healthy in social distancing

Working from home during this covid-inspired isolation can be either wonderful or a recipe for disaster for our health. It eliminates long stressful commutes, but also gives us constant access to snacks. It creates space in our day for self-care, but also abolishes any significant amount of incidental exercise (which personally is my favourite type of exercise).

Here are the 3 things I’m doing to help my body during self-isolation:

Time restricted eating (sometimes called intermittent fasting):

One of the challenges with extending our overnight fasting window is that we are often already at work when we choose to break our fast. This means that our food choices may not be as ideal as they would be if we could prepare our first meal of the day at home. There are many benefits to restricting our eating window, but for me it’s good for my digestive tract and helps me keep trim. My overnight fast goes from dinnertime with my kids (6pm) until 10 or 11am the next morning. So not a crazy fast, just no after dinner snacking, and pushing back my breakfast until I’m really really hungry. When I eat at 10/11am I make a big meal with tons of veggies, protein and fat, and this keeps me full until at least 2pm (at which time I get a little snacky). Here is a sample day:

    • 10am breakfast: sliced and roasted sweet potato, large green olives, cabbage and kale fried in butter, avocado, an egg or chickpea flour egg, maybe a piece of gluten-free toast, and an anti-inflammatory smoothie (blueberries, kale, organic unsweetened soy milk, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, flax oil).
    • 2pm snack: homemade vegan paleo cookies x 2 with chai rooibos tea.
    • 6pm dinner: roasted free range chicken, carrot + turnip mash, broccoli.
Start and end your workday with fresh air:

We are SOOOooo fortunate that this period of isolation is coming in spring. Being able to easily get outside and move is so vital to thriving during social distancing. Schedule in a gentle early morning walk to let the primitive parts of your brain and being know that this is very distinctly a new day, and not a strange continuation of yesterday. And at the end of your workday get outside for a more intense burn-the-day-off kind of movement, and pair it with something you would normally do on your commute home from work like music, new radio, etc.

Twist and turn… a lot! Yoga/stretching:

Most of us are generally moving less when we leave our house less. To feel good now, to bring blood flow and mobility to corners of our bodies, and to prevent chronic injuries it’s important that we put in the extra effort in the form of a night time movement practice. This can be 10 minutes of gentle yoga in front of the TV, foam rolling before bed, or any other little bit of movement that looks different from the type of movements you were doing in your workday. Make it short so that it’s easy to commit to and becomes a long-term practice.

This is also a great time to do the health experiments you’ve been meaning to do. Try that paleo or vegan diet, experiment with fasting, start a meditation practice, swap out TV time for reading in bed, prioritize sleep hygiene, etc. This period of social distancing can be very challenging for us on many levels, but can also be a tremendous opportunity to establish lifelong self-care practices.