As the world responds to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, we’re spending a lot of time at home.
For some of us, this is a blessing.
Maybe this time at home is allowing you to reconnect with your family, or other housemates. Maybe this time is creating an opportunity for you to catch up on things around the house, that you otherwise didn’t have time for. Or, maybe this time has permitted you to take a break and focus on yourself, for once.
For others, this is a curse.
Before all this started, home was where you wanted to escape to. Now, home is a place you want to escape from.
While self-isolating is the best way to defend against COVID-19, being at home can lead to unhealthy behaviors, such as an increase in eating due to stress and boredom. Though it’s normal to take comfort in food during times of stress, overeating regularly can negatively affect your health and raise your stress and anxiety levels.
No one said staying at home had to be boring.
If most of us are eating because we are simply bored, then the easy fix is not to get bored. There are plenty of things that you can do at home to keep yourself busy.
Learn Something New
There is a country song by Darius Rucker that says, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” This is the perfect opportunity to do exactly that.
With YouTube, Google, and online shopping, it’s never been easier to try something new.
Say you want to learn how to crochet. You can Google the supplies that you need, order them online, and self-teach yourself by watching a video.
If you’re able to, take advantage of it.
As we’ve all seen, every day is new. With how fast this virus is, regulations are being changed almost weekly. Some regions of the world are ordered to stay indoors, permitting people from going outside. If this is you, there are still ways for you to exercise indoors.
In Minnesota, we are currently able to still go outside the house for groceries, medical needs, and exercise purposes.
• Bike ride
• Yard games
• Yard work
It is Spring after all.
Use this time to clean. There’s bound to be dust, dirt, debris, water, and everything else that got tracked in over the course of winter.
Use this time to reorganize. Start in one room and move to the next. There’s no need to rush.
Cleaning and organizing isn’t just to maintain appearance or to make things look pretty. A clean and organized home can do wonders for your health and wellness.
If this virus happened 20 years ago, it would have looked a lot different. But, because of technology, we are able to connect with someone in a variety of ways – zoom, social media, text, email, call, skype, etc.
There’s no reason for someone to be alone through this.
More Things to Do
So, you followed the suggestions above. You learned something new, you connected with a friend, you went outside, and you cleaned your entire house, now what? Well, all four of these things can be done again.
Make doing things your new routine. For instance, if you walk your dog every day, you’ll know you’ll be busy for the next hour or two. That’s one to two hours where you’re not bored, not stressed, and not eating because your bored or stressed.
Of course, doing the same thing each day can be boring. If you need other ideas, try these:
• Read a book
• Finish an unfinished project
• Take a class
• Play games
• Watch a movie
• Wash your car
I don’t know about you, but when I stay busy, it helps to make the days go by a lot faster.
Time to Eat
After all this activity, you’re bound to be hungry. That’s because you’re burning calories. Even if you aren’t doing anything physical, thinking burns calories. According to Dr. Marcus Raichle, in a typical day, a person uses about 320 calories just to think.
After working hard at something, it’s normal to reward ourselves with a treat. But not just anything (or everything). Remember why we’re here, to refrain from quarenteating – an increase in eating during the COVID-19 pandemic because you are either stressed and/or bored, all the while being at home.
Eating doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, so long as it doesn’t get abused.
Structure Your Eating
Considering we’re a lot closer to our kitchens than we were before, it’s important to follow our usual routines as if we weren’t at home. Some might even use this time to develop healthier eating habits, here are some ideas:
• Allow yourself certain times of the day to eat
• Keep a journal of the things you eat, the amount, and the time
• Instill a cutoff time for when you’re going to stop eating
• Eat the healthier things first, so you’ll have less room for the not so healthy items later
• Place a barrier between you and the bottom by not eating out of the packaging; Instead, eat on a plate
• Drink something. You might realize you’re thirsty and not hungry
• Swap out bad choices for better choices
• Set a goal – whatever that might be for you
• Portion control
• Buy the things you want yourself to eat
Except, it doesn’t have to be that way!
To break the quarenteating cycle, we need to find quarenteating-reducing activities that keep us entertained, like learning something new or going for a walk. Combining the activity with healthy eating and a good night’s sleep provides us healthier ways of managing unpredictable times during this pandemic.