Family Lifestyle in the Social Distancing Era
The first half of 2020 has proven one of the most trying times in recent memory. Anxieties surrounding COVID-19 and adapting to minimize the spread of illness has given us an unexpected change. Still, life goes on. That means taking into consideration how we are to maintain healthy lifestyles while looking out for others and ourselves. To help protect each other as we socialize in the era of social distancing, we have some tips for a COVID-19 era guide.
Restrict pandemic news consumption. Keeping up with what’s going on in the world is important, and nowadays news about the virus seems to dominate the media. But it’s easy to spiral into fear and anxiety when your mind is bombarded by bad news. Discuss with your family how much news everyone is willing to consume at a time, and make time to turn off the television and focus on something else. Ask how many hours of news are appropriate, or how to communicate when someone needs a break.
Adequate sleep. Good sleep is essential to our overall health. According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the nation’s leading medical research agency: “Immune system activation alters sleep, and sleep in turn affects the innate and adaptive arm of our body's defense system.” While the amount of sleep needed for good health and optimum performance mostly depends on the individual, The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours. Scientists have found that a lack of sleep, common in anxiety disorders, may play a key role in activating brain regions that contribute to excessive worrying. Neuroscientists have found that sleep deprivation fires up areas of the brain associated with emotional processing. Try setting bedtimes for you and your family, or even schedule naps if you have younger children.
. Talking with loved ones while in isolation can help reduce the anxiety and instances of feeling down. Take time to utilize the multitudes of technologies and apps (many free) that can help you stay in touch with those you love. Our busy lives before the outbreak may have limited how often we connected with distant loved ones, now’s the time to fully exploit these modern capabilities for fellowship, companionship, and camaraderie. Get the family together to digitally communicate, whether through Skype, Zoom or phone call, with family that lives some distance away. Allow kids time to call or text friends they are unable to see. Help your children to talk to those they may be missing during the quarantine.
Stay active and find ways to go outside: The gyms may not be open, however, there are lots of safe alternatives to getting physical activity without going against the preventive best practices recommended by the CDC like social distancing and avoiding large crowds. Another important point to consider is that avoiding crowds does not mean avoiding nature. Going for a brisk walk or jog outside in uncrowded areas outdoors is still considered relatively safe. Push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks and more exercises are great ways to stay fit away from the gym.
Need more ideas? Hanover Pediatrics is here for you. Give us a call and we will connect you with a health care professional that can help.