When all is not well, maintain a spirit of wellness

Last Modified: 4/09/2020

Cooking at home

A month ago, most of us were oblivious to the shift our lives were about to make. How can anyone prepare for such events as we have experienced in the past few weeks? When these types of tragedies occur, it’s easy to set aside the good habits and goals we were working toward, because they just don’t seem so important, do they?

Sarah Mohrman, RDN, PPG – Cardiology, has felt the effects of this pandemic professionally and personally, and understands why giving up on our health and goals is the last thing we should be doing. In fact, those things may be exactly what we need to hang onto when there are so many other uncertainties in our lives. Here are her tips on how to make it through this pandemic in a spirit of wellness.

Ten ways to maintain a spirit of wellness

Evaluate your eating patterns at home.  As routines drastically change, healthy habits may start to take a backseat. Make a habit to continue to incorporate foods from all food groups, especially with a stronger focus on fruits and vegetables. Use the fresh foods you have on hand first to be sure you optimize your produce before it expires.  

Meal planning is more important now than ever before.  Gone are the days of going out to dinner for a relaxing meal. Now we are relying solely on takeout or drive thru options. You probably have more time on your hands to cook than ever before. Your children's games, practices, church meetings and services, and other community involvement is no longer allowed. Flip through your cookbooks, find new recipes on Pinterest and get back in the kitchen. Have a new recipe that you love? Stay connected by sharing it with your friends!

Plan your meals and then shop - but know your options.  Once you have some new meal ideas, evaluate the best and safest ways to get your groceries.  You do not need to go into the store - there are plenty of options!  Here are a few:

  • ALDI Grocery Stores – Did you know they deliver? For only $3.99, they will deliver items to your home and just leave them on your porch for a contact-less delivery. They had almost everything I ordered last week, even toilet paper! When an item was out of stock, I received an immediate text message from the shopper saying my money for that item was being refunded. Prices were not increased on items, as with some other grocery delivery services.
  • Walmart – They offer free pickup at most locations. Plan ahead to be sure to get a time that works for you. If you would like your groceries delivered, it is $12.95 for a month, and the first 15 days are free.  
  • Kroger – The grocery store is now offering free ClickList pickup. Once again, plan ahead. If you would like items delivered in one day, there is a $9.95 fee, or if you plan ahead and accept a 1-3-day delivery and your order is over $35, delivery is free.
  • Target – The store offers drive-up service that is free with no minimum purchase, but does not permit perishables such as dairy, meat, produce or frozen foods. If you just need a couple of things, download the app and select the drive-up option. Typically, your order will be ready in two hours. You follow the prompts and it will detect your arrival and then bring your items to you, scan the barcode on your phone and place items in your trunk for a contact-less option.

Establish mealtimes and socially distance yourself from the kitchen.  Grazing and mindless eating may result in some weight gain over these next few weeks. Consider periodic fasting periods to limit this behavior. If you routinely snack in the evening, front load your calories earlier in the day and have a cut off for eating. For example, eating between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. will eliminate mindless snacking at night when you are bored or stressed.

Stabilize yourself with healthy behaviors.  Along with diet, remember that exercise, sleep and stress management will help you stay balanced and healthy during these uncharted times. Pick one behavior you would like to improve upon. Find an app on your phone to help track your progress. Here are some I have found to be useful:

  • MyFitnessPal – for calorie tracking
  • Walk the Distance – tracks your walking using GPS and uses your accumulated miles toward different walking routes around the world
  • Down Dog – a great app for yoga right in your living room, with instructors and relaxing music for all levels
  • Happify – a science-based app for increasing overall well-being and life satisfaction
  • Habits – an app designed to help you track your habits to improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being
  • 7M Workout – made by Johnson & Johnson, this is an app with interval training that requires no equipment from seven minutes (7M) and up.  Workouts are based on your current activity level
  • Sweat – workout videos on your phone from yoga, to cardio, to dance and flexibility

Stay connected.  Reach out to others by phone, email, text or various social media platforms. Check in with older adults, anyone you know to be socially isolated, and friends and colleagues that you do not have contact with now due to quarantine or shelter-in-place orders. Consider using Facetime or Zoom to see each other. Think about spreading positivity throughout your neighborhood. Personally, I sent out an email on behalf of our association and asked all homeowners to put at least one heart in a window and write in large print your ONE WORD to cope and get us through these times. Families can then take a walk together, encouraging their children to count the hearts, while the parents read the words of hope and strength.  Here is my heart and the word I chose:


Check in with your stress level.  Stress manifests mentally, emotionally and physically. Observe the tension level in your muscles and evaluate the intensity of your emotions. Are you suffering from physical effects, such as headaches and difficulty sleeping? Utilize some stress management apps and guided relaxations daily. Prolonged stress will have negative effects on your sleep, mood, blood pressure and cortisol levels. Limiting your time watching news channels may also help alleviate stress. Stay current with recommendations, but non-stop chatter on the topic is enough to put anyone over the edge.

Find personal space.  Although we are distancing ourselves from others, we are around our family members a lot more than we’re accustomed to. Find a quiet place for yourself, whether that means retreating to your home office, finding a place outside or maybe even in your bedroom. Practice relaxation and reflection techniques, such as guided meditation or journaling.

Find gratitude and positivity in every day.  We are beginning to see brilliant sunshine bring the warmth to our souls that we all needed. Find a positive story in the news or online every day that illustrates resilience and positivity amidst challenge. Allow yourself to reflect on one personal point of gratitude each day.  

 "I want to be like a sunflower; so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight."  – author unknown


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