Navigating stay-at-home orders, working from home, schooling from home and the myriad other new things that are now a daily part of life are stressful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with each new development and all the unknowns that surround our lives because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Chinese medicine offers something old and grounding to turn back to during this time.
The idea that supporting mental health is a significant factor in supporting physical health is a central tenet of traditional Chinese medicine. Beyond acupuncture and herbal remedies, TCM takes a holistic approach to health that includes simple things you can do each day to foster physical health through supporting that mind-body connection.
Here are five things you can incorporate into your daily routine to mitigate stress and stay healthy right now.
Sleep. Get enough sleep! Your body does a significant amount of healing each night while you’re asleep. Don’t lose track of any helpful routines you have to help yourself get restful sleep each night. If you don’t have any, consider incorporating a dedicated routine of winding down each evening to get your body ready for sleep. Putting away your phone, drinking a cup of herbal tea, light reading/ a novel or some poetry, or doing some simple yoga stretches are all ways to signal to your body that it’s time to start winding down for the day. Try to go to sleep at the same time each evening too; while so many things are up in the air, your sleep schedule shouldn’t be one of them, and your body will thank you for that.
Hydrate. Drinking enough water is another one of the simplest ways to stay healthy in your body and mind. If this is a hard one for you, adding some lemon or cucumber to your water can make it more enjoyable. Make it a goal to drink about a cup of water each hour throughout the day. It’s amazing how big of a difference this can make.
Move. Move your body! Even five minutes each day will make a difference. Incorporate movement into your day in whatever way is most palatable to you. That might be going on a walk, having a dance party with your kids, or moving through some yoga poses. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, there are more free online exercise and yoga resources than ever, if having some guidance will help you to incorporate movement into your day.
Eat well. Don’t let go of healthy eating habits right now. When we’re stressed, it’s really easy to want comfort in any form, including comfort food (which is totally understandable!)…but make sure you’re eating vegetables, fruits, healthy fats and protein as well. Again, with everyone stuck at home, free online recipes for your quarantine abound. Making sure your body is well-nourished is one of the best things you can do for long-term physical and mental health.
Go easy on yourself. Do what you can for yourself and those around you. It’s okay if you’re unable to maintain these things all the time. Even small efforts can have a big impact!