March 19, 2020

Tips to Keep You Healthy, Happy and Stress Free While Staying Home

Feeling a little stressed or stir-crazy lately? We’re with you! Amidst the current COVID-19 concerns, our daily habits have been upturned and anxiety looms large. While there’s no doubt self-care has become especially challenging, it’s also especially important. We hope these tips from our team of registered dietitians and nutrition industry pros help you stay well while you stay at home.

Nutrition – Have a Plan

“Have frozen fruits or vegetables? Combine your favorites into “smoothie kits” for a quick, non-perishable but super fresh tasting meal or snack. Here’s one of my favorites: PB&J Smoothie: 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen or fresh kale, 6 slices of fresh or frozen banana – add peanut butter (I like chunky) and your choice of liquid (e.g., milk).” — Emma Gregory, RD

“Maintain a business-as-usual mentality. If you bring your lunch to the office, plan it out at home too. This helps prevent mindless grazing.” — Laura Campbell, RD

“Limit grazing, especially among teens who like to basically eat anytime possible, by establishing mealtimes and planning menus together. Even get children to cook.” — Kathryn Harrington

“Crackers are not lunch. Take the time to make and eat an actual meal when you can (sandwich, salad, frozen meal, whatever) rather than snacking all day. You’ll feel more energized and productive if you take a 15-30 min break to eat something satisfying!” — Andrea Carrothers, MS, RD

“Cook extra food at dinner the night before so you will have lunch prepared for the next day when you are busy working!” — Sherry Watkins

“When you can, aim for the ‘satisfaction trifecta’ by including a source of protein, fat and fiber at each meal. This nutritional trio can help ensure your plate – and your blood sugar – stay balanced throughout the day. Of course, perfection need not be the enemy of the good. While resources are limited, work with what you’ve got and practice some self-compassion, too.” — Jean Owen Curran, MS, RD

Fitness – Every Little Bit Counts

“Walk while listening to webinars or podcasts. I get lots of steps at home this way!” — Sherry Watkins

“Walk around while taking calls!” — Moira Allison, MBA, RD

“Carve out some time in your day (block that cal!) to go for a walk outside, jump in on a virtual exercise class or engage in body weight/weight lifting exercises. It’s a great way to boost your energy + ensure you get a sweat sesh in. If your pantry is stocked, grab those cans and get lifting!” — Lindsay MacNab, MS, RD

“I love starting the day with online barre or yoga classes. Barre3 is my go-to and it has 15 days’ worth of free online classes you can do at-home, sans equipment. You can choose from 10-, 30-, 45- or 60-minute workouts and all options are a great blend of cardio, strength training and mindfulness. There are a ton of other options on YouTube too. Scrolling through the different classes is an easy and fun way to shake up your workout routine – all within the comfort of your own home.” — Elizabeth Stoltz

“Many companies are offering online workout “classes” you can do from home using your own body weight. The Nike Training Club, Tone It Up and Classpass apps have libraries of workouts ranging from HIIT to yoga for a nominal fee. Free workouts are also being offered by local studios and national chains. Check out Shred415’s IGTV, Core Power Yoga On Demand, and PureBarre’s Facebook events for inspiration.” — Lauren Hoffman, MBA, RD

Mental Wellness – Be Kind to Yourself and Others

“Seek the Sun. Sometimes a home office means the basement or lack of windows. Take a call near a sunny spot when possible and soak in the rays while you absorb the call contents.” — Erin DeSimone MS, RD, LDN, FAND

“Start each professional interaction with a simple “How are you managing?” Compassion and empathy will pay dividends for yourself and others.” — Kathryn Harrington

“If you’re sharing a home office with a significant other or roommate, post your daily schedule, including conference calls and meetings somewhere everyone can see. This helps make everyone aware of when you’re available or need some quiet time and can head off competing phone conversations before they happen. Also, if you’re struggling to be productive, the Pomodoro method has shown great success for home office workers, a time “chunking” technique where you work for 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. You complete this pattern 4 times and you get a 15-minute break. I use Tomato Timer – Time Manager. Overall, don’t forget to be kind to yourself regarding motivation and productivity.” — Lauren Hoffman, MBA, RD

“Change out of your pajamas! It’s really easy to spend all day in your jammies and I encourage this on sick or vacation days. But when you are working from home, changing out of your pajamas serves as a signal to your brain that it’s time to get into “work mode.” At the other end of the day, changing out of your work clothes puts you back into “family/relax mode.” Doing this regularly not only helps to train your brain, but it puts boundaries around your workday, so you don’t spend all day working or let work stress spill over into your family time.” — Bree Flammini

“It is crucial to take mental breaks during the day when you are hunkered down at home, to replace the typical office interactions you get during the day. If you can’t grab a coffee with a co-worker, reduce stress and take a mental break by meditating for at least five minutes. There are a ton of great apps with this type of content (some are even free), so you can clear your mind without leaving your house. Make Wednesday’s #WellnessWednesday and make it a goal to meditate for refreshed mind, body and spirit!” — Chelsea Elkin, MS, RD, CDN

“Diffuse essential oils in your workspace, like lavender, sandalwood, bergamot, chamomile and rose, to engage the senses and induce a calming effect.” — Sherry Watkins

“Try to schedule facetimes or virtual hangouts with friends and family to help stay connected. Keeping in touch with loved ones, near and far, can really help keep spirits up during times like these!” — Tara Linitz, MS, RD

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