Winter will not only be challenging this year because of COVID-19’s looming presence, but also because the lack of activity and good health practices in the proceeding months will more than likely drive up cold and flu instances in the general population. Restrictions will probably be enforced more stringently and opportunities for socialization and camaraderie will be undertaken at your own risk.
by Jolina Flowers, contributing writer
Coronavirus may have been reduced to a few funny memes, but in the bigger picture, it’s no laughing matter. Let’s look at some ways you can take care of yourself body and soul in the upcoming months. This will not only help you stay physically health, but mentally sane.
Maintain Physical Health
Being healthy and fit is important not just in the present, but also in the future. Being in shape reduces the risk of medical emergencies and improves your chance of surviving a potentially harmful situation when the SHTF. Taking care of your physical body means you’ll have better mobility and stamina. Now is certainly not the time to let your physical condition deteriorate.
Staying physically active may be a bit more challenging during a shutdown. However, it’s something vital to your overall well-being. Exercise has been scientifically proven to be an excellent way to cope with anxiety and depression, as well as helping you maintain your shape. You don’t need to train like a Navy SEAL, but any exercise is good exercise.
Since the gyms may or may not be open in the coming months, go ahead and set up a home gym, join an online exercise group, or pick an accountability buddy to keep you focused. Ideally, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and strength training exercises twice a week. Shoveling snow, going on a foraging walk, chopping firewood, and taking a brisk walk are all excellent exercises.
Eat Good Foods
There is quite a bit of speculation that food will become more expensive in the coming months. It’s a good time for you to check the supplies you have and determine if you need to replenish your stock.
In the winter, we crave heavy meals and sweet snacks. Try to add more fruits and vegetables to your stockpile to eat during these months. Variety is essential in getting your required vitamins and minerals. Apples, squash, and pumpkins are just some of the food items that are ready to be harvested in the fall and last quite a while without extreme preservation methods. Beets, carrots, and turnips are root vegetables that you just may be able to find fresh through the winter from local farmers. Don’t forget that those frozen fruits and veggies cook up well too!
Maintain Mental Health
We’ve all seen the tantrum that a woman in a grocery store had when asked to put on a mask. We also read about the incident where another person pepper-sprayed employees at a pizza place for the same reason. The situation we find ourselves in is stressful, and break-downs will occur. Here are a few ways to navigate the insanity.
Read a Book
Reading is one way to keep our minds sharp. The more you read, the more connectivity your brain develops. People who read fiction have a deeper understanding of others known as “theory of mind,” which develops skills that help you build and maintain personal relationships. Watching and reading post-apocalyptic fiction has also been shown to give people a mental advantage during this coronavirus pandemic.
Reading can also help prevent cognitive issues later in life, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. You don’t want to survive the pandemic just to have your mind deteriorate. Thirty minutes of reading also lowers your heart rate and blood pressure as well as improving your sleep quality.
Studies confirm that both fiction and non-fiction books are beneficial. Fiction books can help you escape from the stressful lockdown situation. Non-fiction books are excellent sources of information. The list of things you can learn from books is enormous. Reading books also helps you live longer, and since survival is the name of the game, then there’s no reason for you to shy away from a good literary session. Bonus – reading prepper books will improve your survival skills. Speaking of that…
Learn a New Skill
With a raging pandemic outside and lots of free time on your hands, it’s an excellent time to learn a new skill. Learning new skills increases your knowledge base. Having a broad knowledge base means you’ll have more information to draw from in an SHTF situation.
Think outside the box when deciding on which ability to master next. Have you considered shoe repair, trap setting, medicinal herb use, blacksmithing, or sewing? Maybe you’d like to brush up on your tracking skills or archery accuracy?
These days, you can sign up for online courses, watch YouTube tutorials, or pick up an instructional manual to start you on your way. The more you practice, the more proficient you will become.
Get a Pet
Animals have been man’s companions for centuries. The shutdown may be just the reason you need to get a pet. Dogs need regular exercise, which means you’ll get more exercise too. Cats prefer regular routines, which means you’ll need to get up and attend to their needs no matter how unmotivated you feel.
Having a pet has been proven to reduce blood, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. They provide companionship, eliminating depression and loneliness. If having a pet is not possible right now, offer to walk your neighbor’s dog or volunteer at an animal shelter in your area.
Have you been meaning to expand your prepper pantry with some new shelves? Well, there’s no time like the present! Planning, building, and organizing are great mental and physical activities.
Pick a project or two that you will be able to finish during the winter shutdown. Make sure you’ll be able to get all the materials before you begin. A half-finished job is frustrating, and that’s what you are trying to avoid. Also, be sure to pick a project that you are excited about finishing, you’ll stay motivated longer than something you view as a chore.
Whatever you decide to do, remember to not to think of the 2020 winter coronavirus shutdown as a limitation, but rather as an opportunity!
What’s your plan to stay sane with this winter’s coronavirus shutdown?