By Jane Riley
We like to feel that we have a certain amount of control over our lives and that we can live with a fairly clear notion of how our day will unfold. These past few months have shaken that view and we are learning a new reality. Here are some tried-and-true methods of coping healthily that will assist you in making it through this, physically and mentally intact.
This cannot be overstated. Being physically active is always important, but in times of stress and uncertainty, getting out (or staying in) to exercise provides a release of the build-up of the stress hormone cortisol and a flow of “feel good” hormones (endogenous endorphins) that will help you relax. One of the many benefits of exercise is that it causes you to breathe more deeply. Deep breathing, whether as a result of exercise or of mindfulness, results in better cognition, increased relaxation and less acidity and CO2 in your bloodstream which leads to less perceived stress.
You can keep your fitness level up by taking part in The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch online Zoom Fitness Classes, online Personal Fitness Training or using other outdoor fitness and recreational activities that the Club has to offer. Using the online portal means you don’t have to worry about social distancing or decontamination of your equipment because you never leave your home. And, importantly, the online access provides the social interaction that we as social creatures need to stay healthy. The fitness experts at the Club offer stretch classes, senior fitness classes, complete core classes, mat Pilates, yoga, sets and reps, Barre, ELDOA and special seminars as well as an opportunity to simply meet together online to exchange ideas and tips to help each other. You can find a complete fitness calendar online in your member portal under the Spa and Fitness tab or listed in the Club Calendar.
For outside activity, the Fitness Center offers a cycling through the neighborhood class in the early morning and the Golf, Tennis, Outfitter and River Clubs remain open for outdoor activity with the proviso that social distancing, limited numbers and strict disinfection rules are observed. Walking and hiking through the beautiful Cordillera Ranch property are other recommended healthy pursuits. The fresh air, sunshine and activity will help you sleep better and that is vital to keeping you strong.
Healthy eating is an issue that is forefront in these times of noted food shortages. Do your best to consume as much fresh produce as you can. The B vitamins that you receive from green leafy veggies will help you combat stress and bolster your immune system. In this context, you might consider putting in a little garden to ensure a supply of fresh leafy greens over the next few months, or growing micro-greens in your kitchen which you can do anytime. Also safeguard your health by getting adequate vitamins and minerals through a good multi-vitamin. I am available for online nutritional consultations to help you make effective mealtime plans.
Get a good stock of pantry basics that you know will keep over the next few months so that if the food supply chain becomes less reliable, you will have options. You may need to get a little creative in your meal plans, but that’s okay. No one is coming over for dinner, and we can joke about how we lived out of cans and packages afterwards if need be.
For the time being, there are still other opportunities to feed yourself well. The Fit Menu at the Club is available for take-out and it features selections that are specifically designed to be nourishing and delicious. Stay hydrated by drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Try to limit your intake of alcohol because it lowers your immunity and it makes your muscles in your arms and leg atrophy — never good aspects of drinking alcohol even in the best of times! Try to limit your caffeine intake as well so your blood pressure and stress levels stay manageable.
Hand washing and wiping down all items that come into your home are crucial practices at this time. You are likely aware that thorough and effective handwashing means 20 seconds minimum with hot water and soap, using brisk scrubbing while getting under the nails and between the fingers. Wash as though you were going to perform surgery. It is also important to realize that we unconsciously touch our faces approximately 20 times per hour and this hand-to-face transmission of viruses is a well-known phenomenon.
Another important cleanliness recommendation is to remove your shoes at the door and put on “inside-only” shoes. Your shoes can track in not only viruses, but bacteria and dirt from many sources — the last thing you want to spread throughout your home. Outside shoes should be left at the door and preferably sprayed down with alcohol or another disinfectant.
Wellness practices that you might consider in your own home include taking time to reflect on the good in the world rather than focusing on the pandemic and related news. There are so very many worse places in the world to be. We are extremely blessed to be living in this wonderful community, surrounded by people who care about us and who are looking out for our best interests. Consciously practice gratitude and you will be surprised at how much better your life is. Rather than stressing about every little thing, be grateful for the good all around you. Mindfulness and prayer are practices that relieve stress and help you expand your thoughts and trust to a higher power. Many churches and Bible study groups are also currently online to meet safely and refresh peoples’ spirits.
To combat boredom and stress, rather than sitting at your computer and following the minute-by-minute spread of Covid-19, consider tackling some overdue household projects like straightening out the junk drawer, organizing photos from your last trip or cleaning up the garage. Keep your mind engaged as well as your body in order to stay the course. On the other hand, do not obsess about things that can wait or that are not as important as your rest.
Laugh! Look up some old friends or join an online social group and have fun. We are hosting Sunday afternoon online socials which you can find on the Fitness and Club calendars. Simply sitting and sharing thoughts and ideas with family or friends, albeit virtually, can do a lot to help you get through this changeable time.
You are not in this alone. We are all in this together as a caring, connected, community.
Jane Riley is the Director of Wellness and Fitness at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 808.212.8119.