Health Wise: Health Lessons from the Pandemic

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As many thing re-open, new cases of Covid slow down, and people start getting vaccines, it’s feels like we are trending in a healthier direction. It’s important not to let our guard down too quickly, however, and to stay focused on healthy behaviors and choices.

We think its fair to say that many of us have been more aware of our health in the past year than ever before. Between understanding the health impacts of COVID19, experiencing the impact of pandemic stress on the body, and trying to understand vaccine options and side effects, health has been on our minds for better or for worse. While it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives of it all, perhaps its also a good time to learn and be proactive about taking our health seriously. In fact, we can look at the pandemic as a global “wake-up call” to address our physical and mental health, for example, take a look at what we eat, how we clean our environments and ourselves, and how to build strong immune systems. For many of us, its also been a time to look at how we nurture ourselves, what social supports we have, and how we make the best of our lives even in the toughest of times.

So, what have we learned, and how can we apply this learning to being healthy moving forward?

One lesson from the pandemic is that we’ve come to understand, at a visceral level, that the mind and body are one, connected and impacting one another directly, and it’s important to take care of both, simultaneously. So while we’ve wash our hands and sanitize our groceries, we’ve also realized its also important to keep stress levels low and care for our mood in the same we might care for our masks.

An important way take care of both mind and body is by slowing down and being mindful. In the rush of life, we might cut corners in our health - skipping washing our hands, forgetting to sanitize that mask - and we might also forget to engage socially, or engage in self-care. This is where a moment of mindfulness can provide a re-set where we can revisit our present and our priorities.

We also learned how important social interactions are to our well being, even to those of us who are introverted. We might have taken loved ones for granted prior to the pandemic, but after lockdowns and social distancing rules, its certainly been an eye-opener to see how important social interactions actually are for many of us. We are social creatures, and it’s important for us to keep up our social interactions (whatever kind each of us prefer) and to allow for social supports and provide such supports for one another. This might be hard when we are busy, but is even more important then!

Another thing that we’ve begun to recognize is the importance of self-care – something we do less of but actually need to do more of when we are busy! Whether this means a bubble bath, a hair appointment, a workout, holding a pet, taking a nap, doing a hobby, or eating a delicious meal, we need little moments of joy and self-love regularly.

As things keep changing, and some things return to (a new) normal, it’s so important to remember the health lessons from the pandemic. Try to stay mindful of cleanliness, healthy choices, and finding things that bring you joy. The healthier we are, mentally and physically, the less disease can tear us down now or in the future. Let’s build healthier habits and be healthier - together!

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