No one knew how long the pandemic would last when the first posts about life during COVID-19 were published months ago, but most people expected — however hopefully — that it would somehow wrap up with a degree of finality. That we’d reach a point at which we could declare the outbreak over and go back to normal at last.
Today, we know how unrealistic that expectation was. Regardless of how well we avoid it, treat it, or immunize against it, this virus is going to stick around to some extent for a long time — and life during COVID-19 is all we can anticipate in the coming years. If you’ve been hoping to simply wait it out, then it’s time to change your strategy.
This is particularly notable when it comes to health. You might have been taking mediocre care of yourself during lockdown, imagining that you’d no longer need to worry about the virus within a couple of months. Well, that worry isn’t going away, so you need to make an effort to take control of your health now. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Keep your medicine cabinet stocked
While you’re attempting to avoid unnecessary trips, it’s easy (and practical) to focus entirely on short-term priorities such as getting groceries. Long-term concerns such as picking up new painkillers and assorted remedies can fall by the wayside — but they shouldn’t, because it’s extremely important to have a well-stocked medicine cabinet.
If you injure yourself, you’ll likely be much more reluctant to go to a hospital, so being able to treat your wound at home will be hugely helpful. And if you catch something other than COVID-19, enduring it without needing to see a doctor will be easier for everyone. If you can’t make it to a pharmacy to buy what you need, try an online pharmacy: you can order everything you need and have it delivered promptly to your house, allowing you to avoid contact.
Maintain an exercise routine
We all know the importance of exercise, but it’s easy to kick that can down the road: and those of us who do commit to it tend to rely on gym equipment and regulated sessions. With many gyms still closed (and former gym-goers being reluctant to go back when they can), there are plenty of people who just aren’t bothering to exercise much.
It’s up to you to maintain an exercise routine, regardless of what equipment you have access to. If you don’t have any dumbbells at home, you can order some online, or just ignore them and focus on bodyweight exercises instead. Get out for walks when you can, or buy a treadmill — or just try dancing in front of your TV. As long as you can get your heartrate up, you can do well.
Start eating lower-calorie snacks
It’s perhaps unrealistic to suggest cutting out snacking entirely, because so many of the things that previously occupied our time aren’t currently viable — but you can swap your snacks out for healthier and lower-calorie alternatives. Instead of chowing down on carb-heavy potato chips, for instance, you could try sweet potato chips, or even just nuts (provided you don’t go nuts).
Knowing roughly how many calories you’re consuming with each portion isn’t fun, obviously, but it can be a big help when you start mindlessly eating while watching TV. Learning to cut yourself off past a certain point will help massively with stabilizing your mood and bolstering your health.
Take up relaxing hobbies
How do you like to spend your spare time when in-person socializing isn’t a practical option? Maybe you play video games, or read, or listen to music. They can all be good choices, but it depends on how you react to them. Do they make you tense and on-edge? That can certainly happen with competitive video games, but it can also happen with literary and musical genres.
Tension isn’t good for your health. Even if you enjoy being stressed in the moment, it’ll stick with you and likely lead to more snacking and worse habits in general — so you should try some relaxing hobbies. Take up meditation. Find puzzle games that aren’t so demanding. Pamper yourself however you can. Spend more time outside (when you can do so safely) and just appreciate nature. It’ll make a big difference.