Real Talk

4 Ways To Stay Healthy and Happy During Social Distancing

At the end of the day, sometimes all you need is a giant hug.

Did you know that babies who are held and touched more are reported to be happier and healthier? Truth be told, this doesn’t really change when you get older.

Social distancing may help slow the spread of COVID-19, but it isn’t helping to fight against the loneliness epidemic.

With social distancing spanning across the nation, and the globe, this is becoming harder. Especially if you live alone, like me, remaining connected is a struggle. Here are four actions you can take right now to feel connected.

1. Bump up your at-home fitness routine.

Your health is more important than ever. Take this as an opportunity to prioritize getting active, and yes, you can do so within your very own home. Just the other day I was using a stool, my love seat and a box of grains to get in a workout. It doesn’t have to be that DIY, many health and wellness sites have kindly begun to offer free classes streamed online ranging from yoga to H.I.T. all the way to guided meditations to help reduce stress and anxiety. Check out a few of my favorites:

  • CorePower Yoga On Demand: CorePower is offering FREE classes streamed online. This studio is basically the creme de la creme of yoga studios (in my opinion…and I’m a certified yoga instructor) so hop onto their site and enjoy access to their library of classes.
  • Nike Training Club: This App offers bodyweight and weighted exercises with 4 to 6-week training programs. I am sure if you want to get sweaty, you’ll find something tailored for you here.
  • Youtube: This is the world’s second-largest search engine where you can find just about any style of workout or home exercise tip. Guided meditations are everywhere and all of this is completely free.

2. Host a virtual party.

Although you can’t go out to bars or have a big dinner party, you can still stay connected to friends and get together -virtually. I have plans to have a coffee date with some girlfriends in the morning and am planning a virtual entertainment party for next weekend!

Although we aren’t physically together, you can still feel connected through words, and through seeing each other’s smiling faces. During this time, don’t be afraid to speak openly about what you need, don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. Because this is when we have the opportunity to help each other the most. How wonderful is that!

3. Practice self-love.

Yes, indulge in those extra face masks (even though you likely don’t need them since you are no longer touching your face)…but, there is so much more to self-love than that.

It might be a painful thing to do but, evaluate your budget and finances. Consider where you have been overspending and where you could cut back. Evaluate any debt and take this time to consider your best financial steps forward. Being financially healthy plays a huge role in your overall mental and physical health. I love the site Mint, it holds all of your finances in one place and helps to set up budgets that you can track and trend over time.

Reflection is one of the most powerful tools for growth and learning. You are one of your greatest teachers, it really comes down to spending time observing yourself and being honest. When you have extra time away from the office and not going out to see friends, dedicate some of that time to journal, to reflect and to reconnect with yourself. Some really great thought-proving questions you could ask yourself are:

  • When you walk into the room, how does it change? (ie: calming people, making others laugh, lightening the mood)
  • What do you value more than anything? (For me its: freedom, connection, competition, and expression)
  • What do you do that makes time disappear?

4. Create something.

I know most people are talking about binge-watching the entire Netflix library, but what if instead of consuming content, you created it? I have been talking with my group of actor friends and everyone is picking up that screenplay they wanted to work on, or refining a monologue for auditions or working on editing film. Spend this extra time alone to build something beautiful, moving and entertaining.

If art isn’t your thing, look to remodel a part of your home, take that online class that teaches you a skill set you have been wanting to grow. Instead of burning your face in a screen, do what you have always wanted to do. There really are no excuses right now to hold you back from it.

The world needs art more than ever, the world needs to be reminded of the beauty we can create more than ever. Spend time creating something that sparks inspiration, makes people laugh and reminds us of why we are here.

These are really small actions you can take to remain busy and stay connected with people, hobbies, and habits you love. It isn’t so much social distancing as it is physical distancing. Stay connected.

This article first appeared in Medium.

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