A Word from Our Experts: Living Well Can Be Our New Normal
We polled our experts to find out what they are doing in this COVID new normal we are currently living in and what they plan to take with them as we transition (hopefully soon) into a world post-COVID. Spanning all the ways this pandemic has affected us as a society, as a community, and as an individual person, here are a few of our musings on what we’ve found especially valuable through this experience and how to put that awareness into our lives moving forward. Which will you add to your new normal?
Get Some Sleep!
Dr. First is focused on catching his zzz’s to maintain a strong immune system since it is maintained while we sleep. He'll be focusing on getting a quality seven to eight hours per night and will be using R3SET Calm and Unwind to do it. He also points out that keeping to some sleep hygiene musts like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, cutting out screens before bed, and nixing caffeine after 1 pm are important steps to getting a restorative rest.
“Scrub-In Like a Surgeon”
How many times are you washing your hands each day as a result of COVID -- probably a lot! Michelle had this to say about the future of hand-washing, “Yes, I washed my hands before COVID-19, but not with the frequency and attention that I am doing now. It makes me feel better to ‘scrub in like a surgeon.’ I’m curious about the impact of this habit, going forward, in terms of the flu rates in the country.”
Who hasn’t been inspired to get some more exercise in? Our team is no different. Amelia’s been developing a new workout routine, pushing herself out of her comfort zone (by doing a lot more cardio). However you do it, swim, box, bike, or whatever else, book an extra sweat sesh this week.
It’s Puzzling (but not really)
Michelle noticed her family (like everyone else) has been a little obsessed with puzzles during this time. There are mindful meditative benefits of doing activities like this because they consume your focus and keep you busy with repetitive actions. Jigsaw puzzles in particular are noted for improving short-term memory.
Fun with Food
A few of our experts are getting culinarily creative. Lori has been meal-planning with her family, saying, ”I either played "Iron Chef" with my farm share or pretended to be a restaurant critic (Yelp counts, right?) at the thousands of NYC hot spots. I had such privilege with so many choices and such spontaneity with food. Now, my focus is on using what's in the pantry and limiting grocery shopping to every two weeks and meal-planning has become my new game. I stretch my planning muscles, am more creative with substituting ingredients, and waste nothing as I recycle leftovers into something new. ("Wrap a tortilla around it" is a farm-share strategy that also works well for leftovers, with added cheese, of course). Amelia has been baking with her kids, teaching them about food, flavors, and textures, which she says, “Has made me more mindful of them as well.”
Serving the Community
Community service, no matter how it manifests, has also been a big focus with our experts. Dr. First is focused on being more compassionate, understanding, and patient with others. He’s also believes this time has brought some big issues into focus, saying we need to, “Amplify the need to address and fund mental health research to help the many thousands if not millions that have been affected by this pandemic physically, emotionally and spiritually.”Amelia has been of service making videos and writing blogs to help people understand and manage their anxiety. Our resident yoga guru has added a new class to her plate, Friends and Family Yoga. Lori stays, “I started a friends & family class on Sunday mornings to replace the class my mom had been attending at her gym. It's been such a delight and other friends have invited their parents to join, so it's a multigenerational class with pets and kids also jumping in there. I feel like it's a way for me to share my yoga practice and teaching with those I love and give us a chance to breathe, move, and rest together.”
All of our experts mentioned relationships. There’s a lot of ways to do it, mostly just being sure to reach out. Connect with friends and family using the phone, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or for the old school, the lost art of letter writing. Not only does staying in touch keep you in the know about how everyone is doing, it also reduces anxiety and depression by feeling connected during a time of isolation.
Reflect and Renew
It’s hard not to reflect on life during a pandemic. Lori uses these six questions to plan and reflect on her day, regardless of quarantine times:! There's science behind each question, and she made her own version to post on one of her walls. She also added a seventh question about laughter to, “...make it our own and give me an excuse to tickle the 10-year-old I'm staying with. Win-win: we both erupted into giggles and practiced R3SET Day 2 challenge: OMG LOL. At breakfast, we use the questions to share our plans for the day and dinner time turns into a stand up routine trying to make each other laugh.”It’s also important to look for beauty in the moment. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s how much we may not have been living in the moment. In an effort to check the boxes and cross off the to-do’s, it can be weeks and months (hopefully not years, but no judgement), until we stop and enjoy the moment. Now, with all this time to reflect, we as a society are starting to remember moments are the good stuff, the white filling in the OREO of life, so to speak. Make sure yours is a Double Stuff.
Expressing Genuine Gratitude
We’ll end off our post-COVID practices list with something that’s really come into focus over the last few months -- Appreciating the essential workers that keep our country going, especially, those who make minimum wage. We want to continue to genuinely say, “Thank you” and advocate for a living wage for these crucial individuals.
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