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Rhea's HLD for November 2020: Practice Wellness During A Pandemic

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Coronavirus: Practicing Wellness While You Stay at Home

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Harpreet Gujral, DNP, FNP-BC 

 

 

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working from home these days. Under normal circumstances, telecommuting can offer a pleasant break from your daily routine. You can enjoy freedom from a long commute and the luxury of working in your sweats.

But this situation is far from normal. Harpreet Gujral, program director of integrative medicine at Johns Hopkins’ Sibley Memorial Hospital, offers the following suggestions on staying centered and healthy when you’re working at home during the pandemic.

Greeting the Day

If you’re waking in the morning and feeling uncertain because your routine is so different, Gujral suggests a 15-minute ritual to get prepared for your day.

“First thing in the morning, I recommend spending 10 to 15 minutes on self-care. I take a moment to think about three things I’m grateful for. They can be simple things, such as a comfy blanket, a safe home, warmth, spring trees, blue sky or blossoming trees.”

Many of us lunge for our cellphones as soon as we’re conscious, but Gujral says she makes a point not to pick up her phone for at least 15 minutes.

Breathing for Stress Relief

Before the day’s demands take over, Gujral recommends becoming centered with some stress-relieving breaths.

“Take a few minutes to really focus on your breathing. There is a technique called 4-7-8 breathing, or relaxing breath, which helps you concentrate on deep breaths. The practice is simple: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out for a count of 8. Practicing this for four breaths four times each day or more can help relieve anxiety and reset the autonomic nervous system,” Gujral says.

Here’s how to do it:

A graphic explaining the 4-7-8 breathing technique

Image courtesy of Healthy at Hopkins, an employee health resource at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Moving and Stretching, Indoors and Out

Staying active can increase immunity and boost mental health. It's common for people to focus on stress rather than physical health. Try 10 minutes of qi gong — movements that help you practice mindfulness — or use stretches and yoga poses to bring your awareness back into your body.

Even if you don’t know how to practice these disciplines, she says, you can simply close your eyes and move your awareness into your feet to feel more grounded. 

Physical distancing doesn’t mean you have to isolate yourself or to stay inside. Activities like gardening and hiking outdoors, and taking notice of the natural world, helps alleviate anxiety and improve well-being.

Going outside each day for 15 minutes of fresh air and sunshine helps the body make vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency can create vulnerability to the common cold.

Eating Well

Good nutrition is essential in stressful times however trying to boost your immunity with supplements may not be as helpful as simply eating whole foods.

Eating meals rich in plant-based foods, especially leafy vegetables and fruit is beneficial for your health. Increase your consumption of diverse produce to gain more phytonutrients.

Taking steps to cut out inflammatory foods such as sugar and bad fats is a good idea. These foods might be more tempting when you’re feeling tense or worried. Cook homemade foods with ginger and turmeric. Adding a little rosemary to your meals can help you focus. Drink plenty of water, and consider green or black tea.

At Your Home Office

Bring in something from outdoors for your at-home desk. Rocks, branches, flowers, even a picture, photograph or screen saver depicting a beautiful, calming scene can help remind you of nature.

Listening to music that inspires you can help you focus and improve your mood.

Staying Focused

It can be hard to concentrate on work when your daily routine is off-kilter and the future is uncertain. Consume social media conservatively.

Aromatherapy can make your home office more conducive to calm productivity. It’s important to remember that essential oils are not effective treatments for disease, but they can help uplift mood or create a more relaxing environment.

Practicing Mindfulness

It’s also important to keep in touch with friends, especially the ones who uplift you, and give people the benefit of the doubt during this challenging time.

Practicing mindfulness and gratitude are also beneficial for your well-being. Spending time each day to say positive affirmations for yourself can improve your mental health and mood.

 

 

copied from: 

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/coronavirus-practicing-wellness-while-you-stay-at-home

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I always have music playing with a really calm background. I generally go to YouTube and choose Live stream with the ocean or light rain with a beautiful live scene.

Here is one of my favorites!


I office computer has two screens, so I can have my calming YouTube video playing on one screen, and I make it fullscreen so it feels like a window, and then I work on the other screen. It really helps to keep me focused and calm with my very stressful and difficult job.

 

I’ve also changed my diet this year. I’ve gone to a whole food plant-based diet, and I am trying to incorporate SOS which is no salt oil or sugar. I’m doing pretty good with no salt and no sugar, but it’s hard to get all the oil out unless I do all of my own cooking 100% of the time. And I can’t do that. Not with my schedule! But overall I feel much better, my aches and pains have pretty much completely resolved, I feel more alert and have better memory. I’m also able to handle stress better and I’m much less anxious and depressed. It’s actually been quite amazing! I’ve even lost 35 pounds since June. Which is pretty awesome!

 

As for exercise I don’t really do a lot. I do try to stretch and I have a YouTube video and follow this yoga instructor. And I really like her yoga videos. There’s one that I do every morning, when I get up early enough, and it really helps a lot with stretching out especially, when I’ve been sitting a lot for my job. My hip flexors get very tight, therefore stretching with my yoga videos are extremely helpful! This is also when I practice mindfulness and gratitude. It gives me 20 minutes to greet today and set my intention. I’ve noticed that it has been making a huge difference in my attitude overall! If you know me well, you know I’m a Scorpio, and I can be pretty intense! Seriously! LOL

 

I also highly recommend this book...

Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Dr. Amit Sood. I have met Dr. Sood and read the book. It’s made a huge difference!

 

 

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These are great tips, @Rhea!  Thank you for sharing!  The world is so crazy right now that it's hard to focus on things like self care.

 

I love the idea of a 15-minute morning routine.  I've been trying to make healthier choices with my food and body, so I start each morning with a 20 minute walk (longer on the weekends).  I'm working on my time stress by taking longer in my morning routine.  I walk, then I sit down and do a 10 minute lesson on Noom--which usually focuses on meditation, good food choice, stress relief, etc.  It's a great way to get my mind set on being positive.  

 

I tried this routine three days last week and I feel they went well.  

 

I know I need to stretch more.  And I'd love to do more meditation and focused breathing.  But one thing at a time!

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A good chair to sit on is one of the most important things.

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