gardening

Combating Pandemic Fatigue

An unintentional phenomenon is on the rise—pandemic fatigue. People are tired of staying at home.

People want to be the social creatures they inherently are. People want their “normal” back.

This collective fatigue is making some people— consciously or unconsciously—disregard pandemic guidance such as social distancing and mask-wearing. Others may be reaching a mental health breaking point.

Alarming data from a U.S. Census Bureau survey revealed the psychological toll taken by the pandemic. American adults were asked typical mental health screening questions. Twenty-four percent showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder, and 30% showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. Those rates were higher among younger adults (ages 18 to 29), women, and people making less than $25,000 a year.

  • If you feel like you’re battling pandemic fatigue and losing self-discipline, stay the course with these coping tips:
  • Try a new exercise. If you’ve been finding it harder to stay active, experiment with something new like walking, yoga or cycling.
  • Try meditation. Mindful activities can help lower your stress levels and improve your mood.
  • Try saying it out loud. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, especially if you’re stressed, frustrated or anxious. Ignoring those strong feelings won’t make them go away.
  • Try new recipes. You’ve likely already mastered the pandemic sourdough or banana bread, so roll up your sleeves and whip up something else. This is a good time to prepare healthier meals and use that time as a fun daily activity for you and your family.
  • Consider how you relaxed pre-pandemic, and try to get back to that lifestyle. If you find cooking, reading, or listening to music relaxing, make time to keep that a part of your routine.

If you’re worried about your mental well-being, please contact your doctor.

Benefits of Buying Seasonal Produce

In today’s market, it’s normal to see the same produce available year-round. However, that doesn’t mean the quality’s the same throughout the seasons. Eating seasonally means you are simply taking advantage of the harvest schedule and enjoying produce at its peak. For this time of year, that includes foods with rich fall colors like burnt orange, deep burgundy and hunter green.

Shop for seasonal produce and reap the following benefits:

  • Fresher food—Seasonal produce likely is recently picked and hasn’t been sitting on a truck or in a warehouse for weeks.
  • Better taste—In-season produce retains its nutritional value and tastes better, sweeter and perfectly ripe. If the produce is tasty, you’ll likely eat more of it. That’s a healthy win-win.
  • Lower costs—When produce is in season, farmers harvest larger crops. The increased supply may mean lower prices for you.
  • Reduced carbon footprint—Out-of-season produce is typically imported or takes more energy to grow due to the need for greenhouses.
  • It’s called harvest season for a reason, so there should be plenty of fresh produce options available at your local farmers market or grocery store

How to Stay Physically Active

Due to social distancing and gym closures, it may be tougher to be active. People are home more and likely indulging in sedentary activities—like sitting, watching TV, or spending time in front of other electronic devices.

Instead of binge-watching your favorite show, consider these tips for staying active:

  • Get moving. Anything counts! Don’t focus on running or working out in a gym. Grocery shopping and cleaning the house count as exercise.
  • Go at your own pace. Ease into exercise and slowly increase as you build up your stamina.
  • Listen to your body. You know yourself best. If you start to feel dizzy or experience pain, stop and take a break.

Home Activities

Whether you want to get caught up on housework, spend time outside or just have a little fun, there are lots of ways to get physical activity at home. If you are struggling with motivation, start by turning off the TV and tuning into your favorite music. Stream your favorite artists and let the music set the mood.

HOUSEWORK: 30 minutes of housework is the equivalent of over 2000 steps.

  • Vacuum your entire house. The forward and back motion works your abdominal muscles.
  • Sweep and mop the floors. Switch arms as you go and think of working your shoulders and upper arms.
  • Tidy up. Put items away from one room to another, walk up and downstairs, and squat when you pick up an item to avoid back strain and build muscle.
  • Wash the dishes. Stand with your legs hip-width apart and do the dishes by hand. Everything gets clean at once and you won’t have to worry about emptying a dishwasher later!

OUTDOOR EFFORT: 30 minutes of gardening

and yard work can add up to over 3000 steps.

  • Rake the leaves. Switch arms as you rake so both sides of your body are getting the exercise.
  • Wash your car. The motions of wetting, scrubbing and rinsing can work your arms, back and legs.
  • Gardening. Planting or weeding can be a great workout for your body and soul.

FUN ACTIVITIES INSIDE OR OUT: Take a break from chores for play.

  • Dancing for 30 minutes is almost 4000 steps.
  • Toss a frisbee for 2200 steps in 30 minutes.
  • Hula hoop for a half-hour to tighten your core and gain over 3000 steps.
  • Anything goes, so come up with your own chore list or fun ideas for activity at home. You can move on your own or invite family or neighbors too!

*This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not intended to be exhaustive, nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice. Readers should contact a health professional for appropriate advice*

Dave Vozza is ready to work with you and help you navigate the program.
  • ©2018 Municipal Reinsurance Health Insurance Fund

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