Maintaining Health During COVID-19

Maintaining Health During COVID-19 is soooooo important and deserves your attention!

There is no doubt that the threat and precautionary measures of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing a high level of stress and worry. As students you may have questions and fears related to this situation and; therefore, your capacity to stay calm, present, and compassionate is more important than ever.

While we are not able to meet as directly as we would like, we want to share some strategies that you can use and share with friends and loved ones….

Maintain a healthy routine

  • Sleep before midnight, get up before noon – flipping your sleep to being awake at night and asleep during the day can contribute to poor health and wellness.

Moderate screen time

  • Try to find activities that do not involve the TV, phone, and computer screens – read, write, meditate, exercise, draw/paint, listen to music, craft, practice a hobby, talk…

Maintain a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water

  • There is an obvious link between what we ingest and how we feel, but the lack of normal movement and exercise increases this effect. If possible, try to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and avoid fatty and high sugar foods.

Exercise and go outside

  • Exercise, fresh air, and maintaining physical proximity to others are important for overall health and wellness. Be creative and try to find ways to get your heart rate up – walk, run, dance, lift a bag of rice ten times, WHATEVER! Remember, you are allowed to go outside, just make sure you limit it to a few hours a day and maintain a physical distancing of 2 meters.

Stay connected to people

  • Maintaining verbal, written or virtual connections to those we care about helps us maintain our sense of purpose and value and improves our overall health and wellness. While you can’t shake hands, give a high-five or hug, you can send memes, texts, phone calls, letters, and emails.

Limit COVID-19 related media

  • Most news we hear about COVID-19 is either negative, uncertain or comes with “but’s” and “what if’s”, so try to limit it to none at all or just enough to give you a sense of empowerment in understanding the situation. Things don’t change much day to day so riding the news stream 24 hours a day will only stress you out.

Ask for help when you need it

  • This situation is tough, and it has never really been experienced in our lifetime, so it’s normal to feel scared, confused, lost, or hopeless, but we can’t stay there. Under normal situations, we experience these feelings momentarily, but we can move on. If you find yourself stuck in these feelings, you need to talk to someone and get some help.

With that in mind, here are some ways to climb out of those negative feelings…

Changing the Record

During stressful or difficult times our thinking can get the better of us. Like a record stuck on repeat, negative thoughts can bounce around our head and make us feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Often it is the frequency of these negative thoughts, rather than the situation itself, that causes us the most pain, so we need to find ways to change the record. Here are some mindful tips…

Come back to the present moment. With so much uncertainty all we truly have is the present moment. A simple way of coming back to the present is by using your breathing as an anchor.

When you breathe in, say silently to yourself, “Here.”
When you breathe out, say “Now.”
Breathing in, breathing out… “Here … Now….”

Your mind may wander into worries about the future and uncertainties, but even when that is happening you can return your attention to the present moment, using breathing as a “home base.” Try to maintain this exercise for 3-5 minutes.

Experience gratitude.

While unpleasant, it’s important to acknowledge and accept a current situation. For example, right now you may be feeling grief or sadness over something that has been lost or cancelled. Even while accepting this reality, try to bring awareness to the positive realities in your life that are still available to nourish your wellness in the present moment.

Try the “This is not cancelled” Practice:
Make a physical, verbal or mental list out loud of positive things you have noticed recently that has not been cancelled or changed (the sun on your face, a favourite song, fresh air, the support of friends and family).

You can even practice this with others, either out loud (phone / online) or on social media, and it becomes a wonderful group practice and sharing!

Daily formal meditation/mindfulness. Maintaining a daily or as-needed meditation practice can provide you with a period of time every day to just “be” and not have to “do”. With so much uncertainty it can seem overwhelming so pausing to centre and ground yourself resets your mind and allows you to transition your thinking. It doesn’t necessarily get rid of your thoughts, but it calms your mind so that we can process those thoughts and make rational (rather than panicked) choices.

Mindfulness Resources >>>>

Source: Uhill School Counselling dept.