May 25, 2020
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Coping with COVID-19 by the numbers

George Danby | BDN
George Danby | BDN

Follow the social distancing rule of a minimum of 6 feet.

Meditate or practice deep breathing either on your own or with an app at least 15 minutes daily.

Set a timer and at least four times per day check in with one of your five senses. Concentrate on the feeling of a soft blanket around your shoulders, the smell of a meal cooking, the taste of a small piece of dark chocolate, the sound of music, or the sight of some puffy clouds.

Limit social media time to two separate 10 to 15 minute increments or specifically check in with five friends and log out!

Sleep eight hours per night and nap, if able, for 15 minutes a day.

Consume seven to 10 servings of fruit and veggies per day, provided you are one of the lucky ones who has the access and resources. Antioxidants are always our best friends but never more so than now.

Exercise outdoors for a minimum of 20 minutes per day. Sunlight and movement will burn off some of those stress hormones and provide the brain chemicals needed for focus, clarity and calm.

Consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, not just to stay hydrated, but because dehydration alone can increase your heart rate, which may trigger the mind to have more anxious thought patterns. The body/mind connection is very powerful. The same applies for low blood sugar so make sure you do not go more than four or five hours without food.

Make a list of four specific things you would like to get done everyday and cross them off as you achieve them. This doesn’t just help keep you productive, but assures that your brain notices your positive actions and successes. This will have you producing chemicals that enhance your ability to view yourself as coping well — because you are.

Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds any time there is a question of exposure from public areas, contact with others, before eating etc.

Laugh with someone on the phone, virtually or in person daily and every single other opportunity that arises!

Thank three people daily for something they have done for you during the current crisis or in the past, it does not matter. Gratitude offers connection hormones that reduce stress and anxiety.

Reduce clutter at least one time a day. Clutter represents postponed decisions for many and can hike up your baseline stress.

Three times a day, tell yourself it is OK to sometimes become fearful and lose track of the present moment, as this is an uncertain time. This is normal and you are decreasing its frequency just by simply noticing when it happens and offering yourself kindness.

Devise a short checklist for daily habits you are performing that are keeping you well (either ones suggested above or add/take away your own). It is completely normal for your mind to grasp onto the risks and exposure and slide into the worry loop and this response can decrease your immunity. Notice endlessly all the positive things you are doing to stay well.

Reach out for professional guidance if unable to cope. This is new territory, but we all possess unique reasons to stay well and serve the people in our families and communities when they need us the most.

Shawna Oliver of Bangor is a wellness coach and former registered nurse.

 


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