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This is quite possibly the most challenging global pandemic any of us have ever gone through - if ever. While most of us want to sink into the grooves of our sofa as we cry into our duvet or ice cream tub, binge-watching TV series, we are instead being gently pushed by circulating content to do more with this time. We’re told to take up cooking, learn a language, sort our rooms out - Marie Kondo style, be productive, read more books, get through your to-do list etc etc.
If you’re anything like me, this pressure can be motivating some days, and disheartening the next. We’re focused on the never-ending succession of breaking headlines, as we simultaneously try to juggle the daily dilemma of: how to stock up on food so as to leave the house sparingly, but not stocking up too much where we’re doing so selfishly. It’s a lot to think about. All the time. And as imperative as it is to self-isolate during this time, we also need to be privy to some of the negative impacts of forced isolation so as to manage it well.
We all know that relationships and human connection are the most obvious cure for loneliness, and the effects of loneliness aren’t to be taken lightly. The latest studies find that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and those who are lonely are more at risk of diseases. [1-3]
Unfortunately, right now, as we have no choice but to socially distance in this dystopian form of hibernation, there are many of us that are living away or separated from our loved ones. This can seriously exacerbate those feelings of loneliness. Despite our circumstances, however, there are some ways we can still ensure we remain connected and ward off that loneliness from creeping in.
#1 If you’re living with a partner, friend, or family, make sure you rely on each other - When you’re having a down moment, communicate with them; whether it is for a laugh, a cry, or a vent, it is important that we have an outlet during such a time.
#2 Reach out to friends and family who are not living with you; and do it frequently - FaceTime conversations can make it almost feel like you’re actually together. Group WhatsApp with friends or family can be a great way to send each other check-ins, memes, quizzes, and other light-hearted entertainment circulating the internet. We are all in this together.
#3 Use this time to learn to love your own company - Mandatory social distancing is new territory for us all; but just as there’s a silver lining in every cloud, take this opportunity to seek comfort through self-reflection and self-care. Whether that’s through blasting your favourite music and dancing it out, binge-watching the newest TV series, journaling, or going on mindful walks, there’s truly no better time to find happiness from within.
There is no doubt that this time is causing a lot of stress and anxiety; anxiousness of the unknown, stress about our families, financial positions, having to cancel major events etc. What is intensifying these overwhelming emotions is the sheer volume of media we’re exposed to at an astronomical rate. While it is important to be informed and to be aware of the best ways to keep ourselves, our families, and others safe, the saturation of alarming content can only worsen the situation. That said, now is the time to find ways to bring more calming techniques into your daily life.
#1 Seek credible information only, and avoid the rest - Check these sources, at maximum, once-a-day. Detox or heavily minimise the screen time on your phone.
#2 Practice mindfulness, meditation, and journaling - Right now, the worst thing you could do is reminisce too much and yearn for the time before this happened, and inversely, stress yourself out by looking into the future and searching for a timeline. Try and be in the present moment. To do this, meditation and journaling are wonderful ways to focus on your breath, whilst practising gratitude and writing out your reflections from that specific day.
#3 Engage in activities that promote relaxation - Warm baths, reading, art, music, a relaxing yoga session, a walk, watching a lighthearted or funny TV show; whatever makes you switch your mind off and promotes a sense of calm, do it.
#4 Refrain from caffeine and stimulants like alcohol that can increase adrenaline - If you’re already feeling on-edge, these are not the drinks to be reaching for. Try to replace them with herbal teas instead - as hard as that can be!
#5 Take CBD - There is mounting evidence that shows CBD can reduce anxiety and improve sleep (and poor sleep is also associated with increased anxiety). If you have been losing sleep, you’re not alone. Hopefully, all these suggestions will help with this too!
If the feelings of anxiety become too much to deal with on your own, there are some amazing platforms to help you through. Click here. Alternatively, we highly recommend you seek help through one of the mental health organisations listed here.
For those who have a history of eating disorders, or find their relationship with food isn’t the healthiest, this time can be particularly triggering. Having extra food in the house whilst your regular routine has gone out the window, can really affect recoveries in different ways. Those with eating disorders are usually told not to isolate - to reach out for support. Unfortunately, this is just not an option now. So, as difficult as it may be, it’s incredibly important to continue your therapy and stay on top of your routines as much as possible through this time.
#1 Partake in virtual therapy - Most therapists are still working online, and any professional you’ve built a trusting relationship with should continue to aid in your recovery.
#2 Be mindful of how you look at food - Try not to see food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’; just see it as neutral. Don’t judge yourself harshly as we are in unprecedented times. If thoughts of disordered eating start to surface or you end up having a bad day, understand why these issues are resurfacing and don’t look at it as a step backwards.
#3 Keep your usual meal times - Especially if you have a history of undereating and have a meal plan to follow to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients; stick to it.
#4 Eat with others - Even if that means FaceTiming whilst you are having a meal, this can keep your eating experiences positive.
#5 Optimal health is critical right now, so support your body - Don’t use the excuse of less exercise to become restrictive with your calories. Trying to compensate for a lack of exercise is only going to continue that cycle in a bad relationship with food.
#6 Similarly, don’t over-exercise - With so many people posting their exercise routines on their Instagram feeds and stories, it can feel like a lot of pressure. Find a balanced routine to follow instead, that incorporates softer forms of exercise, like yoga and Pilates; or use this time to take some time off your high-intensity workouts and opt for walks instead!
We have all heard how important Vitamin D is for us. Unfortunately, in the UK - without being isolated indoors, we are already severely deficient (1 in every 3 people to be exact) due to the nature of the weather.[4,5] To keep absorbing calcium in order to maintain healthy bones, nerves, muscles, and immune system; we need about 10 – 30 minutes in the sun each day. This can be difficult at the best of times in the UK, so it’s extremely trying right now. To combat the adverse effects of Vitamin D deficiency, try the below:
#1 Walk/ jog/ cycle outdoors - In the 1x daily outdoor exercise we have been permitted, try and go in the middle of the day when the days are sunny. Utilise that sunshine!
#2 Take your lunch break in the sun - if you have a garden or patio, use it.
#3 Take a supplement - For most, the above two steps are limited by weather and online work obligations. In which case, the simplest solution is to supplement with Rise - a combination of Vitamin D and CBD.
Shani Kaplan is a contributing writer for Truth Naturals. She combines her knowledge gained from working within the fitness/wellness industry in Sydney and London for the last seven years as a Personal Trainer, and class instructor, with her addiction to research due to her BA in Business Marketing. Shani loves martial arts, resistance training, dance and yoga, nutrition, travel, design, photography, and art.
 Lunstad, H (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review. Available at: https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316[Accessed 30 March. 2020].
 Valtorta NK, Kanaan M, Gilbody S, et al (2016)
Loneliness and social isolation as risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke: systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal observational studies Heart 2016;102:1009-1016. Available at: https://heart.bmj.com/content/102/13/1009.citation-tools. [Accessed 30 March. 2020].
 Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T. B., Baker, M., Harris, T., & Stephenson, D. (2015). Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality: A Meta-Analytic Review. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 10(2), 227–237. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691614568352Available at:
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691614568352#articleCitationDownloadContainer[Accessed 30 March. 2020].
NICE. Vitamin D deficiency in adults—treatment and prevention. NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary. NICE, 2016. cks.nice.org.uk/vitamin-d-deficiency-in-adults-treatment-and-prevention [
Accessed 30 March. 2020].