Slip-sliding: My 5 Non-negotiables for COVID-19

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This is a pandemic. Things are slipping...

I am completely okay with letting some things go. 

Even though I typically work from home and homeschool one child, this is soul-suckingly different. There are now four of us working here, like sardines in a can. For the most part, job demands are the same, homeschooling snags still occur (we will conquer relative percent, in spite of the hopelessness it brings out in the big kid), and work-life boundaries are as blurred as ever. Add to that the stress of balancing online meeting schedules, a lack of social stimulation, incessant family togetherness (we love each other, really), and it really is okay to let some things slide.

Here is what I'm letting go:

Screen time. We usually have semi-strict limits here. Both kids are involved in team or club activities that keep them busy and leave little time for screen play. Since those things aren’t happening now, the kids are gravitating toward Minecraft and chatting with friends on Kids Messenger. It’s okay.

Housework. Let’s be honest, I’m not the best at housekeeping to begin with, but things have definitely slid downhill here. Once a week I typically rally the troops and divide tasks between us, which gets the job done quickly (and builds lifeskills). Lately, it’s a task here and a task there. I’d rather just enjoy some downtime. We can survive with a little more disorder in our lives.

Vigorous exercise. I didn’t want it to happen this way. In fact, I was determined not to let this happen, but here we are. These days, exercise is a long walk with the dogs and the family (likely catching Pokemon as we go). I still run occasionally, but I’ve struggled to maintain this habit during COVID. Maybe slower, more restorative exercise just feels better right now? Maybe I’m just saturated with all the things and am struggling to be consistent with one more demand? In any case, it’s not a big deal for now.

Breakfast (for me). To be clear, I am still having breakfast – I just find that I am exhausted by the options and have no desire to prepare things in the morning right now. My solution is to turn to all-in-one nutritional protein powders mixed with oat milk. I’m really loving SoTru and the Vega All-in-One powders at the moment. Of course, this means I’m also ready for lunch a little earlier than normal. It’s okay! I’m letting this one go.

    The non-negotiables:

    While I’m constantly reminding myself that these are stressful times and being flexible is key, there are some things that I simply cannot let slip. For me, these are hallmarks of my own survival. They keep me feeling well both mentally and physically, and even help to boost my immune health (which is so very important right now).

    Full disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission from product links contained below.

    Maintaining a sleep routine

    I am militant about my sleep, even in the best of times. I know that I need 8-9 hours to feel energized and to perform my best, whether that’s as a clinician, an entrepreneur, a parent, a teacher, or a wife. Truly, I do not mess around here because sleep is vital to our health and well being. This is so important to me that I instill it in my kids as well, so whatever happens in the public health realm, our sleep schedules remain unchanged.

    Whole foods & hydration

    Initial research shows that nutrition has an influence on COVID-19 susceptibility and long-term health outcomes. This isn’t surprising, given the ties between food and both physical and mental health. Food nourishes us at the cellular level, affecting the resilience of our health and the responsiveness of our immune system.

    All of this to say that I’m sticking to whole foods for myself and my family, even though the idea of convenience sounds nice. Am I completely uncompromising about this? Not at all! Food can nourish us in so many ways, and comfort food can be very important to our well being – the trick is to realize that eating that way all the time isn’t supportive to our health. Besides, the treats are much tastier when they’re not routine staples!

    As for water, maintaining proper hydration not only helps our cells to function optimally, but it reduces fatigue and enhances our natural detoxification processes. I’ve found that I drink more during the day if I use a straw, so I purchased these reusable ones for my family.

    Get outdoors

    I’ve always been an outdoorsy kind of person; I thrive outside, like my batteries are recharged by nature. Navigating when to get out, and whether to get out, has been exhausting during COVID-19. I had to quickly realize that my longing for woodsy trails away from it all could be offset (a little) by frequent dog walks with the family here in town. Does it meet up to my ideal? Not a bit, but getting out certainly does wonders for my mental health and helps us all to feel less stir-crazy.

    Supplements for stress & immune health

    Let me be clear: Nutritional supplements can be amazing therapeutic tools, but their use MUST be recommended by a qualified health professional. Some nutrients interact with medications, supplement quantity can very widely by individual, and quality is extremely important. Schedule a call if you have questions.

    There is a wealth of research on the importance of certain nutrients on immune health, and this is also true in relation to COVID-19 and reducing infection risk. While I typically take a quality multivitamin and a few specific supplements for my own health concerns, these are the two that I find invaluable right now:

    Vitamin D3: Research suggests that vitamin D status – your body’s levels of vitamin D – plays a role in the severity, complication rate, and recovery times of those infected with the novel coronavirus. Vitamin D will NOT make you immune to the virus or lessen your chances of infection, but it does seem to be linked to symptom severity and recovery. Our whole family is taking vitamin D3 and getting outside into the sun whenever we can (this also boosts D levels). It certainly can’t hurt!

    Adaptogenic Herbs: Adaptogens are herbs that have a known effect on our physiological stress response [full-text research link: pdf download]. There are an array of mushrooms and herbs that fall into this category and they each have different effects, making it imperative to speak with a professional who can recommend a combination that fits your unique needs. I don’t know about you, but I’m busier now than I was before the pandemic struck, and coping definitely takes its toll. The adaptogenic blend that works for me has been a God-send, taking the edge off my stress and increasing my ability to focus and deal with change.

    If you have questions about any of the supplements I mentioned above, or would like to learn more please reach out to schedule a free focus call. I offer 25% off retail prices in my dispensary for my entire tribe. Let me look at all the interactions and fit recommendations to your own health history – I’d be happy to help!

    A bit of pampering

    This one is just plain fun, but it is vital to my spirit! I might not be out in the community, but I’m having Zoom calls left and right (anyone else?). Comfort might be paramount – there are a lot of days with jeans-and-a-nice-top – but I’m taking the time to enjoy skincare routines and apply make-up a few days each week. Why bother? Because it jumpstarts my day, increases my self-confidence, and makes me feel like things are a tiny bit normal. As a Beautycounter consultant, their products are my own personal choice for balancing quality with cleaner beauty.

    So tell me: what are your non-negotiables during this crazy time? I’d love to hear what’s keeping you afloat!

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