Focus on your health and wellness during the COVID-19 crisis

Take the extra time you have at home to build a routine that includes fitness, learning and eating well.

These are challenging times indeed, for all of us. No one will deny it. Yet there is a silver lining — a lesson of sorts — for all of us amidst this chaos we now call our everyday living.

Let’s take this time to focus on fitness, learning and eating well every day, to allay our fears, anxieties and cope with all the stress, while keeping our bodies healthy and our minds hopeful.

With the coronavirus quarantine, we have more time to devote to exercise and chores, new hobbies, quality time with family and cooking healthy meals. Making our daily activities fun goes a long way toward keeping a positive mindset. Yes — we can still have fun!

Let’s think beyond our normal routines and entertain new ideas to create a more health-forward daily schedule.

Cook together. Teach your children basic nutrition and culinary skills by letting them help prepare meals. This hands-on time will go a long way in developing healthy eating habits and establishing the value of home-cooked meals. In addition to learning preparation skills, they will learn how to handle food safely.

Go over the importance of washing fruits and vegetables. Teach them how to make vegetable soup, applesauce or trail mix. Do a home science experiment like sprouting seeds or beans to use in salads.

Stay connected. That means engaging in online worship services, having telephone or video conferencing meetings, or FaceTime calls with friends and family. For example, my book club is planning to do a walking book discussion at a local trail to practice social distancing and enjoy the outdoors.

Stay active. You don’t need your gym to stay fit. Use your own body weight, exercise bands or canned food to keep your strength-training going. You can find myriad fitness routines online that you can do at home to keep moving.

Being outside has been shown in several studies to boost mood and overall well-being. So go for a walk, hike or bike ride, or play tennis at a nearby court. Take your kids to the ball fields and play catch. Or simply draw with sidewalk chalk.

Keep learning. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Trouble springs from idleness.” Take an online course, learn a new craft by watching a YouTube video, or click on educational TV channels like PBS or the History Channel. If you like nature and wildlife, I just recently watched “The Life of Birds” on PBS. It was a beautiful and fascinating up-close look at how birds live.

We can all learn new coping skills, as well as ways to be healthier and more productive during this time of crisis. We might even find that we like our stay-at-home routine better — and be better off for it.

Kim Larson is a registered dietitian nutritionist, certified health and wellness coach. She is the author of “Reducing Blood Pressure for Beginners: A Cookbook for Eating and Living Well.” Visit www.totalhealthrd.com or www.facebook.com/totalhealthnutrition for more. Follow her on Twitter @healthrd. Disclaimer: This is for information only and not intended as personal medical advice.

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