The Covid-19 Coronavirus has changed how we all live. The restrictions imposed upon us have never been seen before, indicating the seriousness of this virus.
It is vitally important that each of us follow the social distancing and essential travel instructions set out by the Government.
For regular gym goers and fitness fanatics, centre closures present a new type of health challenge. For those of us less interested in health and fitness ventures, the closure of takeaways and fast food outlets across the country is an opportunity to renew our relationship with food and set new lifestyle routines.
You must eat well and get regular exercise during this period of self isolation. If you are a foster carer or other professional working with vulnerable children, eating a balanced diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle is important for a number of reasons.
First, you are a role model. Eating healthy and living an active lifestyle sets a good example to the young people in your care who may one day grow up to become parents themselves.
Caring roles are also challenging at times and it is important you are physically fit and healthy to manage the stresses of the role. One way to support yourself is by eating a balanced diet and adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Here are 6 top tips for Living Healthy During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
1. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Are you getting your 5 a day? Fruit and vegetables contain a number of nutrients lacking in many adults. These hearty food sources are grown from the earth and are high in fibre, and they contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. Increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables supports a healthy digestive system (make sure you've got the loo roll in!) and has been shown to improve your skin. Stock of fresh fruit and vegetables seem to have been largely unaffected by panic shoppers, so there’s no excuses.
Try this: Keep a stock of fruit and vegetables somewhere you regularly pass by such as on a living room table or by your door, so you can lift pieces of fruit as you walk around the house or as you leave.
2. Avoid high-sugar foods and drink more water
Avoid high sugar foods and drinks. Instead, go for alternative healthy snacks such as nuts, seeds, fruit and water. You should be drinking at least 2 litres of water every day. If you’ve got a sweet tooth in the evening, try a square of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa solids. Dark chocolate has been shown to help your metabolism – which means you burn calories at a faster rate. Some may point out that fruit has a similar amount of sugar to chocolate, but these are natural sugars and it also contains proteins, fibre and other nutrients chocolate does not give you. Fruit is also much lower in calories comapred with other not so nutritious snacks.
Try this: Establish a routine for allowing yourself the odd treat food. For example, you could have something sweet after your dinner during the week and limit yourself to 1,000 calories at the weekend from sugary foods like chocolate and pop. PS. checking the labels of your food will also get you thinking more about what you are putting into your body.
3. Get regular exercise
Exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings in your body, similar to morphine. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. Stay as active as possible and aim for 20-minutes of exercise every day. There are many simple things you can do at home. Get a fitness mat for £15 and do sit-ups and press-ups every morning. Get a chin-up bar or a swiss ball to keep indoors, and take your daily walk after eating the largest meal of the day to help your metabolism and digestion.
Try this: Stop pushing yourself off the sofa with your arms when you get up, push from your legs. Start doing sit ups and press ups every single day. Set yourself realistic weekly targets (e.g. 200 press ups a week would amount to 30 a day), write your goals down and stick them on the fridge or somewhere clear to see.
4. Practice mindfulness
With everything that’s going on you could be forgiven for feeling a little lost or helpless. Many of us are stuck in one place for most of our days and it is so easy to go through the cupboards and fridges and start grazing. When we get stressed our will power tends to get affected, leading many to row back on health and fitness goals in times of crisis. Practicing mindfulness is one way of staying centred. When the temptations come, and they will, practicing mindfulness gives you the tools to respond with perspective and stay on track.
Try this: Set some time aside every day to practice mindfulness. Just 5 or 10-minutes in the morning before you jump in the shower can make a huge difference. There are many great apps, we recommend this one which will give you a month for free.
5. Watch more comedy
Laughing is very good for you, both physically and mentally. It relieves physical tension and stress, releases endorphins and boosts your immune system. Also, by simply smiling and laughing more you are burning more calories. Mentally, laughter is a medicine of sorts. It eases anxiety and tension, strengthens relationships and draws people together. It also makes you feel good and that feeling remains for quite a while after the laughter subsides. Keep a positive, optimistic outlook through hard times by laughing more.
Try this: Next time you’re on Netflix, put on a stand-up comedian or a funny tv show like friends. If comedy really isn’t your thing, set aside one night of the week when you’ll give it a try, and stick to it for a month.
6. Stay connected
One of the biggest challenges we face during the Coronavirus pandemic is isolation. Humans crave connection with other people and for the foreseeable future we aren’t allowed to be within 2-meters of eachother. It is so important to stay connected with family, friends and loved ones. Organise a daily Facechat with your friends. Arrange a group video with the whole family once a week. Stay connected with your colleagues and co-workers. If you need help or support, don’t be proud, ask for it. Kindness is magic and together we will get through this.
Try this: Set up a group chat with your colleagues to keep in touch. Share lots of photos and videos, people relate to images much better than text. Here's one of my dog, Millie. She misses her usual 8-hour naps during the day...someone is disturbing her peace.
These are good recommendations for living healthy and staying human during this pandemic, but don’t beat yourself up if you slip up the odd time. Get back on the horse!
Treating yourself to the foods you love is absolutely fine in moderation, but do take your health seriously.
By adopting a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, you are committing to being your best self for the children in your care. Support your physical and emotional health needs by following our recommendations for living healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
Follow Government advice
STAY AT HOME
- - Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- - Stay 2 meters (6 feet) away from other people
- - Wash your hands as soon as you get home
You can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms. Stay at home and away from others (social distancing).
Stay safe and be healthy.
Healing Pasts | Building Futures