No one expected how much change the pandemic brought to the world. From shifting to a work from home setup to restricting all forms of social physical contact, 2020 brought in a world of adjustment for everyone involved. This much change and adjustment set at a relatively short period of time has caused a lot of people some stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected people’s mental health.

In effect, however, a lot of people have finally found time to pursue some of their passions in the form of hobbies. In the same breadth, other people have surprisingly found the motivation to start getting in shape, and with good reason too. In order to combat the harrowing mental health effects of a global plague, it’s important to keep yourself fit and healthy. Here are a couple of tips that can help you stay in good physical and mental shape while in quarantine.

Establish Boundaries

There’s a great deal of adjustment for people who aren’t used to the work from home setup. Imagine having to altogether skip the time for commuting which was reserved mostly for ruminating on your tasks for the day and having your work monitor right in front of you for, say, a span of a few minutes after bath and breakfast.

The start of the day is literally just that though – just the start. If you have a family, you have to sometimes contend with people who make noise while you’re still in a meeting, or with anyone who’s using up a great deal of Internet bandwidth. Sometimes, especially given this unclear delineation between where work ends and life begins, you might find yourself extending work hours every now and then.

Establishing boundaries, both physical and verbal, is an excellent way to prevent exhausting yourself from work-life imbalance. Physically, it’s important to have a separate room as a work office in your condo in Mandaluyong for instance. After all, it might be a tad bit difficult to get some sleep if you have your work laptop right beside you in bed. Verbal communication is needed if you have other people in your home. It’s important to come to agreement about bandwidth limits, call schedules and the like. It’s also crucial to make time for yourself, have breaks in between work, and to, of course, end work at a specific time.

Eat Healthily

Unsurprisingly, at a time of major adjustment, a lot of people have fallen back on bad habits. One example of a bad habit is excessive eating. While it’s perfectly understandable to binge or stress eat sometimes, in these trying times it becomes more regular than occasional.

It helps to build that mental endurance and go on a diet. Given that there’s a variety of diets you can choose from, its effectiveness depends on your overall physiology. This is why it helps to consult your doctor or your dietitian regarding which diet to take and how. That said, other than the usual skip the fast food for home cooked food, choose healthier and organic fresh produce from the weekend market. They may be a tad more expensive than usual meat and produce you can find in your local grocery store, but they’ll help you in the long run.

Invest in fruits and vegetables that help build your immune system. If you’re trying to build muscle, maybe you can substitute or complement your diet with organic red meat and other alternative protein sources.

Create A Routine

Once you’ve established boundaries and have a diet that can help you function well, it’s important to have a fitness routine. Just like dieting, there’s a myriad of fitness routines and disciplines that you can choose from, depending on your personal preferences. Strength training with dumbbells and weights has been proven to lessen stress and anxiety among people, according to Michigan Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, while cardio is great for getting endorphins – the feel good hormone. Doing some helpful meditations and yoga can help you ground yourself in an otherwise fast-paced environment.

Of course, choosing a path to wellness is one thing, choosing to stay in the path is another. Good habits like exercising and dieting can be particularly difficult to be consistent with, but not impossible. One way of guaranteeing a religious observance of this routine is to sign up for online fitness programs or just join groups that can assist you with this.

It might also help if you invest in equipment that can help you with your physical workouts. Other than dumbbells and weightlifting equipment for strength training, you can also get treadmills or indoor bike trainers (provided you have a bike) to get in some cardio in your workouts. If you don’t have these equipment, you can also use a gallon of water or canned goods to substitute as weights. If you do yoga and already have a yoga mat, you can always have a specific room to do your yoga sessions so you don’t get distracted by the environment.

At the end of the day, maintaining wellness in a pandemic-stricken world is a choice and a habit that needs to be built. Just like all worthwhile journeys, the first few steps can be arduous and will require some internal (maybe external) conflict in order to get through. In the end however, you can physically and mentally cope and function even better in spite of the rapid changes in the world.