As I was working in the ER, I honestly did not have enough time to truly evaluate how ‘social distancing’ affected people. Now that I am out of the ER, I have had some time to think.💫
I have realized a few things. Although social distancing is a way to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it is also affecting people in multiple ways. We are social beings. We thrive on social interactions.✔️
There is a reason why premature babies who are put together in the same crib have better outcomes than those who are in their individual ones.
And as much as some of us enjoy alone time, that time is usually optional. Social distancing can lead to social isolation, and perceived isolation has been shown to increase a person’s morbidity and mortality. It means it affects your health is more ways than one.
So when you hear the word social distancing I’d like to make a change. Let’s change that to Physical Distancing. I don’t want any of you to perceive yourselves as isolated or alone, because you’re not. The rest of the world is with you, living through the exact same thing.💙
Despite the need for physical isolation, you DO NOT need to be socially isolated. But, that is not the only thing that is happening during this time. No restaurants, no concerts, no ball games, no social gatherings including Church, or Synogauge or Temples, etc. This also means GYMS are closed, and public pools and beaches. So, what are you supposed to do during this time? Well… unfortunately for most of us, our creativity has been stunted by the speed of life. We never had the time to find new ways to spend out time, what with our jobs, and bills, and social media/technology, Netflix, video games, etc. Time was never in our favor. Now, it seems time is standing still for a brief moment. So what can you do? The obvious…and then the not so obvious.
This probably does not come as a surprise; Me, promoting exercise. But, I do it because as you may have already read in my other blog posts; the benefits of exercise are NOT ONLY physical. They are also emotional. They reduce symptoms of depression. It can be a great outlet for anxiety, fear, and anger. Get endorphins roaming through your bloodstream and make you feel “good”. And we all need a little bit of that, especially now. Does it matter what kind of exercise you engage in? NOPE.
As many of you follow the orders to stay indoors and stay at 6ft from others,✔️here are a few awesome choices to get that blood pumping: Yoga, go out for a run, at home gym use, YouTube workouts including High-intensity interval training (HIIT), Even video games like Wii Fit, How about play some music at home and just dance! (I did this recently…felt so good!), Pull out your old DVD workout videos like P90X or others. If you have a pool, go for a swim. Walk your pets! Play with your kids! Do laundry, clean house, etc. Seriously! Choices are endless… as long as your heart is beating faster… you’re working out and you will reap the benefits.
A balanced meal is the best way to stay in shape. Exercise helps sure, but we all know that staying fit is 70% diet, 30% exercise. SO, eating the right thing is a great way to keep your energy levels high, avoid the mid-day crash, and make sure you don’t need to go on a shopping spree for a new wardrobe that fits properly. Why do I say this?
I know…that with boredom comes so many other things including walking over to the fridge multiple times a day to then sit back down on the sofa or lay back in bed. It happens. Hence all those tik tok videos of people running from their beds/couches to their fridge and back. The best way to stay YOU during this time… IS to eat lots of colorful fresh foods. The brighter, the better. If they turn to water in your mouth! You’ve nailed it! That’s right.. veggies, fruits. Stick to your healthy eating habits as much as you can during this time.✔️
What you eat can affect your energy, your mood, your self-esteem (especially if it changes your physique). Over-eating can also lead to acid reflux, indigestion, abdominal discomfort. Fewer fruits and veggies = low fiber diets which means you can become constipated, and this itself is not comfortable, especially if you are usually very regular.
Get Enough Sleep
Have you already read my post on sleep deprivation and its effects? If not, feel free to do so. But, for a small preview. Sleep affects your energy level, but it also affects your mood, your appetite, your concentration, your ability to multitask, and your patience.
Lack of sleep or insomnia can not only be a symptom of depression, but it can also alter your mood to cause symptoms of depression. Your body and mind are connected. Disturb one, and the other is affected. This is why getting adequate sleep will be so important for not only your physical health but your mental health as well.✔️
But why am I even mentioning this? You used to have a schedule. Be up at a certain time, be somewhere at a specific time. So naturally, you went to bed at a certain time. BUT…now… there is none of that. No schedules for many of you, so there is no reason to go to bed early or wake up early. This affects your sleep, and it will affect all the above-mentioned things too.
How? Technology is a two-sided sword. Although it can alienate you from active life, it can also keep you connected even when you’re not. Consider downloading a few applications to keep you connected with friends and family. Here are some of my favorite:
House Party Google Meet Zoom Whatsapp
Steam (to play video games with friends anywhere in the world)
Just make sure you keep interacting with people even if it’s virtual. There is no need to be socially isolated, not when technology can help. You can play virtual games, virtual girl’s night, or date night, family get-togethers, etc. The point is, you can stay socially connected despite the physical distancing.
I hope these few tips help in some way. To keep you active, keep your body and mind healthy, and nurture your relationships during this difficult time in the world.