Fostering social ties, enjoying moments of solitude, or taking care of sleep are basic routines to get out of confinement successfully.
The confinement is nothing ordinary. However, this change in the way of living and understanding reality is affecting daily life. Still with a few weeks of confinement ahead, finding habits that maintain health and comfort is essential to preserve general well-being and, why not, improve it.
A physician recruiter working closely with healthcare professionals, and especially psychologists explains that things like social ties, breaking sedentary lifestyles, eating properly, and even reinforcing patterns that induce sleep should be taken into account to successfully overcome quarantine.
Here are some things to focus on:
1. Digital meetings
Physical withdrawal is not a reason for emotional distancing. Zoom or House Party have become everyday tools to spend time with friends during the quarantine. In these moments of confinement, the relationship with the other is essential because it supposes support and emotional support.
However, when the link takes place through a screen, some skills are essential to develop it successfully. Factors such as negotiation, exchange, or leadership come into play. Although the most important thing is to do it from empathy, one of the pillars of emotional intelligence.
It is about establishing meaningful links and maintaining them, as well as identifying with the other because that generates happiness.
Regarding the theme of the meetings, there should be no taboo topics, but everything related to the problem of the pandemic should be briefly discussed. It’s better to share with a positive attitude.
One proposal is to brainstorm with friends or family to see what we can learn from the confinement
2. Protect yourself from blue light
If external aggressions were the skin’s nightmare in the pre-COVID-19 scenario, now our epidermis receives other offensives. When we are at home for a long time, the skin is also exposed to aggressions, such as excess blue light from technological devices, the effects of continuous hand washing, and, of course, increased stress.
The light emitted by the screen of the computer, smartphone, tablet, or television also triggers consequences for the skin. It can make it dry, as it causes a decrease in aquaporins, molecules that help the skin to maintain its hydration. There is also evidence that it can cause oxidative stress and induce spots on the skin.
It’s convenient to use serums with vitamin C due to its high antioxidant power, as well as maintaining correct hydration. We can also take antioxidant foods or supplements, one of the most powerful is Polypodium Lecuocotomos.
3. At least one hour a day alone
Those who have had to pass the quarantine alone do not need to worry about this aspect. But if the confinement is spent as a couple, family, or with a room-mate, it is important to find time for yourself. We are talking about a chosen solitude. Because those who do not know how to be with themselves are not capable of being with others. The appropriate period will be marked by individual needs, but specialists recommend a minimum of one hour.
The activity also depends on personal preferences, but they can range from reading to self-enjoyment, cooking, or just doing nothing. It would be great to take advantage of this space to reflect on the goals and objectives of life, who I am, and who I want to be. But all this only happens when you have an individual space.
4. Eat more fruit and vegetables
The experts assure that by itself, the diet does not cure the infection by coronavirus or any other virus. However, some nutrients contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system. Among them are folates, copper, selenium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc. This translates into a complete and varied diet that includes at least three servings of fruit and two of vegetables daily.
As for foods of animal origin, experts encourage maintaining a moderate consumption, limiting red meat once a week, and avoiding the consumption of sausages, cold cuts, and fatty meats of any animal.
In order not to go crazy in the kitchen with planning healthy menus, there are methods such as batch cooking. The approach is simple: prepare in a single day the various elements needed for different dishes. In just one session, at least four-day dishes are secured. This also helps you plan shopping lists and eat healthy every day.
5. Indulge in healthy treats
The stress of confinement can increase the desire for unhealthy options, such as processed foods and fast food. Due to its high energy density (due to its high fat and sugar content), its consumption is not recommended in general. Nor in periods of isolation or home quarantine, because they can increase the risk of being overweight or obese and other associated pathologies.
If it is a question of calming the cravings for snacking, there are also beneficial alternatives for the body. Nuts (walnuts, almonds, etc.) and seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, etc.) are great options according to dietitians/nutritionists.
6. Prepare for sleep from morning
Quarantine does not help sleep. However, a good rest is essential to reset during the night and maintain physical and mental health. Confinement alters three factors that correctly affect the phenomena that regulate sleep: exposure to sunlight at the right time, physical exercise routines, and social contact. Above all, the first three are powerful synchronizers of the biological rhythms, the circadian rhythm, and the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus.
For this reason, those who spend part of their lives confined, as crew members of submarines or cloistered monks, maintain iron routines in their day to day life. In this way, it is easier for the hormonal rhythms related to sleep to occur at the right time.
Getting up later than usual or taking a long nap are behaviors that disrupt this natural sleep rhythm. The important thing is to get out of bed at the usual time and expose yourself to light as soon as possible. Try having breakfast in the brightest room in the house.
Another aspect to take into account so as not to sabotage sleep is to avoid intense exercise when night approaches, it’s always better in the morning.
Also, the use of tablets or mobile phones at night should be avoided. The emission of light from these devices does not make it easier for our biological clock to give the proper orders to facilitate sleep.
7. Do relaxation exercises or meditate
Taking a break from the present and the outlook for the near future is not only healthy but necessary to maintain balance. And the most effective tool for reconnecting is meditation. It can help reduce anxiety, stress, and physiological over-activation resulting from being home-bound. Small and closed spaces generate more stress than wide and open spaces.
Mindfulness training involves learning some skills that can be excessively counter-intuitive, and without a qualified instructor can be difficult to learn in such a delicate time.
However, for those who want to try it, there are very short guided meditations (5 minutes) available on apps. For example, the mindfulness app Bambú has designed a free program – Keep Calm – that brings together special content to relieve anxiety.
8. Train daily
Although confinement has drastically limited the possibilities for physical activity, the body requires dynamism. Also, the rest of the systems, such as the cardiorespiratory, digestive, or even endocrine system need movement to function well.
Training daily is essential to meet the demands of the body, release energy, and emotions. Our body has certain needs for vigor and intensity to stimulate strength, endurance, or cardiovascular capacity. Exercise and training are going to cover them because simple movement integrated into everyday life will never reach the levels of effort required when training.
The options to get in shape at home are extensive, and there are all kinds of high and low-intensity workouts. Within these activities, yoga and Pilates are an option that fits in small spaces, and their benefits are numerous. You only need a mat or blanket on the floor and 20 minutes of your time.
The benefits of Pilates are multiple and some are common to any physical activity. The most remarkable thing about this method is that the joints are freed, the abdomen is strengthened, flexibility increases and posture improves.
Finally, the current health crisis is worrying, but it’s also an opportunity. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t survive it and come out stronger both mentally and physically!