The past few weeks have been hard for so many reasons, and I would venture to say that no two situations are really the same. The Covid-19 quarantine has affected all of us differently. For some of you, your job became more intense and risky, some others were sent home indefinitely or with reduced hours, and then some have transitioned to homeschooling and working from home. This type of sudden and drastic change has a profound effect on us mentally, emotionally, and even physically. Change is not easy, even when it is minimal, so coping with this has proven to have many challenges. Stressful doesn’t even seem to describe the depth of what is happening.
As humans, we all function much better in a regular routine. That doesn’t mean that every single day looks exactly the same, but it means within a week and day there is a basic schedule which is maintained. Simple things like going to bed and waking up at about the same time each day keeps our bodies operating at a higher level. Getting plenty of sleep each night provides the rest and predictable pattern which allows the body to thrive. With schedules and routines totally shifting while sheltering in place, you may have allowed yourself to sleep in more or stay up later; while this is understandable, if not regulated, you will begin to feel sluggish, and it will add to feelings of depression and lack of motivation.
Another component for functioning at a higher level is good nutrition. You have heard me say it week after week here, but I can’t stress it enough. Good daily nutrition is vital to feeling your best. You should have an eating schedule just as you did before quarantine. Try to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily with some minimal, reasonable snacks thrown in between as needed. Yes, what you eat is important, but the timing is what keeps the body regulated and fueled, as well as providing the energy to sustain you throughout the day. Also, just a little reminder that excess sugar and/or alcohol intake will not only add extra pounds but will make you feel more mentally and physically tired.
Finally, stay active. Staying inside for days on end is not good for any of us. Get outside in the sunshine; breathe in some fresh air. Play ball with your children, go on a run, find a place to hike and explore as a family, and keep it fun and interesting. Try to find a way to be outside daily if at all possible, even if you just take a walk around your yard for a few minutes.
As we begin to go out again, things will inevitably be different. A new normal will be developed as our world will be forever changed with social interactions from schools and childcare facilities, to the workplace, to simple shopping and restaurant dining. My advice to you is to focus on developing a routine which works best for you and your family. Be dedicated to creating time for an all-around healthy lifestyle, incorporating these things I’ve mentioned in your schedule each day. You will not only feel better but will lower your chances of becoming sick.
By: Nick Thomas
Owner of Prime Performance Training, and Certified Sports Nutritionist