“Be healthy”—it’s the golden rule. We see it everywhere. They tell us to be healthy on our TVs; it’s written all over social media; it’s even often a topic of discussion with friends and family. But what does “be healthy” really mean—especially in the midst of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? We spoke to a doctor to provide you with safe tips on staying healthy during this time.
“Be healthy” can have an array of different meanings—some may consider being healthy a state of mind, while others directly correlate this phrase with the food they’re consuming or a fitness routine they’re committing to. All of these factors may contribute to the actual meaning of the phrase, but we wanted some expert advice on taking it back to the basics in breaking down a healthy lifestyle.
And who better to get expert advice from than straight from the doctor, right?! We chatted with Cassandra Phillips DO to find out exactly how we can “be healthy” during this time, including what steps we can follow in best protecting ourselves from COVID-19.
Here are five tips to stay healthy straight from Dr. Phillips:
1. Wash your hands!
It’s a no-brainer (or at least it should be!) and the oldest rule in the book—be sure to wash your hands frequently especially during times when you are likely to get and/or spread germs. According to Dr. Phillips, “this includes after you’ve blown your nose, coughed or sneezed into your hand, after using the bathroom, after caring for someone who may have been sick, before, during, or after food preparation, etc.”
You’re probably thinking that seems simple enough. Well, it should be. The problem? Many people aren’t properly washing their hands, and now, more than ever, it’s extremely important to wash your hands thoroughly and correctly. So, what is the best practice when it comes to handwashing according to a doctor? Dr. Phillips says, “Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.” She also notes that hand sanitizer can also be used as an alternative when soap and water are not available. Hand sanitizer is great to keep on hand in the car, in your purse, or anywhere that you may not have access to a sink for handwashing.
2. Be sure to practice social distancing.
It’s of utmost importance to practice social distancing right now. And just remember, it’s not permanent! But for now, it’s our new normal and vital in doing our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. According to the doc, “Staying home and away from others will help slow down and stop the spread of the virus.”
And what happens when and if you have to come in contact with others? “Staying more than six feet away from others will lessen your chance of getting the virus. The safest place to be right now is at your home.”
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3. Maintain a healthy diet and stay active.
Maintaining a healthy diet? That’s one tip we are familiar with here at Nutrisystem! But what exactly does Dr. Phillips suggest when it comes to diet and exercise during a pandemic?
According to the doctor, no time is better than now to focus on diet and exercise. Maintaining a nutrient-dense, balanced diet and incorporating some type of exercise into your routine ensures overall health and helps boost your immune system.
Dr. Phillips suggests stocking up on nutritious foods “such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats.” She also notes that exercise is a great way to relieve stress during this time. And while the gyms are closed, we’ve got you covered—head to our fitness section for easy, at-home workouts you can do in your living room!
4. Get enough sleep.
Getting into the habit of making sleep a priority is of high importance right now, according to Dr. Phillips. Why is sleep so important? Our sleep pattern impacts our body both mentally and physically. “During this time of high anxiety and uncertainty, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene in order to feel rested.” Setting a bedtime and turning off your electronic devices can help with establishing a good sleep pattern. Waking up at the same time each day is also beneficial in maintaining structure and leading a healthy lifestyle.
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5. Make time to relieve stress.
It’s easy to let stress get the best of us during this time but making time to combat stress and take care of ourselves is crucial in maintaining your health—in fact, it’s just as important as any other tip for healthy living. Dr. Phillips suggests finding an activity or hobby that you can do safely while remembering social distancing. “Exercise, yoga, meditation, reading a book, or watching a new tv show are all great ways to relieve stress.”
And just because we are social distancing does not mean we cannot be social. Dr. Phillips strongly suggests staying in touch with friends and family through Facetime or Skype. You heard it straight from the doctor, folks—finding ways to “socialize” while social distancing IS possible (and important for your health!).
And although Dr. Phillips’ top healthy tips speak specifically to the current situation, they’re also extremely applicable in maintaining a healthy lifestyle once the pandemic is over. So let’s get healthy and stay healthy together!
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Phillips and all healthcare workers during this time.
*If you are experiencing any symptoms or have any health-related questions pertaining to COVID-19, be sure to consult with your doctor and follow the CDC guidelines.