Coping TIPS During COVID
With news about the novel Coronavirus changing, with what seems like every minute, our anxiety levels around the world are flying high. When it comes to change, getting a diagnosis, not understanding the disease or how it may or may not affect you or your loved ones, it’s difficult to know how to cope with it. While quarantining at home with loved ones, by yourself, or the varying living situations, know that we are all in this together and you are not alone in how you feel. We’ve complied a few coping tips during COVID for you.
Here are a few tips from experts on how to cope with resiliency at home:
- Perspective. Use reliable sources like the CDC, NIH and reputable news sources. Having an understanding on the latest from leading experts can ground us in knowing how the world is coping and surviving. Seeing change happen as COVID-19 is more understood and having a clear understanding reduces anxiety and provides hope as things evolve and curves start to flatten.
- Balance. Limit the time you scope out articles online or watching news. Try to have a routine or schedule to give you more leverage on staying grounded and engaged in a lifestyle that encourages resiliency and an equilibrium between the new, work-home life.
- Feeling alone, together. Here is an article from the director at Office of Work/Life by the Harvard Gazette on how the world is coping with the new and changing tele-meeting world.
- Self-care. Stress and anxiety during this time is normal and expected. Practicing mindfulness, stress reduction techniques, and good physical hygiene can help with decreasing stress and anxiety. Being kind to your mind and body while having realistic expectations with oneself is paramount during an unprecedented time in our history. It’s okay to not know how to manage stress levels well. But making small strides towards tiny goals can help with feeling less stuck and provides a sense of control.
- Understanding Our Emotions.Here is an article from the Harvard Business Review on grief. Understanding our emotions during this time can give us better insight in how to deal with them. And if you’re more attune to Podcasts, here is one with David Kessler and one of my favorites, Brené Brown on coping and grief.Dr. Peled is a huge proponent of boosting immunity as it relates to not only your overall health but especially important to your breast health. These core ideas are no different than how we can best take care of ourselves during COVID. She always recommends:
- Rainbow Diet. The more varying and brighter the colors, the better! Try adding foods you’re not used to by adding squash, peppers or sweet potatoes. Some experts say that eating poorly isn’t an abundance of the “bad food,” rather, a lack of “good food” that has lasting health effects and increases cellular damage. Eating a mostly plant-based diet feeds your body and cells the micronutrients it needs in order to fight infections, heal after surgery and provide cellular longevity.
- Also, limiting foods high in sodium, added sugars and saturated fats have healthful benefits for our body and brain. If you are still making safe trips to the grocery store, as natural as it is to want to go for the boxed and long-lasting shelf life boxed items, try to limit the number of processed foods that are in your cart when possible.
- Choosing simple and healthy recipes like those from Bloom & Bundle can help make the stresses of a new home-life easier. You can double many recipes and freeze the leftovers that can last for 3-6 months with ease.
- Got kids? Have them get involved with helping in the kitchen, teaching them about where produce comes from or what family they belong to can increase their own interest in healthy eating. Making it fun is key and giving them age-appropriate jobs in the kitchen gives them agency while having them feel like a true member of the quarantine team!
- (Before changing your diet, always make sure to discuss this with our office, your medical oncologist and/or primary care providers, as some food items may be restricted with certain medications or metabolic disorders.)
- Exercise Regularly. Try to aim for 30 minutes of an elevated heart rate, daily. But be kind to yourself. Any exercise, whether performed in your living room, garage or (quarantined approved) outdoor space, count! However, increase as tolerated. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start slow and listen to your body, but keep a journal, tag a virtual buddy or ask for support from your family members, friends or community to help keep you on track to hitting your goals! Don’t know where to begin? PopSugar is a free app you can download on your phone or access right from your computer and will be linked to YouTube for at-home HIIT, yoga and bodyweight workouts right in the comfort of your own home. No workout equipment required to participate!
- Limit Alcohol. As it pertains to breast health for women, less than four alcoholic beverages a week are recommended. This also helps boost immunity, lowers your risk for infection and increases the rate of healing.
- Hydrate… Hydrate. Increasing your water intake is crucial for healing before and after surgery when fighting infections or generally staying healthy. As a baseline, sources recommend half your body weight, in ounces, daily. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, 75 ounces of water is the recommendation. (That is three of the large, SMART water bottles). 50 Shades of Avocado have some healthy recipes to doctor up water if you don’t particularly like that H20 taste.
- Sleep. As anxieties run high and no clear answers to questions we have about duration and lack of normalcy, this is much easier said than done. Restorative sleep is paramount for a boosted immune system and healthy coping mechanisms. Good sleep hygiene involves dimming lights in your house one to two hours prior to the time before wanting to be bed. Also, limiting TV and screen time (iPads, Kindles, cell phones, etc.) can also help in maintaining the natural release of your body’s melatonin. Still having difficulty falling or staying asleep? You can also try natural supplements like Kava root tea (no more than five cups per day), Valerian root tinctures or capsules or melatonin to help get you rest. Safely check out your local grocer like Sprouts, WholeFoods or even Trader Joes for these natural remedies. Always talk to our office or your primary care provider before starting these regimens as they can interact with medicines you might be currently taking.
You are not alone, even if you are physically or geographically isolated from your support, community or loved ones. Our office is also here for you and during this unrivaled time, as we are still working from home, making telemedicine phone calls and although rarely, coming into the office, to ensure our patients are well taken care of.
- Remember that even though we are physical distancing, being social and connecting with those we love is crucial during this time. Wash your hands, know your local ordinances before venturing out and please, stay safe.We are thinking of you.