Donna Krug is District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent at K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District.“/> Donna Krug is District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent at K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many of our daily routines in ways that no one expected. Isolation and being at home often lead to the temptation to eat snacks or meals that are high in sugar, fat, or salt rather than nutritious whole foods that can also be delicious. A day that previously included many steps and other physical activities has seen an unprecedented change in lifestyle. A more sedentary lifestyle, either watching TV or sitting at the computer for hours, has become the norm.
So what can we do to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and routine while the world around us adjusts to limit exposure to COVID-19?
- Stay Active – Even if you may not be comfortable with workouts at the gym, there are plenty of safe alternatives for getting physically active. Taking a brisk walk outside in an uncrowded area is always a good idea. My daily bike rides to and from my office continue to give me energy and the perfect time to relieve stress in the morning, at noon or at the end of the work day.
- Adequate Sleep – Good sleep is essential to our overall health. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Activation of the immune system changes sleep, and sleep, in turn, affects our body’s defense system.” While the amount of sleep required for good health and optimal performance depends on the person, the CDC recommends adults ages 18 to 60 to sleep seven or more hours a night.
- Diet and Nutrition – It is imperative to exercise self-discipline and avoid “emotional eating” due to stress that may be related to the changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Whole foods such as dark leafy vegetables and other colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Many herbs and spices also strengthen the immune system. It is always a good idea to add whole grains to your daily diet. Make a habit of eating more nutritious foods instead of highly processed snacks or fast foods.
- Self Care – We have heard a lot about self care over the past 18 months. Consider practicing meditation, relaxation techniques, or spending time with family for general wellbeing. Find a positive coping mechanism that works for you. Maybe you spend time with your hobby like playing the piano, reading or doing something with wood or fabric.
- Keeping In Touch – Our busy pre-COVID-19 lives may have limited the number of times we connected with distant loved ones. Take the time to take advantage of the myriad of technologies that can help you keep in touch with loved ones.
Continue to be careful in your personal hygiene with regular hand washing and wearing a mask in crowded public places. Stay safe and sound for the coming weeks!
Donna Krug is District Director and Family & Consumer Science Agent at K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You can reach them at: (620)793-1910 or [email protected]