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April 9, 2020

These days, you may be struggling with work/life balance more than usual as you stay at home with family and continue to work. 

“You can still take care of yourself, though,” says Tina Devlin, a health coach with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Devlin talks with members on the phone regularly to help coach them to healthier lifestyles. She says these days the coronavirus pandemic has dominated her calls. 

Here are some tips she has been sharing with her clients trying to maintain their health during these uncertain times: 

1. Focus on physical health 

If you are at home with your kids or spouse more than usual and missing your gym, make fitness a family affair. You can find videos on YouTube to do dance routines with your kids. There are also plenty of yoga and other at-home workouts to keep you occupied. 

Search for videos that require little to no equipment and get moving in your living room. 

Physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. 

2. Get outside 

While you shouldn’t be out and about, you can still get outside in your yard if you have one or go for a walk around your neighborhood. Having a picnic in your yard is a good way to get outside to get sun and fresh air. 

Studies suggest that doing so has health benefits. 

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3. Share household chores

There is no doubt that spending more time in your home is causing more chores. That can lead to more stress. Make sure you are splitting the chores and getting your kids and partner involved. 

Keeping your living (and now working) space clean also impacts your health. Studies show that people with clean living spaces are healthier than those with messy homes. It is also important to keep your space clean during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

But the cleaning shouldn’t just fall to one family member. Everyone should pitch in. For kids, make cleaning fun by making it an activity. 

For example, try doing jumping jacks every time you fold a shirt and high knees every time you match a pair of socks. Put on music and make picking up toys a race. The winner gets extra screen time or a treat. 

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4. Connect with the outside world 

Keeping a social outlet is important these days. Try video calls with your friends and family. Devlin says she has a standing Friday afternoon chat with her girlfriends to keep her connected. 

Science also supports the need for friendships. These relationships lead to better health and less stress

You don’t need an internet connection to stay in touch with friends and family. Try writing letters. It is a lost artform, after all, and it will only cost you one stamp. 

Don’t forget to stay connected with your work friends, too. Conference calls are fine, but make sure you take time to check in with one another. It will keep your work relationships intact. 

Related Reading: 

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5. Find ways to eat healthy 

If you tend to eat unhealthy foods during times of high stress, you aren’t alone. But find ways to keep working fresh (where available) fruits and vegetables into your diet. 

Try planting a garden if you can. You can order seeds online and materials for pickup at local stores. If you don’t have a yard or much space, start small with a container garden. Start with easy things like peppers and grape tomatoes. You can find more resources for home gardening here

Not up for growing your own just yet? The South Carolina Department of Agriculture has resources to help you find local, fresh produce that will deliver or offer pickup.

Make preparing meals a family event. Get everyone involved with preparing meals. 

Need inspiration? The American Heart Association’s* guide for adding more color to your meals is a good place to start.

6. Get your sleep 

Getting the right amount of sleep is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. During this time, that remains true. 

Keep to your normal routine as much as possible and set a bedtime for yourself. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to go to bed. Wind down with a book or by turning off your phone an hour before you go to sleep. You can listen to relaxing music or podcasts. 

Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s* sleep hygiene page for ideas for how to get better sleep.

7. Be present

Don’t get too hung up on the “what ifs." Try to be present in the moment. Enjoy the time you have now with your family and loved ones. 

Use this time to get started with meditating and work to become grounded every day. 

You can follow a simple one-minute meditation below or find more resources here.

Know that you are not alone in this. This is something everyone is going through together. 

“That’s an opportunity to strengthen our togetherness and empathy,” Devlin says. 

*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The American Heart Association are independent organizations that provide health information you may find useful.

This article contains links to third party sites. Those organizations are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies of their sites.

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