Whether you’re looking for quick information, or want something to impress your friends at dinner, here’s our Featured 5 of the Week!
Navigating through COVID-19 can be stressful. Stress causes the body to produce increased amounts of cortisol. While these can be beneficial in the short-term, in the long run, stress can wreak havoc on the body, weakening our immune systems. This is why we’re here to give you our advice on the 5 best ways to help you manage your stress and strengthen your immune system during COVID and all year round!
5. Meditation and Breathing
One of the craziest things about humans is that when we are stressed out or anxious, sometimes we forget to breathe.
Meditation and breathing are incredibly important, and studies are showing that the benefits are endless. They can help decrease our stress levels, ease our anxiety, and put us into a more relaxed state of being. They have also been shown to help our emotional control and psychological well-being.
With the stress of schools returning, places opening back up, it can be a lot to handle. Allow yourself a few minutes every day to relax. It will help you become more present in life, combat COVID times with ease, and decrease stress levels, ultimately helping your immunity.
4. Turn off your Devices
Your phone. Your computer. Your tablet. Your TV. Just turn it off.
Over 90% of Americans have a smartphone and almost all of them rarely turn it off. Constantly being exposed to upsetting and stress-inducing content about the pandemic can wreak havoc on our bodies. By turning off our devices even just for an hour a day, it’s been shown we can create better connections with those around us, especially friends and family, sleep better, and become present.
We all need a break once in a while, so go screen-free for some time every day, forget about the stressors of the outside world and pandemic, and see how much better and more present you feel.
You knew it was coming. Sleep.
Sleep is so important when it comes to taking care of your body. It allows you to unwind, relax, and reset yourself to take on the next day. But, studies are showing that there is a relationship between stress and sleep. The hypothalamus in our bodies is key to regulating sleep. However, stress can activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) system, leading to insomnia and sleepless nights, which can then lead to more stress.
Stress and sleep deprivation seems like a never-ending cycle, but you can break it. Make sure you’re getting the sleep you need every night – 7 to 9 hours for adults. It will make all the difference in your body, and help you tackle anything that comes your way.
Exercise is probably one of the best things you can do for your body. It is so important to stay active during the day for both stress and your immune system.
Exercise is great for the body. It improves our cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, and keeps us healthy by controlling weight and fighting off diseases. Exercise helps our immune system by allowing for better blood circulation and contributing to an overall healthy body. Exercise can help with stress by decreasing both adrenaline and cortisol – the body’s stress hormones – and helping to produce endorphins, which are our mood boosters.
Your body will feel better. Your immunity will strengthen. Your waistline will shrink. Your mood will boost. And you’ll have the energy to take on anything.
1. Stay Connected
Between social distancing, working remotely, and protecting ourselves and others, it’s easy to feel both isolated and alone during COVID. That’s why staying connected to both friends and family is so critical for our mental health during the pandemic.
When we experience a lack of in-person contact, it can cause stress and loneliness, neither of which will help us fight a novel disease. But, with the technology we have today, it’s easy to get that face-to-face interaction without being in the same room. Between Google Hangout, Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Netflix Parties, Facebook video, and social gaming, the possibilities are endless. Sending a text or call is one thing, but getting face-to-face human connection can help the body and the mind.
So be sure to stay connected during COVID-19. And, if you are lucky enough to be surrounded by family or friends during the pandemic, be sure to check up on those who are by themselves. It will make all the difference.
The Bottom Line
The behaviors we have are just as important to protect ourselves from the virus as the food we eat. Be sure to take time for you during the pandemic, listen to your body, and become present in life’s everyday moments.
You may be wondering, “but where is the information about food?!” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at last week’s Featured 5 to learn what foods you can eat to protect yourself from COVID. And, for more, check out our other articles about foods that can strengthen your immune system:
- Boosting Your Health With Mushrooms
- 5 Benefits of Blueberries
- Are We Eating Away Our COVID Fears?
- You Are What You Eat