Sheltering At Home
A Message From Andrew Weil, M.D.
More than 300 million Americans have been told to stay at home for the next few weeks and maybe longer because of the nationwide spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19. This isn’t easy for most of us, but fortunately most “stay at home” orders allow for some time outdoors – for grocery shopping, to walk dogs or play with children or to get exercise that’s not possible indoors. However, when out for a walk or run it is essential to stay at least six feet away from anyone who is not a member of your household. There’s an important reason for this “six feet” recommendation: when you stand too close to a person who coughs or sneezes, you’re in range to inhale any droplets of liquid they may spray out. These droplets could contain the coronavirus.
Given the stay at home orders, I recommend taking as many walks as possible, and gardening if you can. If you are able to manage some time outside in the mornings, you may find improvements in the quality of your overnight sleep.
I know many of us tend to turn to comfort foods at times when we’re anxious and stressed. Try to be extra vigilant about eating while isolating at home. Focus on planning and preparing healthy, well-balanced meals and avoid snacking out of boredom.
You also may find that practicing meditation daily will help quiet an overactive, agitated mind and can help relieve cabin fever. Try not to take out your frustrations on your spouse, children or any frontline workers with whom you may need to interact. Focus on staying calm.
Being home does have some pluses. It is an opportune time to catch up on reading, to clean, organize and figure out what is essential and what really isn’t. And try to build some fun into your days, maybe with puzzles and games. Try to limit television and streaming to a manageable amount. Bingeing on anything is never a good idea, and bingeing on news and mindless shows can waste a lot of time that otherwise could be used for productive introspection.
Andrew Weil, M.D.