6 Tips For Staying Healthy And Optimistic As We Move To A New Normal
As we head into this year, we are reminded of the many ways that we've grown stronger and stayed connected with our community in the last year. With COVID-19 pandemic, many people have worked tirelessly to keep us informed, responsive, and healthy.
1. Testing and Tracing Programs
Over the last year, Columbia has led the way with testing and tracing programs. Columbia Health programs have made a difference.
"We are far below New York City's numbers as well as those in the surrounding areas. The rapidity of our process has broken chains of infection."
-Melanie Bernitz, senior vice president of Columbia Health
2. Personal Advocacy
On a personal level, one often wonders how to manage fear and anxiety. While the University has accomplished this through communication and transparency, many people are looking for practical tips to stay strong and optimistic.
Physical and mental health experts have been generously sharing their expertise in webinars, e-books, online training, and online resources.
3. Being Proactive
For many people, wearing a mask requires attention, care, and mindfulness. It's a statement that you care about your health and the health of those around you.
Washing your hands and maintaining high personal hygiene standards continues to be a top priority.
Keeping a 6-foot distance in social settings is also continuing to be essential as we move towards a return to normalcy.
Taking care of your own health includes managing uncertainty. As many health experts have noted, it's not just the virus-it's the uncertainty that is so challenging to manage. If you want to be fully proactive, consider using an at home COVID test to know your status. You'll find out the results and be able to have a newfound peace-of-mind.
4. Caring For Your Health
Staying strong and optimistic is connected with having specific health goals. In addition to managing the specific protocols and testing options, what can you do to care for your physical well-being?
Medical professionals have noticed that many people have not only been feeling stressed, they have also been changing their health habits. This has led to a new problem of weight gain, inactivity, and poor dietary choices.
Experts at Yale University have some specific recommendations for shifting out of the COVID-curves, or so called, Quarantine-15. That's the 15 pounds, on average, which people have gained during the pandemic.
The top recommendations include:
- Step on a scale. Once you see the numbers, you can make a plan.
- Make a plan of action that you can do.
- Reduce your reliance on junk foods. Swap out sodas and sugary drinks for water.
- Increase your intake of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables.
- Increase your activity level with moderate exercise. Pick something you enjoy doing. You'll have an easier time getting active and staying active when you are playing a sport or spending time picking up trash in your neighborhood to get on your feet and off the couch
- Connect with friends, peers, and fellow-students. Build your community of like-minded people to start caring for your health and well-being.
5. Staying Strong
It's not just the physical changes that have affected life, as we know it. It's also the internal emotional shifts. Many people have reported feeling anxious and worried.
U.K. Experts in mental health report have experienced a 1000% increase in calls.
If you are finding that you need to talk to a professional, experts encourage you to reach out so you can get back to a healthy and happy place in your life. As these are unprecedented times, it's natural to experience moments of uncertainty.
However, you are not alone.
Experts recommend to:
- Stay connected with friends and peers
- Reach out to family and loved ones
- Get support on or off campus
- Talk to a professional counselor
- Get help with online resources
No one is alone. Social distancing does not mean social isolation.
6. Looking Forward
While we are still not at full normalcy, we are seeing signs of a bright future. Most experts are looking to a time when vaccine supply outpaces demand.
On a personal level, experts advise individuals to make plans for getting back to normal life. By identifying your personal goals, you can proactively prepare for the future.
As we find our way forward, we can actively create a positive future. The new normal is a fresh opportunity to take care of our community, ourselves, and the world around us.