People keep saying, “When the world goes back to normal.”
The reality is, this is our new normal. And life before COVID-19 won’t be the same as life after.
Of course, we all hope we can eventually return to lifestyles that allow us to leave our homes comfortably and safely. We’d like to be able to eat out at restaurants, to go to the gym, to see our friends and family members, travel, etc. But until then, and as we learn to navigate this new world together, we are going to need to make do by ourselves, at home.
It shouldn’t be overlooked how difficult this is. For example, alcohol sales are going through the roof as people continue to quarantine themselves from the virus. And in the book, Corporate Flight: The Causes and Consequences of Economic Dislocation, a study was cited showing “a 1 percent increase in the unemployment rate will be associated with 37,000 deaths, 920 suicides, 650 homicides, 4,000 state mental hospital admissions, and 3,300 state prison admissions.”
And right now, unemployment is skyrocketing—affecting more than 10,000,000 Americans.
So, while quarantine is hard, here are 7 things you can do to keep yourself sane, healthy, and staying positive while at home.
1. Make sure you get some sunlight.
And that was before the entire country was quarantined.
Not getting enough Vitamin D, or exposure to sunlight, not only has a dramatic impact on your immune system, but on your cognitive function and your body’s ability to heal itself. It’s arguably more important than Calcium for bone formation, and there have been a few studies that show the need for Calcium supplements has actually been overstated—and how it’s the right quantities of Vitamin D in your blood that make Calcium bioavailable for your body to use in the first place (adding to the density of your bones). There are also links between a lack of Vitamin D obesity and thyroid function.
So, get outside a little bit each day, however you can.
2. Find a new way to exercise.
It’s no surprise companies like Peloton and Tonal are doing quite well right now. They were the ones evangelizing the importance of working out from home long before the coronavirus, and now people are seeing them as primary solutions.
I’m fortunate to have a full gym setup at my house, but a lot of at-home fitness exercises are much easier than people suspect. And so the primary focus should be getting in some kind of movement each day. Whether it’s walking up and down the stairs in your apartment building, or putting on a weighted vest and doing bodyweight exercises, you have to find a way to stay active during a time when it can be easy to sink into a schedule of being inactive.
3. Take a cold shower—your body will thank you.
Unless you can take a true ice bath at home, the next-best thing is to take a freezing cold shower.
For most people, it’s very jarring to jump into a 30-degree pool of semi-frozen water. So a better way to train your system is to start taking cold showers—going from 30 seconds up to the point where you’re just showering with cold water five days a week, for up to five minutes per day. The benefits of doing this are:
- There are heat shock proteins you get from heat exposure (saunas, hot baths, sunlight, exercise, etc.) and there are cold shock proteins you get from ice baths, cold showers, etc.
- Cold shock proteins operate as anti-inflammatories for your muscles.
- Norepinephrine, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for your attention and vigilance systems in your brain, how well you can focus, etc., is increased tremendously.
Combine a cold shower with a meditation beforehand, and you’ll leave feeling completely rejuvenated.
4. Make some time to meditate each day.
Meditation is extremely important.
If you’ve never meditated before, there are a gazillion apps that can help you get started. I actually tell people that’s the best way to build the habit. Once you build the habit and you understand “how” to do it, then you’re better off using the method that works best for you.
The real benefit here is getting some time away from screens. Screens dominate our daily lives—from the moment we wake up, all throughout the day and up until we go to sleep. The temptation when you’re home, especially, is to be on your phone, laptop, or watch TV. So by making some time to meditate in the morning or evening, you are giving yourself the chance to really step away—which can help with keeping your circadian rhythm balanced, and your sleep schedule consistent.
5. Clean yourself up for the day.
Routines are what help us know where we’re at.
Focusing on your grooming and self care are great ways to keep your self-esteem up and shift your state from feeling lazy to feeling engaged and active. If that means putting on “work clothes” for the day, then great. For example, my dad shaved every single day of his life, for his entire career. Now that he’s retired, it’s hard for him to shake the habit—and when he doesn’t shave, he just feels off.
Staying true to these everyday habits in our lives will help from feeling like we’re “stuck” at home.
Remember: you’re not stuck. Life goes on.
6. Make an effort to eat healthy.
Nobody is perfect, but the more you can feel your body key nutrients each day, the better off you’ll be.
There is a lot of temptation right now to just hang out on the couch, eat comfort food, and “wait.” The same goes for drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. So steering clear of these sort of easy vices, and keeping a focus on taking care of yourself by replacing those bad habits with positive movement, and positive thinking, will do wonders for your long-term productivity.
For example, here in San Francisco, we have these ghost kitchens where you can order 20 ounces of grass fed beef, fully cooked, delivered in 15 minutes. So, while this might not be the way I would have grocery shopped or thought about cooking healthy dinners for myself before, it’s an option right now. And right now is all about taking positive action.
7. Utilize telehealth services when you need a bit of help.
Telemedicine right now is a massively emerging space.
Many of the doctors I know have transformed their practices into being telehealth beacons. Of course, this depends on where you’re sitting economically right now, but if you have a little bit of money to allocate to your mental health, there are some really interesting services you can tap into these days remotely.
Remember: we are all going to want to emerge from this better off—not worse.
So the more you can stay focused on improving yourself and your situation while times are tough, the better of a position you’ll be in the future.