Wellness Tips During the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Dr. Anne Weisman, Ph.D.
First and foremost, follow all of the COVID-19 prevention guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Anxiety and stress can significantly decrease our immunity. With this in mind, the UNLV School of Medicine has compiled some ideas from a variety of resources to help you relax. Additional resources can also be found on the United Way of Southern Nevada COVID-19 website.
Resources for your mind
Meditate: Learn how to change your breathing to change your physiology. Soft Belly Breathing is an easy method (Soft Belly Meditation). Best of all, it is free and you can do it anywhere. Download HEADSPACE, try a daily 3-minute morning meditation for a week. Practicing 10 minutes, 3 days a week is recommended to feel the benefits. Insight Timer has meditation with themes and is also free.
Journal: Write for a few minutes. Some prompts include writing three things you are grateful for or writing a dialogue with a symptom or issue of concern. Use prompts as if you were writing a script. Ask yourself the prompt as a question and write freely for five to seven minutes. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/benefits-of-journaling-_b_6648884
Mindfulness: Take note of ways you are being mindful while engaging in any of these recommended activities: meditation, running, walking, bike riding, smiling, waving hello (from 6 feet away), cooking, journaling, limiting time on social media and news to a healthy amount of information intake, reaching out to a friend or family by offering them information and reassurance, bringing a positive attitude with you (it’s contagious). Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Learn something new: Use this time to learn something new. Watch instructional videos on cooking, baking, gardening, playing a musical instrument, writing a screenplay, or any topic you have always wondered about. Class Central can assist you in finding free online courses. UNLV also offers Linkedin Learning free to all UNLV faculty, staff and students.
Resources for your body
Breathe-Again: As listed before with meditation, our breath can change our physiology and is the foundation of managing our stress response. Try soft belly breathing.
Keep Moving: We can still go outside for a walk, run, or bike ride. Go for a lot of walks outside. Here’s what walking does for your immune system and what nature does for your immune system. Each one of us will be adjusting to this new level of stress. Moving keeps our immunity up and the sunshine is great for us too. Here are resources that are offering free subscriptions for at least 2 weeks:
- https://www.onepeloton.com/app (not just for biking!)
- https://www.downdogapp.com/ (yoga)
- https://www.glo.com/ (yoga/Pilates/conditioning)
- https://www.facebook.com/planetfitness/ (Offering free at-home classes)
- https://www.pvolve.com/ (fitness with whatever equipment you have on hand)
- https://fitonapp.com/posts/ (wide variety of workouts)
Sleep: Use these days and nights to practice self-care. Get your seven to nine hours of sleep and feel proud to hit your benchmark. Here’s what sleep does for your immunity.
Nutrition: We know that during times of stress our GI tract is affected. With this in mind, take extra care with what you are putting into your body. Choose whole foods as much as possible, drink plenty of water and work to ensure that you are feeding your body foods that will not increase your stress response. Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables supports your body and mind.
Resources for your emotional health
- Connect with friends and family using FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or phone.
- Play with your pets-think of how happy your pets are that you are home. Play with them and enjoy the love they always give you.
- Text SHARE to 741741 to be connected with someone you can talk with.
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Hotline: (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
- Kristin Brooks Hopeline (800) 442-4673. General Mental Health Hotline
- Managing Stress & Anxiety tips from CDC
Resources for fun and entertainment
- The MET is offering free live streams of opera every night.
- AMC+ has a free 30-day trial (AMC, AcornTV, Sundance, etc.) Code: Free30
- If real life is not scary enough, Shudder (horror-movie streaming service) is offering a 30-day free trial. Code: SHUTIN
- There are 12 museums offering virtual tours.
- Check out the otter cam from the Monterey Aquarium.
- Stream your favorite Broadway hits with a 7-day free trial.
- Team Alto is allowing free access to games for the next week.
- Epic is allowing free access to several of their games as well.
- Audible is now offering 3 free titles.
- Interested in quilting? These quilting circles are now free!
- From cake decorating to photography to watercolors, this website is free through March 31st with the code: SELFCARE
It is especially important to our health and well-being to treat ourselves and each other with love, dignity, and respect. It is imperative that we recognize the spread of xenophobia during this pandemic. Consider how this has affected those in our community, those we work with, and the patients we care for. Time.com: Coronavirus & Racism & Why Pandemics Activate Xenophobia.
We are here for our community. Please feel free to email Dr. Anne Weisman with your wellness & well-being tips you would like us to share.