The province has eased COVID restrictions and businesses are now gradually opening. Are you keeping cautious and still spending more time at home? This makes sense, after all the virus is still out there. While at home, continue making healthy choices to build your immunity so that you’ll be ready to face anything when things go back to normal. Here are a few tips:
Pandemic or not, it has always been important to have a healthy diet. But in these times, eating healthy is crucial to boost your immunity and limit the chances of catching COVID-19. You should:
- Choose fresh food whenever possible. But if you need to stock up on canned food to limit your trips to the grocery, you can still keep it healthy. Choose canned products that maintain their nutrients and have little or no preservatives like beans, tuna, canned fruits and vegetables, and soups (choose the low sodium ones). Also consider grains, nuts and seeds (these last from four to six months in the pantry) as well as dried beans and fruits.
- Practise good food hygiene – Sanitizing our homes, especially areas where we keep food and prepare meals, has become more important than ever before. Go to Healthy Canadians to learn tips from safe cooking temperatures to proper handling, storing and preparing food.
- Try not to overeat – With our pantries and fridges stocked, we have the tendency to overindulge. You could also be stress-eating. Experts say that snacking more than normal in these times is ok – it may be your body’s way of coping with change (see Quarantine 15). But if it’s getting out of control, see if it’s related to your emotional or mental health. Ask for advice from your family doctor or a dietician. Also check the Anxiety Disorder Association of Manitoba site for resources.
- Stay away from quacks – There are many posts related to COVID cures and preventive measures going around on social media. Don’t take all of them seriously. Read reliable sources like the Manitoba government’s site or the World Health Organization’s Myth Busters page.
Older Winnipeggers can now call 311 for help – If you need help with the delivery of groceries, medications or specialized social services including well-being resources, 311 can help.
Great sites for more food info:
- Unicef (What parents should know about COVID-19)
- Tunes and wooden spoons (YouTube) – Nova Scotia native Mary Janet MacDonald shows how easy it is to bake your favorites.
- Bon Appétit – a YouTube channel featuring chefs sharing recipes and cooking tips.
- Listen to Home Cooking, a podcast from chef Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway on “pantry cooking” to help you figure out what to cook during quarantine.
The urge to just lounge around is strong when you’re at home. But we need exercise to keep our mood and immunity up. Aside from doing simple aerobic exercises, remember that it’s not against Manitoba Public Health Orders to go outside to walk, jog, or bike (just remember to keep social distancing in mind). You can also do simple exercises at home to keep you moving. Here are some resources you can explore:
- Dancing alone together – Live-streamed dance classes from dance parties to ballet.
- Yoga with Adrienne (YouTube)– Easy to follow yoga sessions for various levels and purposes (e.g. calming, weight loss, for energy, etc.).
- YMCA 360 – Health and fitness videos (for all ages).
- Planet Fitness’ Home “Work-Ins” – Live-streamed every 7 pm (ET) on their Facebook page.
- Super Stretch Yoga HD (free app for kids – Apple iOS)
- GoNoodle Games (free app with fun games that get kids moving – Apple iOS)
- Hops – Journey of Tree Spirit (free app/gamified tracker that motivates kids to be active – Apple iOS)
- Charity Miles (free walking and running tracker that enables you to earn money for charity whenever you walk, run or bike for Apple/Google Play)
- Walkr (Free gamified fitness app and interstellar walking adventure – for Apple iOS/Google Play)
- Zombies, Run (free running game and audio adventure – for Apple iOS)
- Best fitness games for kids (Common Sense Media-recommended paid apps for kids from preschoolers to pre-teens).
Maintain a healthy mind
Being anxious and stressed during a pandemic is understandable. Aside from fears about getting sick, this is a time of rapid change and adjustment. The first step to managing your mental health is to limit your intake of news. Have just enough to be informed and updated, ignore the rest.
Talk about your worries with a supportive family member, friend or a counsellor. Video chats and other virtual means can ease the feeling of isolation. If they’re not available, call mental health crisis helplines if you have difficulty coping with your thoughts. You don’t need to be in a crisis to contact them. If you’re an older adult (or if you’re worried about an older adult living alone), the Broadway Seniors Resource Council is offering daily friendly calls. Through this program, you can benefit from daily check ups to keep you connected with your community. You will also enjoy some friendly company (call Melanie at 204-772-3533). Meanwhile, if you are a service provider who is dealing with burnout or compassion fatigue during the pandemic, Sara Riel Inc. offers workshops for long-term care managers and staff. They also offer employment and peer support over the phone if you need to connect with someone.
Another option is to get the help of a professional. The Province launched the Mental Health Virtual Therapy Program (AbilitiCBT) for Manitobans experiencing low to mid symptoms of anxiety due to the pandemic. Help is delivered by a therapist through a digital platform using your smartphone or tablet. Go to the AbilitiCBT Program page know more about it and to sign up. Watch the video below to know more about the program:
AbilitiCBT overview video – Manitoba
You can also try mindfulness/meditation apps like:
- Calm (free, in-app purchases) Apple Store/Google Play – Provides guided meditation sessions from 3 to 25 minutes. It also has sleep sounds, nature sounds and breathing exercises.
- Headspace (free two-week trial) Apple Store/Google Play – A well-known meditation app that has guides, sleep sounds, emergency meditations and other materials for all ages.
- Smiling Mind (free) Apple Store/Google Play – It has simple 10-minute meditations broken into categories (by age). It has a Wellbeing Check In tool to help you check in with yourself before a meditation.
More free lessons, courses, tips and demonstrations can be found here: All the free things you can do online during the coronavirus pandemic, Olivia Bowden, Global News.
Do you have more questions about government supports and information related to COVID-19? Go to Information and support for Manitobans.
Be well and stay safe!
Article updated August 19,2020.
Sources: Information and support for Manitobans, Manitoba government; Common Sense Media; Advice for the general public about COVID-19, Dieticians of Canada; Food safety, Healthy Canadians. Accessed April 9, 2020.
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