The COVID-19 pandemic rang in an era of change. Seemingly overnight, most of the workforce moved indoors. The daily activities you previously participated in may prove scary — and the government may have banned them.
During these uncertain times, millions of people are experiencing a flood of changes within their environments. Even their bodies are undergoing adaptations. Here are some of the ways this pandemic has altered everyday life — and how to manage the changes healthfully:
1. Our schedules have shifted
Human beings are creatures of routine. We crave it. Research studies indicate that when we experience sensory changes, such as when our work environment undergoes a radical shift, it engages our brain's neuroplasticity. While this growth is a positive way to adapt, it creates considerable anxiety during the transition.
For example, if you switched to working from home after commuting for most of your life, you might have questions like, “What time do I start? What duties do my supervisors expect me to perform?” The uncertainty activates your fight-or-flight response, and you might freeze. The best way to handle this change is to create a structure for yourself. Write a schedule on Sunday evening so when Monday morning arrives, you know how to jump into your day. If you’re now managing your new schedule in addition to the schedule of your child who is currently being homeschooled, here are some useful tips
2. We might have unusual cravings
If you find yourself wanting to dive into a giant bowl of spaghetti or down an entire bag of chips, you are not alone. Research shows that when human beings experience anxiety, it raises the levels of stress hormones in the body. This rise causes a subsequent drop in serotonin, a neurotransmitter critical for managing mood. Carbohydrates cause a spike in serotonin production, which provides temporary relief.
That benefit only lasts until we step on the scale, however. If we see the numbers start to creep up, we can feel like we have failed ourselves. This guilt produces more anxiety, leading to a vicious spiral of binge-eating and self-loathing for doing so. Try to eat foods that are highly nutritious, and consume foods containing refined sugar and processed flour in moderation. Our Natural Home Pharmacy can also help you learn new healing skills and protect your health during these uncertain times.
3. Our fitness routines have changed
If you previously adored walking or running, you might resist heading out if wearing a mask makes you uncomfortable — or causes anxiety. More people choose to get their workouts in at home. The question is, how do you motivate yourself when the act of heading to the gym usually gets you in the fitness groove?
One way you can cope is by finding a virtual accountability partner. Ask a friend or a relative to text you daily and remind you to find a video on YouTube. You can score fantastic deals on various at-home fitness services right now, too.
4. We have to cope with daily uncertainty
During a national emergency, uncertainty reigns. If you have a job, you might worry about losing it. If you have lost one, you might stress over how long it will take to locate another with comparable benefits and salary. Many companies have implemented hiring freezes due to low demand. Or perhaps you’re a small business owner dealing with the effects of COVID-19 on your business.
With all this uncertainty, it is critical to care for your mental health. Fortunately, you can find mindfulness activities for free online if you hesitate to spend money on a counseling app right now. Practice guided meditation by finding a quiet place and focusing solely on deep breathing. Try exhaling twice as long as you inhale to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and calm your body - it also helps you sleep better.
As thoughts intrude, acknowledge them. Then, gently let them go. Remind yourself whatever you worry about isn’t happening right now in the present. Ground your body and stop the flow of racing thoughts.