How to look after body and mind through a global pandemic
Living through a global pandemic is challenging and stressful. Just getting by functionally and emotionally is absolutely fine – we don't have to make any radical changes to our lifestyle to protect ourselves and our family. But, there are small things we can do to help look after our body and mind. Louise Hurley gives us FIVE simple tips.
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to make people suddenly start exercising, making detox juices, eating superfood upon superfood and spending a fortune on supplements to try to boost their immune system. I’m all up for making small positive changes to our lifestyles, however, all of these “healthy” changes all at once can actually become very stressful to maintain.
It’s important to acknowledge that living through this COVID-19 global pandemic is challenging and stressful. Just getting by functionally and emotionally is absolutely fine – it’s all you need to do – and we don’t need to make radical changes to our lifestyle to protect ourselves and our family.
Here are my FIVE simple tips for looking after your body and mind during these challenging times:
1. Ditch the immune boosting supplements. There are lots of vitamins and supplements that claim to boost immunity, but there’s actually no clinical evidence to suggest that a single product can help strengthen our immunity against illness. There is however lots of scientific evidence for a correlation between a healthy balanced diet and a strong immune system. Eating well doesn’t need to be confusing. Ignore claims of superfoods, detoxes and cleanses; just eat a wide range of wholefoods that mainly come from plants. Drinking enough water throughout the day is also part of a healthy diet.
2. Be active every day. Moving your body in a way that you enjoy can keep your body and mind stay healthy. Do something that you enjoy, even if it’s just walking the dog. If online workouts aren’t your thing, don’t feel pressured to do them. If you love taking on a burpee challenge then go for it. Most of the Body Beyond Baby Affiliates are now running live virtual classes, so if you would like some structure to your workouts under the guidance of a mums’ fitness professional, head to the home page to find out more.
3. Get enough sleep or rest. When we experience times of stress (as in this global pandemic) parts of our brain have reduced functioning in order to help us survive. As a result, we are not always able to fully process what is going on around us and we need more sleep or rest (recovery time) than usual. Sleep is often out of our control when we have young children, so it’s important to take the opportunity to rest when it comes along.
4. Limit what you read on social media or the news. If you know that spending a lot of time on social media or reading news stories increases your anxiety, then limit yourself. Stories on social media or the news are not always reliable or helpful. Download the Government’s COVID-19 app to stay up to date with guidelines and important information.
5. Reach out for support. Physical isolation doesn’t mean total isolation. It’s important to stay connected with friends and family through video call or regular messages. You could also find a local psychologist who is offering telehealth appointments. If you feel that you need to reach out, talk to someone and get a bit more support, you can find a list of national crisis and support services here.
Louise runs Strong Mums in Gosford, NSW. She has a background in clinical and research psychology and became a mums’ fitness professional after having her first baby.