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How To Keep Your Mind And Body Healthy During This Pandemic

May 2020 - If you are 60 or older, you might be being advised not to go outside at all even to get groceries with COVID-19 especially targeting those who are 60 or older. Even if you are healthy and fit, you may still be more vulnerable so any activity that could be in proximity to others should be avoided. Thankfully, PM Arden recently announced that New Zealand would start easing the restrictions for two weeks starting 27 April. It still could be a little more while before we go back to 100%.

You may say that the anxiety and frustration caused by the uncertainties and cabin fever may also take a toll on your body. With some djustments and creativity, however, you can recreate your routine and keep both your health and sanity.

Here are some tips.

Change your settings regularly

Since you're not out and about interacting with different people in different environments, the lack of variety will likely exacerbate the feeling of confinement and loneliness. According to a study, loneliness can be as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The key is to use the space you have to create distinct settings, each with a distinct purpose. You want to make sure your work/study station is in one place, where you do in-home workouts in another, where you read/paint/listen to music somewhere else, etc. The illusion of shifting settings will help ease the psychological tensions.

While having consistent stations and routines, it is advised that you change the visuals within each setting here and there to help your visual stimuli stay active. Our brain is able to have a sense of time and space at least partially based on changes in the visual signals. For instance, walking home from work and seeing the same streets (but with slight differences such as the passersby) indicate to your brain that it's evening time and time to have dinner.

So keeping a routine structure while changing some aspects of it little by little will help you recreate the stimuli your brain is craving.

Find intellectual stimuli

Many turn to reading, Netflix, and podcasts to avoid boredom. Being immersed in learning that interests you can help you feel productive and find meaningfulness untouched by the pandemic stress. This immersion is often called the Flow' in psychology. Intellectual curiosity is actually great for life longevity and overall health. You want to constantly challenge your brain by using all of its faculties.

To help its citizens who are looking for intellectually challenging activities during this difficult time, the New Zealand government is offering The Fees Free initiative through which you can sign up for free courses and training programs (up to $12,000), no strings attached.

Have creative outlets

Another dimension of churning that busy brain of yours is creative outlet. As a wide range of emotions could affect you while in quarantine, you also want to make sure you have a healthy way to express your emotions on both conscious and unconscious levels.

Painting, gardening, cooking, knitting, photography, dancing, etc. You just need to find any hobby that makes you not think about anything else. It helps you empty out your mind. Having a creative outlet also provides an opportunity to decorate your house or make gifts you can share with your loved ones.

Keep in mind that you can also meet people online who enjoy the same hobbies as you. Many community sites or Facebook pages will have people sharing their creation and wanting to see that of others. Making new long-lasting friendships from all over the world is still something people can do and for this we should all be grateful.

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