GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — During a pandemic, we talk a lot about being healthy, not taking risks and keeping ourselves and others safe. It is also a good time to remember the other basics of staying healthy and well. Dr. Diana Bitner, from True™ Women’s Health, LLC, a midlife, menopause, and sexual health wellness clinic, shared some insight into some things you can do while staying home that will make you healthier.
The Seven Essential Elements of Daily Success, or SEEDS™, are the “basics habits" that impact how well women will age and feel. Dr. Bitner says they are just as important now as at any other time.
- Water - Eight 10 oz glasses each day
- Sleep – 50 hours each week
- Vitamins – Multivitamin, Vitamin D and Calcium
- Fiber – 35 grams per day
- Nutrients – Healthy Carbohydrates (5 servings a day), Healthy Protein (5 servings each day), Smart Fats (3 servings a day) and One treat
- Activity – 5,000 steps for weight maintenance, 10,000 for weight loss, Cardio, Strength training and stretching
- Mind-Body Connection – one 5 minute instance each day of metered breathing and gratitude
"It’s not fancy, there’s no magic pill. It’s all about getting back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle and now is the time more than any other to remember that." Dr. Bitner says these SEEDS™ can have a significant positive impact on your daily life, especially now as we deal with extra stress. If we do find ourselves focusing on negative things and getting anxious, she recommends taking a moment to focus on breathing. "If we get into that flight or fight, then it’s hard to remember that, you know, we’re okay, it’s hard to not get into an adrenaline rush and so just by being present in our body, by focusing on our breath, by listening, by hearing the sound of our breath, it really can make a difference." If you can't simply sit and let your mind drift, she says instead, think of the things you are grateful for. That will focus your mind, and provide a positive feeling to get you out of a negative headspace.
It's what she recommends for those who are having trouble sleeping during this pandemic. If you wake up in the middle of the night feeling stressed or anxious, you aren't alone. "Get up, go to the bathroom, drink a glass of water, walk to the kitchen or the living room, your zen spot, and just to sit in the quiet and the stillness and to think about even three things we are grateful for." she says. "Just do that slow metered breathing for five minutes, out of the bed, and then go back to bed, then hopefully you go back to sleep."
For those people struggling with the concept and execution of working from home, Dr. Bitner says think about how your work skills translate to your home. Become the CEO of the house and take those skills and apply them in a slightly different way. It is also important to set goals. Make sure you have achievable and realistic goals. Without them, it is difficult to see where you are going. "Even if we can have set goals for each hour, each day, each week, each month. What are we going to be like on say, August 1st? When hopefully a lot of this stress is past, and a lot of the suffering is hopefully in our rearview mirror. How are we going to be on that August first? What are we going to have accomplished? What do we want to have under our belt?"
Dr. Bitner says that people who cope well do three things. "Number 1: they believe they deserve to be happy and healthy. Number 2: They keep a support network around them that they can call on when they need it. They are able to ask for help when they need it." She says it is good to keep those things in mind as we all navigate the current stressful situation as we all do what we can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC has some tips for how to cope with stress as well. That can be found here.
True™ Women’s Health, LLC is located at 2144 East Paris Ave. in Grand Rapids.
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