Mental Health and COVID-19: Tips for Your Wellness

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, and it’s putting new strains on our mental health. After all, as humans, we are both highly social and highly anxious creatures. We’ve evolved to have these qualities because they help us survive – but they also make this time of social distancing, uncertainty, and fear extremely difficult. Nevertheless, it is possible to remain calm and maybe even happy during this period of global crisis. It requires taking an intentional and proactive approach to mental health, which we’ll discuss below in these tips for staying mentally healthy amid coronavirus.
Stick to a routine. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing measures, and work-from-home requirements mean that we’re having to alter our daily routines significantly. But that doesn’t mean we have to let go of them entirely. In fact, doing so can lead us to feel disoriented, directionless, and unproductive. Sure, starting the day with two hours of Netflix may be fun for a day or two, but it soon starts to take a toll on mental health. Rather than giving into the tendency to shun routines in this time of vast change and uncertainty, create a new daily routine for yourself and/or your family, and stick to it. Following a routine is comforting and offers a sense of normalcy. It also boosts productivity and, when working from home, helps the day to feel more like a work day. With many of us having to balance work and watching children who are also stuck at home, it’s inevitable that our routines may change slightly from one day to the next – but having a basic pattern to follow each morning (i.e. wake up, eat breakfast, shower, get ready) is a fantastic way to set yourself up for a productive and relatively normal-feeling day.
Go outside. Many of us have been ordered to stay at home with the exception of essential travel, but most of these shelter-in-place orders include exceptions for outdoor activities like hiking so long as we maintain a safe distance from others (about six feet). Staying inside all day is a recipe for stir-craziness and claustrophobia. As often as possible, get outside, whether it’s by yourself or with others in your household. Play family games in the backyard. Walk the dog around the neighborhood. Go for a hike at a local nature trail. Enjoying the great outdoors makes us feel happier, offers a sense of freedom, and keeps cabin fever at bay – not to mention, it’s a great way to wear kids out and keep them happy. Just be sure to stay at least six feet away from others (excluding household members) at all times.
Minimize your exposure to news media. While it’s important to stay informed about things that affect our health and safety, checking the news every hour during a time like this can be detrimental to mental wellness. Realistically, you will be fine without knowing the number of new coronavirus cases or deaths in a certain country – in fact, you’ll probably be better off not knowing. Checking the news obsessively can lead to feelings of hopelessness, depression, and constant fear. Try a system where you and another adult in your household take turns checking the news once each day. This way, you’ll stay informed about any important updates in your area, but won’t become overloaded by doom and gloom.
Meditate. Despite common misconceptions, everyone is capable of meditating. It’s not easy and at times may feel uncomfortable, but it’s one of the best things we can do for our mental health. Meditation trains our brains to remain focused on the present moment rather than becoming lost in anxiety and fears about the future. Start by focusing on your breath for just five minutes a day – paying attention to the slow rise and fall of your inhale and exhale. Let it soothe you, like the sound of waves rising and falling in the ocean. Many people find it helpful to either begin or end their meditation practice by reading a calming passage from the Bible.
When anxiety was great within me
Your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:19

Physical Health and COVID-19: Tips for Staying Fit and Active

Across the nation and the entire world, gyms and sports clubs are closing their doors in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. But does that mean we have to put a temporary stop to our fitness plans, or put physical health on the backburner? Not at all! There are still a number of ways to get the exercise that we need, now more than ever, for both our physical and mental health. Let’s discuss.
Indoors – YouTube fitness videos. Gone are the days when we had to pay for high-quality workout videos. Now, they’re available for free online with just a few clicks of your mouse. YouTube has expert fitness instructors who can teach you everything from at-home kickboxing to yoga to wheelchair-friendly workouts. Fitness Blender is a great place to start because it has workout videos for people at all different levels, from those who have never tried working out a day in their life to the total fitness junkies. They’re simple, easy-to-follow, no-nonsense workout videos. For yoga, which is a great fitness activity for keeping the mind and body healthy, Yoga with Adriene is an incredible free resource for experienced yogis and beginners alike. She offers many practices tailored to individual physical abilities, like wheelchair yoga and yoga for seniors.
Outdoors – Going for walks. Did you know that walking for just 20 minutes per day can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by eight percent? Walking is also a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air after being cooped up in your house all day. Nearly all shelter-in-place orders include exceptions for walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities, so long as you maintain a distance of at least six feet from others. Take advantage of this by going for a stroll with your household members or your dog, or go by yourself and enjoy the peaceful solitude.
Indoors/Outdoors – Playing with kids (and grandkids). While having children and grandchildren stuck at home is certainly a challenge, it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your family relationships. What better way to bond with the kids in your household than by playing with them? Playing with kids will get you up and moving all around the house and backyard, whether it’s hide-and-seek, capture the flag, or duck duck goose. These games are a great way to increase your steps, and to tire kids out – remember, tired kids tend to be happier and more well-behaved.
Indoors – Cooking healthy meals together as a family. Many of us are paying more attention to eating healthy as a result of COVID-19 and in an effort to boost our immune systems. With everyone stuck at home together, it’s the perfect time to involve the whole family in cooking healthy meals and, in the process, teach children about nutrition. Cooking together is an excellent way to bond as a family, and after all, what kid doesn’t love playing in the kitchen? Easy-to-find, immune-boosting foods include oranges, lemons, limes, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, yogurt, and almonds.

Thanking Our Healthcare Professionals During COVID-19

When deciding to become a nurse, doctor, or physical therapist, few people consider the possibility that they might have to work the frontlines of a global pandemic. And yet, that’s exactly what we see our healthcare professionals doing now: bravely putting themselves at risk to watch over the rest of us.
Neither the Hippocratic oath nor the Nightingale pledge say anything about working during a pandemic. Rather, doctors and nurses are guided by a strong moral compass that goes above and beyond what they pledge to do at the start of their careers. Healthcare professionals have within them a drive to help people, no matter how difficult or dangerous it becomes to do so. This isn’t something expected or required of them; it’s an innate quality that motivates doctors and nurses to help in times of crisis. Their drive is so strong that most would rather put themselves in grave danger than not practice their craft.
Saying thank you to our healthcare professionals is no small feat. After all, how can you adequately thank someone who’s quite literally saving the world? Even if our efforts to show gratitude fall short of their efforts to save lives, we can still try. Thanking doctors, nurses, and all physicians who are helping out during this time is the least we can do.
Thank you, healthcare professionals, for taking a risk every day by coming into work to help us. Thank you for doing your best to save lives, even as hospitals become overcrowded and your work gets harder to do. Thank you for watching over our seniors and folks with preexisting conditions. Thank you for helping our family members, friends, and loved ones.
Thank you for continuing to come to work as so many of us stay home and keep away from others to protect our health. You don’t have the same luxury, and for that reason, we all feel for you and for your families. We don’t expect you to put your health at risk for us, but you do anyway, and for that we are all deeply grateful.
Whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God
the Father through him.
 Colossians 3:17
At HealthKeeperz, our home health professionals are a part of something much larger: a mission to care for all for the glory of God. Throughout this time of uncertainty and upheaval, they continue to embody this idea in a bold and beautiful way. We’re so proud to call our doctors, nurses, PTs, and OTs part of the HealthKeeperz family. Their unwavering passion for providing care is incredible, and we can’t thank them enough for it.