Winter is upon us, and it’s threatening to be a long one. With another wave of COVID-19 and corresponding lockdowns, there’s a new emphasis on ensuring that everyone’s mental health is taken care of, alongside their physical health. Whereas the first lockdown happened in the Spring when outdoor exercise and activities were more easily done thanks to the warm spring weather, a cold winter poses new restrictions.
We’ve read new books, watched every new TV show (remember the Tiger King days?), and implemented Zoom Happy Hours and family chats. You might be running low on ideas for ways to take care of your mind, body, and soul in this new lockdown stage – so, here are some ideas that can ensure you’re still feeling good.
Getting moving and your blood pumping is one of the most sure-fire ways to make sure you’re taking care of your mental health. According to research by the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, “Exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.” Some ways to do this virtually:
1. Gaia Yoga Classes. A Gaia subscription unlocks numerous online yoga videos and meditations for the outcome you’re looking for: a restful night’s sleep, improved mental state, and even fitness and pilates classes. Tune in daily to make sure you get moving. These instructors have been widely celebrated.
2. Nike Training Club App. Follow along with workout reps, classes, and videos right from your smartphone using the Nike app. This is especially great if you know you need to get moving, but can’t make it to the gym or it’s too cold to hit the path outside for a brisk jog. The app goes beyond offering classes and helps you reach your fitness goals.
You betcha – you can take charge of your health from the comfort of your home. COVID-19 has forever changed how we conceptualize doctor and dentist appointments. According to the CDC, “During the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, compared with the same period in 2019, with a 154% increase in visits noted in surveillance week 13 in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.”
This is, of course, great to have for the mandatory doctor’s visits. But, some other ways you can employ tele-health to your winter self-care:
1. Virtual therapy appointments. Platforms like Talkspace offer resources for talking to counselors and therapists anywhere in the world online. Just the face-to-face interaction and a place for verbal support can be powerful during this stressful year, as we know that loneliness is considered an actual epidemic. “Loneliness and social isolation can be as damaging to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day,” according to the HRSA. Especially if you live alone or are used to being around people frequently (such as at work), consider signing up for some virtual therapy meetings.
2. Cosmetics appointments – like invisalign. Some are taking advantage of a year spent at home to tend to some cosmetic desires they’ve had for a while, and believe it or not, orthodontics is one of those. For example, Impress Orthodontics and their orthodontics mobile app, which uses artificial intelligence to follow each patient’s treatments.
As for how this works: “The first email our patients receive redirects to an application where they can upload photographs of their smile from different perspectives. These photographs are then used by the specialist to make a first estimated diagnosis of the case. It is possible to find out if the patient is fit to wear invisible orthodontics and estimate how long their treatment will last from these pictures alone,” explained Dr. Kasem, the co-founder of Impress.
A patient does actually have to go to the orthodontist to get their smile digitized with our 3d scanner for their invisible aligner sets. But beyond that one initial visit, the Impress team says that almost everything else can be kept up with remotely.
3. Physical therapy. Nagging, consistent back pain, shoulder pain, or knee pain can take a toll on your mental health. We usually think of physical therapy as something that needs to be done in-person with a physical therapist, but some physical therapy studios such as JAG-One have innovated with tele-health appointments. Therapists can guide you through exercises using items in your home to help you feel better, and to keep your body in tip-top shape as you continue working out (or, add more exercises to your routine to fight declining mental health).
Aside from these tips, keep focused on progress. Making goals for 2021 and plotting on a roadmap to those goals can be helpful, too. Humans are happiest when they feel that they are progressing toward something, so this may be a great time to redefine what you want for your life, your career, and yourself. Day by day, we’ll get through this, together.