There have been a number of articles on how your health could be impacted by isolation. We’ve decided to talk about ways to combat some common side effects from this year of social isolation. Everyone is different, so you should choose what areas of your health have been impacted the most and take a few steps to become healthier in those specific areas.
With gyms closed for most of the year, you probably didn’t see many gains this year and maybe saw the opposite. If you feel you’ve become weaker, there are still some things you can do at home to start rebuilding that muscle. There are thousands of bodyweight workouts you can find on YouTube if you have no equipment. If you want, you can get creative in using things around the house to use as weights. What’s important is that you do something most days to keep your muscles working.
Does walking up a flight of stairs seem a little harder than normal? Staying indoors and not being able to hit the treadmill probably has had its effect on your heart and lung health. But even without a gym, cardio is easy to work on. Go on a brisk walk and try adding some intervals of jogging. Or go on a run if you feel up for it. Again, consistency is key, so try to get your heart rate up every day. Not feeling motivated? Join a PUML challenge so you can get rewarded the more steps you take!
An increase in fat can come from multiple causes so of course be sure to consult your doctor if you feel you have fat gain that is not due to your current eating and exercise habits. But if you can tell you’ve gained some fat due to a slower routine, there are a few things you can do to get back on track. First, make sure you are eating healthy foods in reasonable proportions every day. Plan your meals for the week before grocery shopping. Avoid snacking just because you’re bored with working at home. And if you can’t resist snacking during the day, make sure you have healthy options on hand – fruits, veggies, hummus, etc. In addition to eating healthy, follow some of the above tips for getting a workout in, even if just at home.
Has your back and neck been aching? Your home office set up may not be as ergonomically sound as your desk and chair in the office. As a result, your posture could be suffering. A simple thing you can do is set reminders on your work computer at random intervals during the day reminding you to sit up straight and roll your shoulders back. It is also important to give your eyes a break from the screen. You don’t want to be looking too closely and hunching over or to be squinting and straining your eyes. So when your reminder goes off to sit up straight, also look away from your screen at something around 6 meters away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a break. Do this a few times a day.
With everything happening in the world and drastic lifestyle changes happening, sleeping habits have suffered for many. To help get better sleep, create and stick to a simple bedtime routine. This could mean reading before bed, practicing some light stretching or simply being screen-free for an hour before you want to sleep. Try to start your routine at the same time every night so that your body gets used to winding down regularly.
As your physical health deteriorates, so does your mental health and vise versa. If you feel like your mental health hasn’t been that good throughout this year, doing things to increase your overall health like having a good diet and regular physical activity are good first steps. If this doesn’t help, you should also contact a professional for added support. There are a lot more options for remote therapists now because of COVID and it could be worth it to check them out.