The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our perspectives on so many things in our lives. We’ve learned to work from home. We can master social distancing. We become comfortable wearing masks. We realized what activities include higher risks. We’ve added words like “quarantine” and “contact tracing” into our daily vocabulary when they were previously used only in Sci-Fi movies.
One of the greatest shifts has been the focus on the state of mental health and wellness of the millions of souls now confined to their homes. Mental health is an often disregarded and under treated illness in the health community. It’s believed by many that this pandemic has shed so much light on the need for accessible mental health care and has opened up many more conversations on what we are missing to cope with high levels of stress and uncertainty.
While the phrase “work from home” has almost transitioned to “live at work,” individuals, companies, and CEOs have had to recognize the need for a serious assessment on how we are coping with the new normal.
Pre-COVID, wellness almost seemed to imply whatever exclusive trend marketers were pumping out: high priced clothing, costly diets, and high cost products and procedures. Now after spending three days at a virtual conference (unrelated to health and wellness), I can tell you that professionals across the globe aren’t recommending products or trends. They sing the praises of basic human needs and practices that all attribute to better living, better productivity, and a happier state of mind.
So if wellness is no longer defined by exclusivity and luxury, what does wellness now include? What contributes to our mental health and wellness on a daily basis?
When you wake up and fall asleep next to your laptop, it can be difficult to ignore nagging projects and unanswered emails. You have to set boundaries. Just like you would clock in and out from the office, you have to set time limits on when your work life invades your home life. If that necessitates the use of an alarm clock, set it.
Drink More Water
A basic and simple truth: drink more water. You’ll be healthier, more awake, and feel better just by sipping a few more ounces every hour.
Go on Walks
I think this is the most commonly cited cure for work fatigue and quarantine restlessness. There’s a powerful effect behind fresh air and moving your body. Get outside and walk.
Do Something Creative
Perhaps for you that’s art, cooking, or completing a home project. It could even be reading a good, old-fashioned book instead of letting your break consist of more screen time and scrolling. Engage both halves of your brain and create something.
It’s no surprise that exercise is a natural mood booster. By getting your heart rate up, you elicit all types of physiological responses that work not only as a coping mechanism for stress, but long term benefits as well.
Our favorite way to sweat is climbing in the sauna. If we are revisiting the basics of human health, there are few practices that date back as far as sauna bathing or heat therapy. Sauna health benefits include improved cardiovascular function, improved athletic performance, boosted mood, and diminishing the symptoms of depression, just to name a few. In this revival of simplistic, healthful habits, let the sauna be part of your wellness.