To say that COVID-19 has taken a toll on everyone’s physical and mental health is a huge understatement. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by it all, know that this is a very normal response.

While staying calm may seem impossible right now, there are small steps you can take to stay healthy and achieve inner peace.

Keep a journal

Journaling even a few times a week helps you clear your mind and focus on the present. By gaining this clarity, you can process stressful experiences and manage them better.

Many people journal to reduce stress and release negative thoughts and emotions. Whenever you’re feeling anxious, jotting down your feelings can help you identify the root of that stress. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can come up with a plan to resolve your worries and feel better.

Keeping a gratitude journal can help you focus on the positive things in your life. Research shows that gratitude can eliminate toxic emotions and improve mental health. Make it a habit to list at least five things you’re grateful for each day. Be specific and try focusing on people whom you are grateful rather than material things.

Stay active

workout

Lockdowns, social distancing and the closure of many gyms have made it harder to stay fit. And since exercise is directly linked to mental health, the lack of physical activity will only make it harder to stay focused and motivated during this time of uncertainty.

Exercise releases endorphins which are chemicals that help rejuvenate the mind, boost mood, and improve overall health. Physical activity can also improve sleeping patterns and strengthen the immune system. This is particularly essential for older adults today who face greater risk of COVID-19.

Staying physically fit can help ease stress and depression. Exercise is also a powerful tool in the management of chronic conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you have ample space, consider creating a home workout area. You can be creative with your activities such as using water bottles for resistance exercises or climbing stairs for strength training. Many fitness centers offer virtual yoga and Zumba classes. Or simply go to YouTube and get free access to a selection of workout videos you can follow anytime.

Practice mindful eating

It is more important than ever to fuel your body with healthy food. Eating nourishing meals rich in lean protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables can keep you physically and mentally healthy during stressful times.

As much as possible, avoid foods that can increase anxiety such as caffeine, sugar, and alcohol. Indulge your cravings but avoid going overboard as this can result in sluggishness. If you want to gain better control of your eating habits, visit a wellness center and speak to a licensed dietitian. These professionals can help you create a nutrition plan that will best suit your needs.

If you have family or friends living at home, make sure to eat at least one meal together. Doing so can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Cooking together can also strengthen bonds and reduce stress.

Practicing self-care can make a huge difference to how we cope with life’s uncertainties. It’s also the first step to strengthening relationships and being more available to others especially in these troubling times.

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