, however. The Mayo Clinic suggests limiting your media exposure. Yes, that includes social media too! You don’t want to freak yourself out with rumors and misinformation. Set a timeframe to check in on the news once per day and stick to it.

Make time to pamper yourself.

Set aside some time every day to pamper yourself, even if it’s just for five minutes. Your act of self-indulgence could be as simple as enjoying a hot tub or your favorite cup of tea, for example. The point is to do something you enjoy and focus on the action fully, allowing you to get maximum enjoyment out of it. This type of purposeful focus is one of the tenets of mindfulness, which also combats anxiety. The above list contains many helpful tips to help you stay happy and healthy during COVID-19. If it looks like a lot, don’t worry. You don’t have to implement every tip at once. Take your time and tackle one trick per week. This way you won’t get overwhelmed

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