As we continue to practice social distancing and following Covid restrictions to decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus, our stress and anxiety levels intensify. With each passing milestone of the pandemic, people everywhere are experiencing “Covid fatigue.” From missing human interactions, loss of loved ones, and feeling as if the past year has been on pause, the prevalence of Anxiety, Depression, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are at an all-time high.
Now, more than ever, it is imperative to take care of our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Finding wellness during Covid may feel like an unobtainable task, but we can get through this with a few easy tips, healthy habits, and a positive attitude.
Practice mindfulness and meditation
Practicing mindfulness and meditation can take on many forms. From starting your day with a purpose to checking in with yourself throughout the day, and even mindfully pausing yourself and your brain are all effective ways to practice mindfulness. Being mindful of where you are mentally, physically, and spiritually can impact how you are feeling.
A few quick tips for practicing mindfulness are:
- Turning off your electronics and disconnecting before bed.
- Writing down what you hope to accomplish the next day.
- Setting aside self-care time with a comforting book, a cup of tea, or a relaxing hobby.
- Checking in with yourself to identify any current stressors.
- Practice deep breathing and sitting meditation. (Headspace is an excellent app for guided meditation!)
Be physically active
As we all know, physical activity is important to maintaining health and wellness. You may find yourself asking, but why? How will physical activity help me combat Covid fatigue and find wellness during these trying times? During the past year, we have been more stagnant in every area of our lives, but most notably our bodies. We have had limited places to go without the stress and fear of contracting or contributing to the spread of Covid. While our access to athletic gyms and exercise studios remains limited, there are still many ways to improve our physical activity during these trying times.
The physical activities we recommend include:
- Socially distanced walks: with the sounds of nature, a relaxing playlist, or a loved one; walking is a great, low-impact exercise to improve cardiovascular health.
- Virtual Yoga, Pilates, Barre, and Cardio classes. You can easily find 10 - 60 minute workouts online. All you need is a yoga mat, a bottle of water, and a quick search on YouTube to find something that meets your needs.
- Hiking: It is an excellent form of exercise that promotes both your physical and mental health. Being outdoors, disconnecting from technology, and reconnecting with nature are all beneficial.
- Swimming: During the fast-approaching warmer months, swimming in a pool, lake, or ocean is another highly effective, low-impact form of cardio. Ocean swimming is a bonus with its high levels of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, sodium, calcium, chloride, and sulfates. Seawater can benefit people with chronic conditions such as eczema, arthritis, asthma, back pain, and skin conditions.
Maintain a healthy diet and establish good eating habits
If the growing research on the mind-gut axis and connection of gut microbiota and mental illnesses has shown us anything, it’s that what we put into our bodies for fuel really does matter. The natural use of probiotics, prebiotics, and dietary change can help improve our mood and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
Our dietary suggestions include incorporating more complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and fatty acids into your daily diet, for the following reasons:
- Complex carbohydrates include brown rice, starchy vegetables, quinoa, millet, beets, and sweet potatoes.
- Lean proteins include chicken, meat, fish, eggs, soybeans, plain Greek yogurt, nuts, and seeds.
- Fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, eggs, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, brussels sprouts, and avocados.
It is also wise to avoid shopping while hungry. Research has shown that shopping while hungry can lead to purchasing a higher ratio of high-calorie foods and heavily processed foods. Developing a healthy shopping list and sticking to it will help.
Establishing good eating habits also contributes to a healthy mind -gut connection. Examples include:
- Thinking about where and when you eat and practicing mindfulness during your meal times; 2. Finding a place to sit, relax, and notice what you’re eating;
- Making efforts not to eat in front of the television, for it can lead to overeating;
- Eating slowly and taking in the taste and textures of the food.
Journaling is so helpful to express and navigate our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Setting aside time in the morning or evening to journal forces us to practice self-care and mindfulness and a cathartic method that can allow us to go back and reflect on at a later time or date. Journaling doesn’t have to be a formal or stressful task; even writing down bullet points of how you are feeling today, what you want and hope for tomorrow, or anything that brought you a moment of joy are all effective methods to allow for self-reflection, self-discovery, and clearing useless worries.
Studies have also found that writing in a journal can lead to better sleep, a stronger immune system and more self-confidence.
As Covid restrictions begin to lift and updated information on safe, in-person office visits come out, another excellent form of combatting Covid fatigue and finding wellness is acupuncture. The ancient practice of acupuncture has been around for over 3000 years, dating back to 100 BCE.
The health benefits of Acupuncture treatment include stress and anxiety reduction, pain management, improved sleep and immune system. Acupuncture treatment can be very helpful for post Covid care.
This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical conditions or replace your healthcare professional. If you are experiencing severe mental or physical symptoms, please consult with your physician for personalized medical advice.
Yang Institute’s Acupuncture Clinic
For nearly two decades, Yang Institute has offered comprehensive acupuncture and Chinese medicine services in South Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Yang Institute's Acupuncture Clinic focuses on treating various acute or chronic pain, stress and anxiety, women’s disease, and premature aging. It applies to acupuncture and Chinese medicine in most of Yang Institute’s Integrative Medicine Programs, including Integrative Post Covid Care.
Most acupuncturists of Yang Institute’s Acupuncture Clinic are physician acupuncturists and have over 20 years of experience treating patients.