With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe, many of us are spending our days at home, practicing social distancing. For some of us, despite the fact that staying at home is contributing to the greater good, we’re finding ourselves feeling trapped.
Those of us that are used to living a relatively active lifestyle, the inability to exert energy as we normally would, is certainly contributing to the ‘stir crazy’ feeling some of us may be experiencing. We’ve decided to compile a list of ways you can keep on track with your health goals, even while social distancing!
So, we’ve seen a lot of these terms being thrown around, but there is a difference! Here is a quick run-through of these three different types of isolation.
Social Distancing: This should be done by the (currently) vast majority of people who are not showing symptoms, have not traveled or been in contact with someone who has been infected. If you’re otherwise healthy and able to, social distancing means staying home when you can. This means exercising precautions such as working from home if your job allows it, limiting interaction with the public, and only going out when absolutely necessary to avoid coming into contact with the virus. This means distancing yourself physically from other people. Now more than ever, we should still be virtually interacting with each other. Call and check in on friends and family, especially the elderly. Everyone needs to support each other during times of crisis, and this is no exception. Below is a diagram that illustrates the importance of social distancing. You can see how much avoiding contact with just one person will minimize the spread of the virus.
Isolation or Self Isolation: The centers for disease control and prevention describe isolation as: “Separating sick people with quarantinable disease (COVID-19) from people who are not sick. So, if you are a confirmed COVID-19 case, you need to be isolated from anyone who does not also have the virus. If your symptoms are not severe and you are self-isolating, this means separating yourself from the rest of your household as well.
Quarantine: The centers for disease control and prevention describe quarantine as separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. This includes anyone who has traveled recently or anyone who has come into contact with someone who is infected. For COVID-19, the quarantine period is 14 days.
Groceries are an essential service, and we all must stock up our pantries from time to time. However, many of these stores offer convenient services that support social distancing. Walmart for example, has a pickup feature, where you can order your groceries online, and go pick them up at the store the next day. This service is offered free of charge and reduces the number of people you will come into contact with tenfold. Costco offers free two-day grocery delivery to members. However, they understandably have had a higher than normal volume of orders, so your delivery may take longer than it normally would.
If you are isolated or in quarantine, you should not be participating in either of these services, and you should have a friend, family member or a loved one retrieving goods for you, and leaving them at your door for you to collect once they have safely left.
Yes, it is tempting to use this as an excuse to stock up on some chicken tenders (I have some in my freezer myself!) however, none of us know how long this will go on for. Everyone has the potential to become infected, and if that happens, we need to do what we can to keep our nutrition up in order to support immune function.
Keeping up with the maintenance of our gut health is a crucial part of keeping our bodies working as they should. So this means making sure you don’t neglect things like fruits and veggies, and try to fill your virtual cart with functional foods. Some great items to keep in mind are yogurts packed with probiotics or high fibre pasta products to help keep everything working the way it should be. Checkout our post on 10 ways to keep your microbiome healthy for more nutritional tips on gut health!
With all that being said, It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot “boost” your immune system by suddenly changing your diet or adding any particular food. There is no supplement, vitamin or natural health product that will prevent you from catching COVID-19. Making sure you’re keeping up with handwashing and good hygiene practices can help prevent the spread, but social distancing remains the most effective way.
To date, the Government of Canada has not approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. Selling unauthorized health products or making false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada. You can learn more about misleading claims here.
It takes a balanced diet with many different factors and nutrients coming into play to maintain a healthy immune system, so making sure that you’re following Canada’s Food Guide as it is the best way to ensure you’re eating a wide variety of healthy foods (Dietitians of Canada, 2020). One great way to make sure you’re still keeping up with your veggie intake, is grabbing some frozen fruits and veggies. However, if you’re regularly following the rule of shopping safely, there’s no reason why you can’t make sure to fill your virtual shopping cart with some fresh produce as well.
One of the most important things to keep in mind, is that you should only be buying what you need. Canada’s distribution system is one of the most sophisticated in the world, and there is no risk of us running out of anything. Even in Wuhan, where the numbers of infected were much higher than ours, grocery and other essential services like pharmacies stayed open. Hoarding things is unnecessary and is harmful to the community as a whole. Please, make sure you are only buying what you need!
There are many ways that you can stay active without a gym, even if you live in a condo! First of all, if you live in a less densely populated area, there is nothing wrong with going for a walk or a jog outside. Just make sure to give any other passer byers about two meters of space if possible. If you’re someone who’s used to doing regular high-intensity workouts at a gym or if you’re a dedicated member of a local yoga studio, there are ways that you can bring these habits right into your home!
Carve out 40 minutes each day strictly dedicated to an at-home workout, the same way you normally would of if you had access to a gym. If you’re a gym regular, things like resistance bands are an amazing way to bring cable exercises right into your own home. Amazon has tons of affordable options to help you stay in shape while at home.
Some at-home equipment we recommend are:
These can be used for many different workouts, not just pullups!
If you’re lucky enough that you can work from home, a great way to stay active at home AND support small businesses in your community is to purchase a membership to online yoga or aerobic classes. Many fitness, yoga, and Pilates instructors have started developing online content to help keep their clients on track.
For example, Dr. Emma Whelpton is a chiropractor and trained yoga instructor. She has recently set up a yoga + membership on her website, which you can sign up for here.
She leads her clients through a guided yoga practice online, and you can follow along in the safety of your home! If you’re already following a bunch of fitness influencers on Instagram, you’ll notice a lot of them are already sharing great at-home workouts (most free too!).
Here are some great people to follow on Instagram:
There’s no doubt that this is an uncertain time. Especially if you or a close loved one is at risk. But please remember that we’re all in this together. If we all do our absolute best to adhere to the guidelines set by the health minister of Canada and support each other, we will come out of this together.
If you suffer from a chronic disease or functional gut disorder, you know that stress is a huge trigger for a flare. Times like these, our mental health is taxed, but it is important to try to remain calm.
Try not to listen to the news all day. Give yourself designated times to check-in then turn it off and do something else. Maybe clean out your closet, if you’ve been putting that off, or purchase an e-book you’ve been meaning to checkout or catch up on one of your favourite podcasts. There are tons of meditation podcasts out there to help you find your breath.
Try to remember, this too shall pass! We are all in this together!