COVID-19 Lifestyle: Steps Taken Today Affect Tomorrow

My Diet Matters
lifestyle in covid

We are over 5 months into the COVID-19 pandemic. As the lockdown and isolation continue on some level for most people, our personal behavioral differences have become glaringly apparent. While I cannot take credit for the clever quote above, it seems to ring true. It seems quite apparent that your COVID-19 lifestyle can lead you down many different paths!

If you soothed your anxiety and stress with food or alcohol in the past, you may be doing so once again. Excesses of both may be affecting your weight and health status. I don’t know about being a monk, but I do think most people can relate to how the isolation and stress affects lifestyle. And in many cases, the impact is not a positive one. If you are wishing to move down a healthier path at this point, here are steps to take to move you in the right direction

Set a schedule for a new COVID-19 lifestyle

Get dressed

It may have felt OK in the beginning of the pandemic to hang out in your PJs all day. In fact, many may have thought it was great! And did you notice that every day seemed the same? Maybe you were able to work remotely so you knew it was a workday, but I know many others felt the blur of days. I know I did. By setting a schedule, you are setting up a framework for the current day which is closer to normal.

I think at this point, we are desperate for near normalcy, and starting the day with a plan is a good idea. Wear clothes you might have worn in the past to go to lunch, work, or for a social occasion. Put on your earrings (that always helped me feel better). In other words, off with the PJs. This starts to put you into a better mindset for self-care. Do the same for your kids. Have them get dressed and you can be a role model for them.

Get moving for your COVID-19 lifestyle

Figure out how to mesh this into your schedule, whatever that schedule turns out to be. If you are basically not doing much, pencil in a time and stick with it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you work remotely and deal with kids at home, you will need to be more creative. It may be more challenging to block off time, but it is important. “Moving” can be yoga, a daily walk, or videos. It’s just important to lock into doing some sort physical activity on a daily basis. This will help your body and your mind.

Make a meal schedule

Many people that have a long day full of nothing tend to eat on a poor schedule. It is important to eat your three healthy meals and snacks to prevent hunger, binge eating, maintain blood sugar levels, and meet nutritional requirements! Here are some simple steps to straighten out your eating in a hurry.

COVID-19 lifestyle and nutrition

Immunity

Be sure to make food choices that are good for your overall health as well as for boosting immunity. If possible, try to put a large eating focus on adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. By doing so, you will add more fiber and trace nutrients into your diet. Other important nutrients that may play a role in recovery from COVID-19 include potassium. And guess what? The best way to get more potassium into your diet is through fruits and vegetables!

Weight

Try to maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight if weight loss is appropriate for you. I always say that successful weight loss requires some mental energy. With that stated, there are some easy ways to start the weight loss process that are neither mentally draining or cumbersome. Let’s face it, right now a lot of our mental energy is spent on just staying safe from COVID-19.

Alcohol

It’s no secret that more people are drinking alcohol and it is concerning to the medical community. In fact, alcohol consumption at home has increased drastically since the initial shelter in place orders began in various states. At one point, I would pour a glass of wine every time our governor came on to give the COVID updates. Fortunately, those updates stopped and I stopped that afternoon wine as well! So, if your alcohol intake continues, then give some consideration to the calorie content of those alcoholic beverages as well as the frequency you are drinking them. It will be easier to keep your liver healthy and prevent weight gain than to “fix” your liver and lose pandemic weight!

Other COVID-19 lifestyle coping tips

covid 19 lifestyle steps

Decompress somehow. Find a way to stop thinking about the pandemic. Do a puzzle, journal, organize your kitchen, clean (great exercise), garden or lose yourself in a great book. We can’t escape for long, but it is helpful, even for brief time periods.

Limit media. Turning off the news helps as well. Consider just checking in with the news once a day. You need to give your mind a rest.

Connect somehow. We are all pretty sick of screen connections by now, but it’s better than nothing. Consider reading to your grand kids on a regular schedule or zoom calls with friends at regular intervals. Not into technology? Consider sending postcards or handwritten letters. Sometimes the older way of life was simpler and better. Sometimes!

Take away

The pandemic has affected every fiber of our lives from death to birth and everything in between. While so much is out of our control, much can be controlled by setting some good patterns of behavior. Consider setting up schedules for simple things like dressing, eating, and exercise. Implementing some structure for these facets of life can pay off big when COVID-19 is behind us. While I can’t know when that will be, I do know that the steps taken today will definitely affect your well-being post COVID. Take charge of what you can, and you will reap the benefits when this pandemic is behind us. You choose your path!

Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!

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Disclaimer

Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.