How to stay “happihealthy” during the COVID-19 pandemic

~happihealthy

How to stay “happihealthy” during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Isobel Matsukas, Co-Editor in Chief

Hi everyone! I am Isobel Matsukas, Co Editor-in-Chief of The View, and this is a new section I am writing to help strengthen the Flint Hill community’s knowledge around health. Last year, I created happihealthy as a health and nutrition blog and I wanted to bring it to The View. In the past, I’ve written and researched certain nutritional diets, fads, trends, and products as well as health, nutrition, and fitness in general. However, in order to engage all of The View’s readers, I will be transitioning to a broader context. I’ve also learned so much regarding health and nutrition and I understand now that it should be fine tuned to each individual because being “healthy” looks and means something different to everyone. This first article is going to be all about health during the coronavirus pandemic because it is so important for us to stay healthy, not only physically but also mentally, during this time.

It’s important to stay healthy during this time so that you can be your “happiest” self throughout this unprecedented and difficult time. When you’re your best, you can be more productive, energetic, and “happi”! Health plays an important role in one’s mind and soul because it affects how you feel. For example, eating lots of processed foods feeds the “bad bacteria” in your gut and makes them more plentiful which contributes to you craving more of that unhealthy food. When you eat foods rich in nutrients and probiotics, the “good bacteria” in your gut is fueled which fuels you! Another way your health contributes to your mood is through exercise. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which can improve your mood and reduce depression, AKA the “natural high.”

Staying healthy during quarantine and the coronavirus is going to look a little bit different for everyone. Some may devote themselves to their health with daily difficult workouts and a new diet (though diets can be flawed and end up doing more harm than good – check out some of my blog posts on Wix!). Others may take a moderated route of exercising a few days a week and eating relatively healthy. And of course, some may become couch potatoes eating potato chips. Some days you may feel the need to be a couch potato and know that that’s okay. For other days though, make yourself get up and get moving, trust me you’ll feel better! In regards to the first scenario described above, if you are an athlete and trying to stay in shape, exercising regularly and frequently is great, physically and mentally! However, keep in mind that it’s okay to take a break for a day or two, which can actually be better for your body. 

Even though it’s going to be different for everyone, there are a few things that should be included throughout your week to keep up internal morale which I will go through below.

Get Outside

The great outdoors are truly great, especially now! The sun generates your body’s natural vitamin D production. There are some great health benefits from the sun, especially when your eyes are exposed to sunlight in the morning. It can jump-start your bodies’ natural melatonin production sooner which will help you sleep at night too. Sunlight also affects serotonin and endorphin production in your body which improves moods, can help you stay calm and focused, and regulate your stress levels. With all of this being said, the sun also gives off harmful radiation, UVR, which can cause skin cancer so make sure to use sunscreen and be mindful of how much time you spend in direct sunlight.

Exercise

There are so many health benefits to contribute to your “happiness” from exercise, but I’m going to focus on a few of the more important and well-researched benefits. First of all, exercise increases your cognitive functionality, prevents disability, both later in life, as well as helps you live longer as it offsets chronic conditions and diseases. In the immediate effects, exercise has been shown to help cope with depression and anxiety as well as improve mental capabilities and production. It can also lower the risks of cancers, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Of course, exercise will also strengthen your bones and muscles, as well as possibly challenging your mind!

Balanced Diet

Don’t think about it too much – food is fuel. Therefore, don’t restrict during this time to try and prevent the “quarantine-15” but at the same time, don’t let yourself participate in the “quarantine-15.” It may be difficult to get fresh vegetables and fruits and the meats, fish, poultry, dairy you are interested in but canned or frozen veggies are just as nutritious. Try and get creative with recipes and have fun with cooking while we have the time! Remember to keep it balanced.

Communication

Communication may not be part of the health component of happihealthy but it’s a great way to stay “happi”! Whether it may be in person with whoever you’re quarantined with or with friends and family over FaceTime, Zoom, Google Meet, et cetera, stay in touch and communicate.

Space, Mindful, Grace

Remember to give yourself some space sometimes to reflect or just clear your head. Now is a great time to reflect on your life, I know it sounds deep… but it can be beneficial if done correctly! It’s also a great time to try journaling and/or meditation. Even though it is not a good idea to disconnect completely right now when technology is the only thing keeping us connected, it’s always good to schedule in some screen-free time to not only give your brain a physical break from the blue light and all the negatives of screens, but also for a mental break. Remember to give yourself grace. It’s okay to have different feelings right now. To not be as energized or spirited as usual and to not feel “productive.” Others might be doing just fine in this quarantined way of life and that’s okay too! Everyone is different. Maybe try and learn something about yourself like knowing when you need some tough love to either get up and exercise or get some work done but also learn when you need a mindful moment or a break.

I hope you enjoyed happihealthy’s first article on The View! If you haven’t noticed, happihealthy is all about finding that perfect balance to stay “happi” and healthy. I hope this helps you work on finding a balance and staying happihealthy during this time of the coronavirus. Have a “happi” day!