Don’t Worry. Be Healthy.

I was talking to a wellness colleague of mine yesterday about advertising my Eat for Life classes starting in May and she said “People don’t want to think about being healthy right now.” That statement really took me by surprise. And, I’m not sure it’s accurate, at least not in my own life and in the lives of those around me. In fact, I would say it’s quite the opposite.

However, if you are one of those people who “don’t want to think about being healthy right now,” I’d like to you offer you some opportunities to alter that approach to your life, particularly in light of the health crises we are all facing. Now is a really good time to think about self-care.  And, if you are already finding extra ways to be kind to yourself, these suggestions may add to your current plan of action.

1. Walk more – I am personally taking at least one walk a day if not two. Now that people are working from home and have more flexibility, my friends are more available for walks than before. And, my husband has more free time to walk as well. Of course, remember to use appropriate social distancing whenever you are walking near others. And, in some highly populated area, I recognize that this is more difficult than where I live. So, take extra caution.

2. Improve Social Relationships – In the midst of social distancing, I am actually experiencing and seeing more closeness, rather than less. People are communicating more to each other and inquiring how they are. Families are out walking together and playing together in their yards. And, people are taking the opportunity to express how they feel about one another, because, let’s face it, we might not all be here after this is over. Facetime is available and many people are learning how to use Zoom (a great free online platform) to connect with family and friends near and far.

3. Work out at home – I bought a couple of extra things that I needed to do some workouts at home. Then, I asked a trainer I used at the gym if he could recommend some workouts for me. Of course, there are a ton of apps online that can instruct you in workouts you can do from home without equipment as well.

4. Subscribe to an online activity or training –  I subscribed to a qigong channel that gives me a 7 minute a day program and I’m loving it. You can also subscribe to yoga, meditation and mindfulness training. My friend Dave Potter of Palouse Mindfulness has made a list of COVID-19 mindfulness resources that are free right now. Spirit Rock meditation center also has all of their retreats online at least through mid-April. I’m doing a day long retreat on Saturday through Spirit Rock with a teacher of qigong and meditation that I have always wanted to practice with. I’m very excited for the opportunity that I would not have had otherwise.

5. Gardening –  I know this won’t apply as much to people in urban areas, but getting out in your yard, whether it is to plant vegetables or flowers can be a wonderfully delightful activity as the weather keeps getting better. Just cleaning out the weeds and digging up the buried rocks around my trees rings a little every day gives me  a great sense of accomplishment and being outdoors in the sunshine is always healing.

6. Eating at home – We know from the research that people who eat at home are generally healthier than people who eat out. Although I do still see lines of cars at the fast food takeout window, in general, people seem to be cooking at home more. My daughter just sent me a picture of the loaf of bread she made (Mark Bittman’s three ingredient, no knead bread) which she was quite happy about. Now is a great time to trying new cooking skills and to teach your children about cooking.

7. Using delivery – I’m getting home delivery of vegetables from local farmers which has turned out to be a great way to keep out of the stores. One farmer, Liz at Happy Hollow, has even partnered with two other businesses so I also get my favorite coffee (Fretboard) and favorite goat cheese (Goatsbeard Farm) delivered at the same time. Look for opportunities in your area for these creative ways to get delicious, local, seasonal food.

8. Using less alcohol – Although liquor stores are still open(!) as an essential business, reducing the amount that you’re drinking might be easier right now that you’re staying at home. Reducing or stopping alcohol consumption would be a great practice to engage in during a time when you might be tempted to do the opposite. Ground yourself in healing activities instead and deal with those difficult emotions through meditation, exercise, communication, and deep breathing. Look for the meditations on my website.

9. Sign up for a class – There are lots of classes with discounts right now. Personally, I am offering my summer Eat for Life class at a 50% discount through April 30 and a 25% discount from May 1 – May 18. Go here for complete information. Many people who offer online trainings realize the tremendous stress that people are under, both emotionally and financially, and want to help as much as possible. I would like to make my training as accessible as possible. Please consider joining me for two hours a week starting May 19 to learn how mindfulness can transform how you eat, move, live, and grow.

10. Give thanks – Gratitude signifies an acknowledgement of what you already have or have been given. Surely the focus on the bounties of your life will bring much more joy than a focus on what’s perceived to be lacking. A famous meditation teacher summed it up when he said “to be happy–want what you have and don’t want what you don’t have.” One study actually looked at the difference between focusing on your blessings versus the hassles in your life, and counting your blessings resulted in feeling better about your life, feeling more optimistic about the upcoming week, having fewer physical complaints, and more time exercising. Give thanks for all that you have. Look for the good. This will serve you best.

Thanks for listening! I hope these tips help you to want to be healthy during this difficult time.