The COVID-19 outbreak has proven to be a stressful time for many individuals, particularly for New Yorkers. Not only are we subject to the fear and anxiety associated with the unknown, but many may also be experiencing feelings of grief and isolation. Finding ways to reduce stress during these tough times is important to keep our immune systems strong. Below are 3 simple tips you can utilize to manage your mental health during this time to keep stress at a minimum.
Eat At Least 3 Well-Balanced Meals Throughout the Day
Since the outbreak, you may be feeling as if your eating habits are more sporadic. One way to eat more routinely throughout the day is to set a meal schedule. Make sure you are eating at least every 4 hours to avoid extreme hunger. Focus on filling your plate with lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats so you are satisfied. Consuming more well-balanced meals throughout the day can help you feel more energized and contribute to a more stable mood. Additionally, you may benefit from light meal prepping to remove added stress surrounding cooking. Remember, frozen vegetables, microwaveable grains, and canned beans or vegetables are always convenient, simple ways to contribute to a balanced diet if you’re short on time or energy to cook a big meal.
In the NYC area, gyms have remained closed since the outbreak, so we know it’s more difficult to get in your daily exercise. But moving our bodies one way or another is important to our mental health and ability to cope with stressful situations. Not only does it release mood-lifting endorphins, stepping away from your computer or phone can help decrease stress related to work or the news. You don’t need to make exercise complicated, and always make sure you pick an activity you enjoy! Simply taking a 30 minute walk outside in the sunshine can boost up your mood.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleeping is a regenerative process, and getting adequate sleep each night (around 8 hours is preferred!) can help your body’s internal systems run smoothly. It’s also critical for our productiveness, keeping us mentally sharp and focused. Creating a sleep schedule and limiting screen time at night are great ways to get a better night's rest. As we’ve recommended before, a meditation app, like Calm or Headspace, can really help you unwind and prepare for a night of restorative sleep.