Saturday, May 2, 2020

Quarantine Concerns

If you are like most people you have probably had your world turned upside down over the last two months. Fear of the Coronavirus and the safety measures taken to combat it have crippled the economy and sidelined most people to their homes. While the intention of doing so is to save lives, there are also many unintended consequences happening as a result. It is the perfect storm for people to gradually gain weight and get out of shape. Here's why:

Stress and anxiety- People are experiencing stress due to fear for their physical well-being. There is also anxiety from constantly watching news stories and updates that frequently feature running death tolls and conflicting advice on the best ways to stay safe. Then there is the financial stress of potential loss of income or employment. There has been plenty of uncertainty for the future and stress is not good for your immune system.

Isolation- While some may feel like they have spent too much time with their immediate family, others are missing social interaction with friends, extended family, and peers. Phone calls and Zoom meetings are beneficial for staying in touch, but they are not the same as face-to-face human interaction and physical contact. We've also been told to not only social distance but to avoid physical touch with others. This lack of social contact has been especially difficult for some personality types.

Limited  Medical Services - The public has not had the usual access to doctors and hospitals unless it is deemed an emergency. Elective procedures and less critical visits to the doctor have been postponed. I've heard many complaints from people who have not been able to get to the dentist, dermatologist, optometrist, chiropractor, or massage therapist, like they used to.

Staying Indoors- Staying inside all day keeps some people from getting out and stretching their legs, getting healthy amounts of sunlight for vitamin D, and breathing fresh air.

Sedentary lifestyle- Lots of people have decreased their activity levels while they are staying home. The closure of gyms and parks has made it less convenient to exercise. The only marathons people have been doing lately are binge watching Netflix.

Unhealthy Eating- It is common for people stress eat when they are anxious or bored. Unhealthy snacking also increases as TV watching and computer screen time increases. Convenience eating and limiting your food choices to restaurants that have a drive through window can also be detrimental to healthy nutrition.

So what can you do to be healthier while you are social distancing and hunkering down? What can we all do a better job of?

* Take time to exercise each day (even if it's only 10-20 minutes.)
* Make healthier food choices and watch your portion sizes.
* Find healthy ways to manage your stress.
* Get some sunshine and fresh air as often as possible.
* Socialize the best you can under the circumstances.

The tragic loss of life and the threat for those in high-risk categories is a real concern, but it has also been frustrating to see all the collateral damage happening to our economy and physical health as a result of this battle. I 'm hoping that as a country, and worldwide, we will be turning a corner soon. We may not ever go back to the same "normal" after this, but we certainly need to get back to more productive and functional lives soon.