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Fifteen Steps to Enhance Your Health and Well-Being
It’s been almost ten months of staying glued to the news about Covid, practicing social isolation, balancing the needs of multiple family members who are learning and working from home, and fearing for one’s own health and the health of those around us. Our WJCS staff have led virtual classes, workshops, and support groups to help our clients practice wellness habits to help them stay strong, positive, and resilient during this challenging time. Here are some of their recommendations:
1. Stick to a schedule. At a time when our lives have been upended with enormous change, keeping to routines helps maintain a sense of normalcy.
2. Take time to exercise every day. Research has repeatedly shown that movement boosts our mood and mental health. With so many free fitness classes available on digital devices, there are many opportunities to try and fit some fitness into your day.
3. Get fresh air. Go for a short walk or spend a little time in your backyard to be invigorated, lighten your mood, and help you feel less confined.
4. Stay connected. Speak with friends and family via phone calls, Facetime, Skype, or zoom. It helps everyone feel less alone even if we are physically apart.
5. Call people who live alone. Just a quick phone call to elderly relatives and neighbors can ease their sense of isolation.
6. Eat healthfully. Boosting our immunity is especially important during the pandemic. Plan meals and snacks that include fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure you are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals. And keep meals interesting by trying new recipes.
8. Breathe deeply. Slow, deep abdominal breathing decreases a rapid heartbeat, stabilizes or lowers our blood pressure, and relaxes our minds and bodies. Breathing fully and slowly is a great way to destress.
9. Share your emotions. The pandemic has sparked enormous anxiety and, for those experiencing loss, grief. Allow yourself to experience and talk about your feelings. Expressing them will help you process them.
10. Learn a new skill. At a time when the world seems to have come to a standstill, learning a new language or skill or instrument can help you feel that you are growing and developing and enjoying new adventures.
11. Be mindful. Pay attention to where you are harboring stress in your body. Being alert to stress and breathing through it can help you relieve it.
12. Make time for yourself. As hard as it can be, especially if you are working from home while your child is learning remotely from home, make sure to find a few minutes each day for yourself. Take a bath, read a book, or call a friend. Self-care is not a luxury; it is essential to enabling us to fulfill our responsibilities and maintain calm at this critical time.
13. Practice gratitude. Each day think of something good in your life. There is more than enough to worry about but there is also plenty to be thankful for. It can take effort but direct your thoughts in a positive direction.
14. Express your love. Covid has reminded people of who and what they cherish in their lives. Sharing your loving feelings and showing you care will make your world and the world of those you love a better place.
15. Get help if you need it. The pandemic has put each of us into a challenging situation that is unlike we’ve ever known. If you are struggling, if you find yourself depressed or overly anxious or angry, seek professional assistance. WJCS is the largest provider of licensed outpatient community-based mental health services in Westchester.
You can learn more about the programs and services we offer at WJCS.com.