Health Matters Now Week 3

How to Support Your Mental Health During a Crisis  

With social distancing, quarantine and isolation becoming commonplace during this uncertain time – that is the COVID-19 crisis – feelings of fear, anxiety and depression can increase. Read on for healthy ways to cope with these emotions and other common ones you may be experiencing during a crisis (whether personal or global) and where to seek help if you need it. 


Increased fear, anxiety and depression are common emotions you may experience during a crisis, especially a global one that involves quarantine and social distancing. As we navigate these uncertain times, stress can send a person into overload if they ignore their mental health. 

Healthfully coping with stress, fear, anger, boredom, frustration, anxiety, depression, and the many other emotions that are normal for you to experience during these times can only make you, your family and your community stronger. Here are some ways to support yourself during a personal or global crisis: 


Don’t overload on the news. Stay up to date, but do not check the news 24/7. This is especially triggering for anxiety. Limit your media exposure as much as possible. 


Stick to a normal routine. Maintaining some semblance of structure in your daily life is important so you don’t fall into a lethargic lifestyle, which could lead to harmful thinking patterns. Here are a few ways to stick to a routine: 

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time. 
  • Try to exercise every day, even if it’s just a YouTube workout video. Getting your body moving is healthy for you mentally, emotionally and physically. 
  • Shower and put on normal clothes each day. 
  • Eat meals at regular times and be mindful of unhealthy or binge eating. 
  • Keep your home environment clean and organized. 


Start a new quarantine ritual. Instead of thinking about how you’re “stuck at home”, try reframing this thinking to “I can focus on my home and myself and/or my family.” Use this time as an opportunity to focus on your internal world. Try to tackle long-avoided tasks, create something you’ve always wanted to, reorganize, and slow down. Take the time to reconnect with your family members and take it one day at a time. 


Connect with others. Reaching out to loved ones is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom during social distancing. Use your phone, email, text messaging, and social media to connect with friends, family and others. Talk “face to face” with friends and loved ones using Zoom, Skype or FaceTime. 


Engage in positive stress management techniques. 

  • Relax often by taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating or praying, exercising, and engaging in activities you enjoy. Try to get outside each day, even if it’s just for a five-minute walk. 
  • If you’re engaging in a stressful activity, do something fun after you finish a hard task. 
  • Talk to loved ones about how you’re feeling, if you find it helpful. 
  • Disconnect from technology. At least for one hour each day, completely disconnect from electronics. Use this time to read a book or work on a craft or hobby instead. 


Talk to a professional if your feelings become unmanageable. Many licensed psychologists are offering telehealth options over HIPAA-compliant video chat platforms. Remember to reach out for help if your anxiety is reaching proportions that is unmanageable without professional help. 


If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions, such as sadness, depression, anxiety, or you feel like you want to harm yourself or someone else, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). 


No Gym, No Problem 

You’ve Got Workout Options! 

Do you work during the week and find it hard to devote free time to exercise? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, all you might need for a fantastic workout is a half-hour and an internet connection. One of the benefits of technology is the ability to share videos online. There are tons of free workout channels available for use whenever you want. Below you will find a list of eight workout channels that require very little to no equipment, and you can complete these exercises within the privacy of your home:

  1. Fitness Blender

Fitness Blender is a husband and wife team. Daniel and Kelly believe “that if you make a clean, wholesome diet and regular exercise a priority, your overall health and quality of life will improve, and your physical appearance will naturally reflect that, as well.” 

Fitness Blender offers over 300 workouts that range anywhere from beginner, low-impact exercise routines to advanced, high intensity interval training (HIIT). 

Click here to access free Fitness Blender workouts. 

  1. Tone It Up

Karena and Katrina are the founders of Tone It Up and are real-life best friends and business partners. Together, they offer a comprehensive fitness channel that emphasizes short workouts (about 20 minutes or less) that range from HIIT to Pilates and yoga to strength training. Their videos have a fun vibe and generally take place right on the beach. 

Click here to access free Tone It Up workouts. 

  1. POPSUGAR Fitness

This workout channel gives “fresh fitness tutorials and workouts that will help you on your road to healthy living, weight loss and stress relief,” according to their website. POPSUGAR Fitness videos cover trends, such as Tabata, P90X, Bar Method and more. Their videos span from beginner to advanced. 

Click here to access free POPSUGAR Fitness workouts. 


Cooking Tips and Tools 

Simple Shortcuts to Healthier Eating During COVID-19 

Home cooking is a great way to eat healthier. Are you trying to prepare more home-cooked meals but running into the dilemma of a busy schedule? Healthy cooking can be quick. Discover several kitchen shortcuts to get the most out of meal planning and prepping with these tips: 

  • Wash and chop vegetables and fruits as soon as you get home from the store. 
  • Snack smart. Place your washed and chopped vegetables and fruits in containers for easy grab-and-go snacks. 
  • Buy pre-washed leafy greens, like spinach and kale. 
  • Cook large amounts of rice, quinoa and other grains. Use what you need for one recipe then freeze the rest. 
  • Freeze leftover ingredients, like tomato paste and pesto. Add them to an ice cube tray, freeze, then place in a dated and labeled freezer bag. 
  • Have a few extra hours on your day off? Prep several items at one time. 
  • Add one to two pounds of chicken breast or thighs and about one cup of chicken broth to the slow cooker and cook on high for four to six hours. Shred with two forks or a stand mixer, then use later in the week for tacos, salad or stir fry. 
  • Roast fresh or frozen (thawed) vegetables in the oven at 425 F for 20 minutes. 
  • Sauté onions and peppers and add lean ground beef with Italian seasoning (for pasta), or taco seasoning (for tacos, burritos, or quesadillas). 




You and Yours 

Managing Your Children’s Education During COVID-19 


With school districts closing for months or for the remainder of the school year, many parents are struggling with how to continue educating their school-age children while managing their job responsibilities.  


One thing we don’t want to mistake this unprecedented period with is the term ‘homeschooling.’ Homeschooling is not what we as parents are doing during this crisis period. Typical homeschooling includes weekly outings for enrichment and socialization such as visits to museums, parks, the zoo, and meeting up with other children and small groups. 


This unprecedented time period, which for many means confined to our own household, is a learning process on how to function the best we possibly can, while managing work and school schedules. 


Things parents can do: 

  • Be realistic. Avoid comparing yourself to others online and take time to figure out what works for you and your family. 
  • Maintain a schedule. Children work best while following a schedule. They love to know what is next, however, fun and free play should also be included. 
  • Be flexible. If you or your children need a break from your new normal routine, change it up. Is it nice outside in the morning but rain in the afternoon? Take a walk and bike ride in the morning and work on schoolwork in the afternoon or evening.   
  • Give yourself some grace. We are all learning what this “new normal” is and everyone is in unchartered territory. If the day doesn’t go as planned, such as your child throws a tantrum because he didn’t want to complete his math work, or your spouse is extra moody, remind yourself (and others in your household), to take a deep breath, change up your current routine and perhaps take a walk. 
  • Work on non-school focused learning. Children can learn a great deal while doing household chores such as helping in the kitchen, laundry, cleaning, budgeting, and pet care. 
  • Fit in time for yourself. Although it may seem impossible to juggle your work and children’s schoolwork, even taking 10 minutes to yourself to meditate, stretch or read can help you recharge. 
  • Reassure your children. Our children are experiencing unchartered territories as well, so expect challenging behaviors, poor sleep patterns, and picky eating. Stay positive by offering positive feedback for good behavior. 


Also, remind yourself that this will pass. Try looking at this time as a way to re-access what is important, what you value, and what you may want to change when life gets back to normal.