I’m in Seattle and I’ve been in my house now for nearly 3 weeks. I know that others around the world have been in their homes for much longer and I want to start out by saying that, though most people around the world have been affected now by COVID-19 in some way, there’s a huge range of what “affected” looks like. I want to acknowledge my privileges here as I write this post and I want to offer some tips on how to stay at home and be healthy (and happy, even) during this really challenging time. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I can’t help out on the front line like doctors and nurses but I still speak to my clients every day, and I see the struggles to stick live a balanced life at home-all-the-time.
I’m seeing a lot of memes and quotes about how you “don’t have to be your most productive” or you can “just relax and let go” during this time. How it’s “ok to stay in your pj’s all day” and “Netflix and chill” all the time. I want to honor the fear and anxiety that this has provoked. A lot of people are isolated right now, some people are very sick and many, many have lost their jobs and been hit financially. All that aside, I’m going to argue that this is a time to pull ourselves up, motivate and support each other, and work towards the things we CAN right now. This is no time for sleeping in. This is time for action.
Silver Linings of the Quarantine
I’ve found a lot of silver linings during the quarantine/shelter in place/stay at home weeks. I can’t say that I don’t get bored, scared, worried about others or that going to the grocery store isn’t a downright terrifying experience but these are the things I’m grateful for. I’d really love to hear in the comments about your gratitudes and what you’ve found came out of this positively:
- My house is perfectly clean and every single piece of it is organized. I’ve gotten to projects that I never would have otherwise.
- I’ve been able to take on more dietetic interns! Generally, I need to spread them out but as their internship rotations cancelled on them, I was able to pick them back up and help them finish their programs. This is also really he
- I’m not eating out every day. Guilty as charged…I’m on the go constantly and I love eating out. This time has absolutely changed the way I interact with meal prep and cooking which is a joy that I had pushed to the back-burner in recent years.
- Cross training is back! I’ll admit that I love the workouts I do so much that I do them too much and I’ve struggled a lot with chronic overuse injuries in recent years. Now, I’m dancing at home, bike riding, walking every day and writing new strength and cardio workouts. This is a much better balance.
- I’m spending way more time with my pet and my partner. What a joy!
- Connection with my friends abroad have never been stronger. I’m in close contact with my friends in Germany, Myanmar, Lebanon, Kuwait and Jordan because suddenly, we have more in common than ever and we check in to make sure everyone is safe.
- People in my neighborhood are getting outdoors more, checking in on each other and there’s more focus in the community on healthful cooking at home. There’s never been so much interest in baking bread and using healthy canned foods like beans and tomatoes – cool!
- There have been environmental benefits all around the world from animals living healthier lives outdoors to much less air pollution. We needed this.
Do the Best you Can Every Day
My advice to you, as your friend and dietitian, is to do the best you can every day right now. Don’t give up. Make a list. Check it off. Push yourself. Get creative. If you lost your business, start a new one. If you want to do art; get your projects out. If you know you need more exercise, get out there. Closets full? Organize them! Don’t know how to cook but want to? Watch a video. Some days will be better than others and no one knows how long we’ll be fighting this global pandemic, but in the mean time, we may as well focus on how to stay at home and be healthy. And happy. And productive. And brave.
How to Stay at Home and Be Healthy
These are my tips on how to survive and thrive right now in quarantine (or if you’re still going out due to necessity). This is what’s working for me and my clients and I wanted to present a wide range here; things that are free and things that cost so that you’ve got options based on your current circumstances.
- Keep drinking in check. I’m talking to a lot of folks who are struggling with wanting to drink much more than usual. I’ll be honest that my own wine fridge is…getting a lot of use. My Dry January this year was SO popular and I’m encouraging folks who are interested in cutting back to set some goals around alcohol right now or even consider taking a break for their health and balance. Tips here on how to do that.
- Be active every.single.day. I’m having a blast, honestly, with all the options out there. I write my own workouts so be sure to follow me on instagram to see what I post there if you want to pop on and join. Other than that, I’ve got a rotation going on that’s really working. I encourage you to do whatever you can to commit at least an hour every day to being active.
- Root Yoga is offering daily yoga classes. Live from Columbia City, I love supporting this beautiful studio.
- Dance Church If you want to invite joy and laughter into your life, these Seattle-based dancers have the BEST class every Sunday am and Wednesday pm. Make sure to donate the class fee (usually $15) every time you join, like I do, if you can!
- Community Fitness, a local studio here in Seattle
- A Couch to 5k plan. Follow an app or program to get outside to walk or run more in a structured way that can keep you movitated as you work towards your goals. I’ve got my nutrition for fitness tips here for you to stay fueled.
- Support local (or non-local) businesses. If you have favorites that you want to be there when this is all over, support them now. I’m so thrilled to see how creative local business are being. This week alone, I supported the following:
- Trophy Cupcakes “Pay it Forward” program
- Apollo Nails who were offering gift certificates for the future
- Neko Cat Cafe adopts out only FLV+ cats who are at such high risk for never getting adopted. This is how we got Sir Potamus! You can purchase some of their super cute swag or a gift cert for future visits in Seattle or Bellingham.
- Trevino Beauty Collective because I KNOW I’ll need a facial after all this is over. And they need support now.
- Tree House Humane Society cats need help and animals have less support when we’re under quarantine
- Children International because kids around the world are being affected now more than ever
- Embrace cooking. Focus on meal-prepping large batches to refrigerate or freeze so you’re not cooking ALL the time right now. I’ve got a lot of easy recipes on the blog that are a perfect way to use shelf-stable ingredients that make large batches right now. Other dietitian friends are offering a lot of support on how to use shelf-stable foods as well. This round-up by Amy Gorin is really fantastic.
Here are some of my favorites for you right now:
- Do the things you’ve been putting off. I’m a real ‘no-time-like-the-present’ person anyhow and I’ve been delighted to get just a little breathing room to knock out some projects at home. Organize! Go through your closets. Clean out your car. Organize those kitchen cabinets. If you have a little downtime, don’t fill it (all) watching shows. Do things around your home that your future-self will thank you for. This is also a great time to commit to things you’ve been wanting to learn or things you’ve been wanting to create. How can you fill this time with productive and positive activities?
My personal goal is to come out of this period of time better than ever. I want a stronger business, better connections with others, to be in better shape, to have more balance in my life, and to be a better cook.
What about you? Are you with me?
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
Thanks for visiting! If you’re like me: obsessed with eating, wine, going out and traveling, you’re in the right place. Champagne Nutrition® LLC is a Registered Dietitian-run concierge virtual practice helping clients look and feel better. On this blog, you’ll ﬁnd cocktails, mocktails, and plant-based recipes that are easy to make quickly at home and pack for leftovers on your adventures.