After six months of minimum physical interactions, many are craving a sense of normalcy. The priority on health and well-being may have fallen to the wayside as Southeast Michigan continues remote operations and social distancing. As we enter our sixth month of the pandemic, let’s revisit the areas of well-being that contribute to overall healthier, happier lives.
The Gallup Sharecare Well-Being Index measures individuals’ perceptions of their lives through five elements:
- Physical health
- Financial security
- Relationship to community
- Sense of purpose
- Social relationships
The five elements of well-being play a vital role in overall health. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, maintaining positive health in all five areas has been a significant challenge for many. Below are simple strategies to check in with these five areas of your life.
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Benefits include brain health, weight management, lower disease risk, storing bones and muscles, and increased energy levels.
If you have been waiting for gyms in Southeast Michigan to reopen, the wait is over. Governor Whitmer approved gyms and pools to reopen last week, with an extensive list of safety protocols to ensure a safe and successful reopen of those facilities. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of returning to the gym anytime soon, there are creative ways to stay active at home including walking, running, and yoga.
As we head into colder months, outdoor activities will become unavailable. Consider purchasing exercise equipment online if you are able. A treadmill, stationary bike, weights, resistance bands, or even a jump rope will serve as tools to help you stay active. Participating in virtual at-home workouts or yoga sessions is another good option.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees were experiencing low financial well-being. Now, the public health crisis brings additional financial challenges. If you are struggling financially, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with your manager. There are steps employers can take to better prioritize employee financial well-being.
Relationship to community
While we are unable to gather in large numbers in community spaces, there are creative ways you can support and empower your community while social distancing.
- Make an effort to call your neighbors, especially those who are alone or elderly, to ask how they are doing.
- Extend your grocery delivery or childcare services to neighbors who may be in dire need of an extra set of hands as the new school year begins.
- Start a food donation drive in your community to supply families in need with nutritious meals.
Sense of purpose
Times are tough and adjusting to “the new normal” may take some time. By continuing to pursue passions and goals that are important to you, you will lessen symptoms of seasonal depression in the coming months. If you can no longer participate in activities that provide a sense of purpose, consider trying something new:
- Practice mindfulness. Start a beginner virtual yoga practice or devote 10 minutes every morning to meditation.
- Teach yourself something new – guitar, knitting, a new language, etc.
- Read books, listen to podcasts, and watch videos that motivate and “lift you up intellectually,” suggests Forbes.
- If your schedule allows, register for an online course and add a certificate of achievement to your resume.
As the holidays draw closer, the thought of missing out on yearly traditions with friends, family, and coworkers is a sad thought. Now, more than ever, it is important to strengthen your connections digitally. If you haven’t done so yet, make it a habit to check in with loved ones.
- Virtual coffee meetings with coworkers provide something exciting to look forward to each week.
- Video and FaceTime calls provides a deeper level of communication that phone calls can’t provide. Turning on your webcam can help coworkers and family members see nonverbal behaviors such as mood, facial expressions, and eye-gaze.
As we enter our sixth month of the pandemic, it is important to revisit the areas of your life that contribute to your overall health and well-being. If we can ask for help when needed and support our neighbors and coworkers when able, we can come out of this experience stronger and more resilient.