7 wellness to-do items during the pandemic

Even if the Delta Variant is making that seem impossible

Witten by Abby Lee Hood
As the Northern Hemisphere approaches fall and winter, it seems the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going anywhere. The Delta variant is more contagious than the original virus, and that’s on top of the regular cold and flu season that’s just around the corner. But you don’t need to panic, because there are tangible to-do items you can check off your list so you stay as healthy as possible!
Wellness is an all-year-round job, but it’s especially important now. That’s why we’re putting together seven items that should make your health and wellness checklist during National Wellness Month. Feel free to rinse and repeat as necessary to keep being and feeling the best you can!

Get vaccinated

First and foremost, getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help keep you healthy and protect those around you, too. This is especially important if you have unvaccinated children or live with immunocompromised and high-risk loved ones.
The best news is the FDA is considering whether to fully approve the vaccine, since it was previously allowed under emergency measures. And in some countries, those with weakened immune systems are allowed to get a third shot.
As vaccination rates go up we’re all a little safer. Plus, it’s free! Call your local pharmacy or health department to schedule your appointment, and check out some tips on reducing those pesky vaccination symptoms before you go.

Get the flu shot

Unfortunately, COVD-19 isn’t the only bad guy out there. Cold and flu season may not be as scary, but it sure isn’t fun to be sick with either. In addition, some hospitals are running short on staff and resources as the coronavirus lingers. That means it’s more important than ever to prevent any kind of hospital visit if you can!
Just as you would for the COVID vaccine, call your pharmacy or health department to schedule a flu vaccination. While it may not be free, many insurance companies cover part or all of the costs, so be sure to ask your doctor or insurance provider if you have questions! 

Get enough sleep

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the best ways to boost your immune system and overall health and wellness is making sure you get enough sleep. Because the Sleep Foundation says 35.2% of all adults in the U.S. report sleeping less than seven hours per night, it’s possible you’re not getting enough rest, either.
Practicing good sleep hygiene can help if you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep. That means taking a bath or shower before bed, putting on clean sheets and bedding, using a humidifier or running a fan to keep you cool.
Sleep hygiene also means reducing screen time before bed, which can cause restlessness and make it harder to fall asleep. Don’t set yourself up for failure! According to SCL Health, cutting off screens at least 30 minutes before bed can improve sleep quality. We love reading books, coloring books, meditating, taking a gentle walk or simply chatting with a loved one to wind down before hitting the sheets.
Recreational adult time also counts, and studies show both masturbation and partnered sex can help you relax and unwind, too. What’s not to love?

Make a therapy appointment

Listen, the world can be really stressful. Between the pandemic, political unrest and other news events happening around the globe, we could all use a little help sometimes. If you’re struggling with feelings of depression or anxiety, make sure to see a professional. There’s no shame! 
We think everybody should see a therapist, and there’s no better time than now. Telehealth is on the rise, so ask your insurance provider if mental health services delivered online are covered, or budget the out-of-pocket cost if you can.
Mental health professionals keep us from feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, and you deserve relief. There’s nothing wrong with feeling emotional or struggling to keep up with life’s demands, so get the help you need to feel your best.

Update all your health insurance information

Have you ever been to the doctor but something went wrong with your prescription? Or maybe you missed an important bill or update because of an address change? These things are frustrating even when you feel fine, and especially so when you’re sick! 
It’s worth calling your health insurance provider (the customer service number is usually on the back of your insurance card) to ensure they have the correct phone number, address and other personal details. If you need to make a change, follow up with your pharmacy to make sure your information is updated.
Staying on top of simple personal information ensures things go more smoothly when you’re sick, and can reduce stress about going to the doctor.

Strengthen social connections

According to the National Institutes of Health, social wellness is an essential component of overall health. Just because we’re masking up and socially distancing doesn’t mean we should be emotionally distant from loved ones!
Schedule a playdate for your kids with parents you love to socialize with, make a weekly catch-up FaceTime date with a friend or simply make sure to check in on online friends you like chatting with. There’s nothing better than a good conversation!

Get cre-active 

No, it’s not a typo. We want you to be active, but get creative about it. As we socially distance, it may not always be possible to go to the gym or keep up with our regular fitness routines. However, there are ways to safely get exercise and have fun while doing it, too.
If you’ve never been into video games, you might try a simple VR headset or the Ring Fit for the Nintendo Switch. These games are immersive and fun but really get you sweating and moving. Plus it’s fun to beat your own high scores and compete with yourself to get better over time!

A simple yoga mat or a pull up bar for your door frame also makes it easy to get in gentle movements and strength training in a small space. Don’t think that because you have an apartment or small house you can’t work out!
Last but not least, outdoor walks are safer than indoor hang out sessions, and the cooler weather means you won’t overheat. Whatever you do, get creative to stay active!
Whether you’re inside or out, feeling tip-top or needing a little R&R, these wellness to-do items will ensure you have a plan to get better over time. It can be scary out there, but you are empowered to make your life and health a priority. 

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