Stating that these are challenging times isn’t exactly a news flash, right? Because of COVID-19, so many people are worried about every aspect of their daily lives—jobs, finances, their own health and the health of the people they love. While it would be foolish to tell you there’s nothing to worry about, posing the right question may offer a needed mental shift:
Can we find any opportunities during these challenging times?
This self-healther happens to think that we can. Not in a Pollyanna kind of a way, but in a “let’s focus on the things we can control” kind of a way. I believe this approach will keep us from spiraling down that rabbit hole of hopelessness. And who knows—we may even come out of this whole thing as healthier, better prepared versions of ourselves. Let’s take a look at some ideas, shall we?
Eat Nourishing Foods
Our fast-paced lives have certainly slowed down to a manageable speed lately. Instead of convenience foods and drive-thru windows, it’s a perfect time to start seeking out foods that actually nourish and replenish your systems to keep them functioning at a high capacity.
- Fermented foods. Available in all shapes and sizes, fermented foods make for a robust immune system that you’ll benefit from each and every day. If sauerkraut isn’t your thing, give some spicy kimchi a try. You can even try your hand at fermenting your favorite veggies—carrots, asparagus, green beans—with almost no effort required.
- Dark leafy greens. Jam-packed with nutrients, your body is crying out for greens. If you’re just starting to make eating greens a habit, you might want to choose the “baby” varieties of spinach or kale for their milder flavor. Even just tossing in a handful of greens in a smoothie will provide you with vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as calcium and iron.
- Home-cooked meals. Pull out the recipe for your favorite comfort meal as a kid and get it on your weekly menu. It will take you back to simpler times when you ate foods that nourished your soul as well as your body. Plus, home-cooked meals are generally healthier than any convenience foods you may have been sustaining yourself on. Cooking for yourself and your family gives you total control over the quality of the ingredients you use and the portion sizes you serve. There’s also something incredibly grounding about preparing and sharing a meal with the people you love most.
Move Your Body
If you had trouble fitting an exercise routine into your schedule before, why not get it started now? Keeping up with a routine of some sort, even if you’re just at home, gives each day more meaning and makes it less likely that you’ll go stir-crazy. And there are plenty of exercise options that won’t cost you a penny.
- Body weight exercises I suppose these may seem primitive, but they certainly aren’t pointless. See how long you can hold a proper plank before your arms start shaking. Or time how long it takes for your thighs to start burning while holding a wall sit. Keep it up with exercises like this every day, and you’ll get stronger in no time.
- Online group workouts. If exercising with a group keeps you motivated, you’ve got lots of options online: yoga, kettlebells, dancing, or almost anything else. Virtual workouts may not be quite the same as a group class in real life, but at lease there will be an instructor leading you through the activity, and you’ll see other people sweating right along with you.
- Go for a walk outside. If you take your daily walk early in the morning or evening, you may have the path almost entirely to yourself. The fresh air and sunshine will give your spirits a boost and clear your head like nothing else. Not to mention the positive impact walking has on your stress levels, immune function, and overall circulation.
Feeding your brain should be a high priority as well. Of course, crossword or sudoku puzzles can get you started, but the possibilities are endless.
- Spend time with your hobbies. You choose to do hobbies in your free time because you enjoy them, right?! So take time to get lost in your hobbies again and really hone your skills. It will take your mind off of everything else—easing any stress you’ve been feeling, giving you a creative outlet, and making you feel better as a whole.
- Read a book. In particular, read about another challenging time in history and learn about the people who lived through it. It’s super easy to feel down about everything going on right now. But the thing is, we humans have faced challenging times before, and we will again. Reading about other people who have triumphed over a tragic experience in history tends to put your own life into perspective, and it may help you get through any tough times ahead.
- Learn something new. If there’s some topic you’re curious about, but you haven’t made it a priority to learn about it yet, there’s no time like the present! Coursera.org and similar websites offer courses on just about any topic you can think of, and some of them are even free. Here at Selene River Press, you can build on your self-health education with tons of resources: Check out SRP’s E-Learning videos. Browse through the MP3 library. Explore the wide range of SRP blogs, with posts such as “Raw Milk Dairies and the A2 Milk Scam” and “Healing Your Immune System.” Or take deep dive through the SRP Historical Archives, which will keep you intrigued for hours on end as you discover that nutrition experts have been sounding the alarm about processed foods from the moment they showed up on the supermarket shelves.
Any or all of these things can help put you in the right mindset for taking advantage of even more opportunities—whether it’s simplifying your finances for peace of mind in the coming months or deepening your relationships with friends and family members. Now’s a pretty good time to write that letter to an old acquaintance you’ve lost touch with, or to be fully present next time you play a boardgame after dinner.
We all have a role to play in learning how to cope, contribute, and pull together. After all, life will always present us with trying times. When it does, the best way forward is to seek out the opportunities that will help us grow as individuals and be prepared for such times in the future.