As more and more Americans continue to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations, states are continuing to ease up on pandemic restrictions to allow vaccinated individuals to get back to a certain sense of normalcy this summer.
As we enter back into the world, many of us are mainly concerned about staying healthy, so it’s important that we continue to take care of ourselves to stay healthy as the pandemic continues to come to a prolonged end.
“As the world begins to get back to its pre-pandemic state, health should stay at the front of our minds. There are things you can do to avoid infection by SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses that could harm you.” says Brenda Rea, lifestyle and preventive medicine physician at Loma Linda University Health.
Rea and other physicians recommend the same basic categories of maintaining a healthy lifestyle: a proper diet, daily exercise, drinking water, mental wellness, and sleep.
When it comes to our diets it’s important to remember that balance is key. Rea claims that “diet plays one of the most important roles in either increasing or reducing stress, down to a cellular level. The fuel you put into your body can work as a defense against illness and help your body work at its peak performance level,” or it can do the opposite and work to make you more lethargic and vulnerable to illness.
Daily exercise can also reduce your chance of getting either a virus or long-term disease. Getting exercise everyday doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it seems. It could mean getting up and going for a 30 minute walk everyday, doing yoga every morning, etc.
“Exercise can increase your immunity to certain illnesses while also reducing your stress hormones, which can increase your susceptibility to disease.”
Water is obviously one of the most important things in all of our lives. So it’s important that you make sure you’re drinking enough of it every day. Rea explained how water “helps rid your body of toxins, and ensures that your body systems function properly, and helps prevent illness.”
“Adequate water intake enables your brain to produce the necessary chemicals like serotonin or melatonin for optimal emotional and sleep health.”
Stress and mental illness in general can also weaken our immune systems, so it’s important that we take care of our mental health as much as our physical health as this pandemic comes to an end. “Taking care of your mental health can help you avoid mood disorders like depression or anxiety, reduce risk of infection, and less prone to feel lethargic or unmotivated. To get back to normal with less stress, I recommend putting a priority on your mental wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing.”
Finally, it’s important that you’re getting a proper amount of sleep every night. Additionally, you want to make sure that the sleep itself is quality.
“For adults, sleeping 7-9 hours a night is optimal.Infection-fighting antibodies are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep, making you more vulnerable to disease,” Rea explained.
We all have to work together to take care of ourselves throughout the coming months. These have been unpredictable and trying times that have taken a toll on everyone to a certain degree. Check in on how your loved ones are doing, but most importantly make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.