As a registered dietitian for the past 17 years, my focus has always been on the importance of eating a healthy diet. I would work with my clients on how to grocery shop, what to look for on the food labels and “how-to” meal prep to support their healthy lifestyle changes. However, since quarantine started over a month ago, much of that has had to change … and with good reason!
Many of us now find ourselves balancing work and homeschooling or caring for family members, with limited access to food items we had before people started hoarding chicken and paper products! Those of us that had more time to ourselves during the day to focus on jobs or household responsibilities find ourselves stumbling over toys and skateboards, reading through countless emails from teachers and bosses and trying to figure it all out!
Unfortunately, many find themselves with uncertain job situations or even without a job at all. The stress of it can take a toll … if we let it! The fact is that during this “new normal”, we need to adjust the way we view health and wellness.
Here are a couple things I’ve learned …
Emotional well-being needs to be just as important as physical well-being, ultimately because they go hand in hand!
- Skipping your workout to sit quietly with a cup of coffee or just watch an episode of your favorite Netflix series can do just as much for your soul as that morning jog or bootcamp class can for your body.
- Sharing one on one time with your kids by cuddling on the couch and talking about how they are coping with this “new normal” outweighs fighting over math assignments that no one knows exactly how to do!
- Give yourself the grace to allow your kids extra screen time if it gives you the needed time to catch up on work.
Our emotional wellbeing spills over into our physical wellbeing and can lower immunity, impact our heart health and especially our mental health. Emotional health needs to in the forefront right now.
Physical well-being needs to look different during this time:
- Stock up on healthy, budget-friendly staples such as bags of oranges, apples, bananas, nuts, cheese sticks, yogurts, oatmeal, canned tuna and chicken can be made into easy lunchtime salads, canned beans can be wrapped up in a tortilla with some cheese and salsa for a quick mini meal and eggs can be a perfect breakfast for dinner meal.
- Focus on eating consistently through the day! If you do not have access to healthy options, control your portions, be careful to only eat when hungry and stop when you are beginning to feel full.
- Be active in some way. Whether you walk your dog daily, shoot hoops with your kids or take an evening bike ride with the family, all of this adds up. If you’re working from home, take conference calls standing up and walk around as you listen in.
Find time to count your blessings! Whether its prayer, music, meditation or a drive alone in the car, create time that helps you see that you are doing your best during this uncertain time.
And remember, no one is expected to be perfect right now! Strengthen your family connections, keep a positive outlook for the future and find small ways to keep your body and mind strong!
Tara Fiano is the Area Manager for Total Nutrition Technology, a Nutrition consulting company in the Charlotte area. She is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who has helped clients meet their health goals through behavior change and support of her team. She is also the mother of two boys who keep her busy with travel baseball.
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com
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