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Staying happy healthy and productive during the era of social distancing

Are You Working From Home And Having Trouble Feeling Sharp And Focused?

We’re being asked by the Canadian government to cooperate in slowing the spread of the novel Coronavirus by limiting our social contact as much as possible. With restaurants and gyms closing their doors, some of us are being asked to embrace a different lifestyle.

This change can be stressful for some as we are used to having the ability to socialize with friends and family, participate in dining out, classes or wellness appointments to cope with the daily stresses of life. So what can we do to maintain our sanity during this time of home-bound isolation, especially if we’re expected to have to work from home?

01. Go for a brisk walk in the morning. Vitamin D from natural sunlight can boost your immune system. Going out to get sunlight in the morning can also have a positive effect on recalibrating your circadian rhythms. Just make sure you don’t sneeze on someone 😉

02. Meditate before diving into work. Gratitude, focusing, imagery, body scan, yoda nidra, or silent meditation — its your choice. Whatever meditation you choose, set the tone for the day by starting with mindfulness. My favourite meditation app is Insight Timer.

03. Give your body a one-minute stretch once an hour. Sitting in once place creates tension in your body. Staring at a screen can create eye-strain. Muscle tension sends signals to your brain that you’re stressed. When you’re stressed you might experience it as anxiety. Give your eyes and body a break. Move in whatever way feels good and natural. Stretch out on a yoga mat. Dance to your favourite song.

04. Mindfully eat. Turn meal time into a mindfulness break. While prepping, think about where you produce came from. Is it local or was it shipped in from somewhere? How far did it have to travel to get onto your plate? Put away your electronics while eating and allow yourself to really start to salivate at the sight of your food. Look at the all the colours. The digestive enzymes in your saliva will start the digestive process even before you chew (this is something my naturopath taught me when I was experiencing issues with indigestion). As you chew, think about the tastes and textures and getting the food down into little pieces. This puts less stress on your digestive system so your body can put it’s energy into other things like fighting off viral infections 🙂

05. 30-min workout break – I find that when I work from home, I tend to hit a wall at 4PM and my body starts crying for a vigorous workout. The surge of bloodflow allows back to get right back into whatever I was doing with more creativity and mental flexibility. Find your favourite instagram fitness guru and follow their workout program.

06. Make a list of to-do’s and priortize. Personally, it takes a load off my mind when I don’t have to juggle a mental to-do list. It helps me focus when I number the items in order of priority. I may not necessarily follow the prioritization list to a T— I treat it as a guide rather than a rigid structure. Take a couples minutes in the evening before you go to bed to jot down the things you want to get done the next day, so they’re not rattling around in your head as you’re trying to sleep. The next day, you’ll be ready to jump into what you need to do.

07. Limit time spent on consuming the news. It’s helpful to be aware of the changes in the world but remain critical about what you hear. Know that it is the media’s job to create interest and fear in consumers so that people continue to pay for subscriptions. This is how news channels make money. Limit yourself to a couple trusted news source such as information from the Canada.ca website. Refrain from “group think”, that is, doing what everyone is doing; think critically and make sure your behaviours are align with your values, beliefs, and better judgement.

08. Spend time connecting with the members of your household. Learn something about your housemate that you didn’t know before. Play a board game. Talk about something that inspires you. Talk about your dreams and goals. Process a moment of contention by talking about how that experience made you feel.

09. Check-in with an online clinical counsellor if you’re feeling anxious or depressed or have other mood related issues. We’re literally a click of a button away. With limited access to the typical activities you would engage in to distract yourself from your emotions, you might experience an increase in anxiety, or distracting, intrusive thoughts. Visit our page on Online Counselling to find out more about teletherapy.

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By Angela Leong
Mar 19, 2020