Be Your Best Self During this COVID-19 Crisis
This article about being your best self was written by Mike Manzo, owner of Atlantic Physical Therapy Center
Everyone is dealing with an unprecedented situation right now. From dealing with major stressors physically and emotionally to thinking about finances, people need to be very deliberate about maintaining their health during times of crisis. It would be easy to get sucked into poor habits that can negatively affect your health, even after the Coronavirus crisis has subsided. It comes down to a series of choices that will either build you up or tear you down, and you need to make the right choices in order to be your best self for those who depend on you.
The suggestions that follow about ways to be your best self will help to fortify you in body, mind and spirit.
1.You are what you eat. Use the extra time available to think about your meals and get creative when preparing healthier options. Avoid the tendency toward the types of comfort foods that are delicious… but dangerous in large quantities. For examples of healthy, simple and filling meals, check out different social networks like Pinterest, Instagram and even YouTube, where people are sharing their healthiest tips, like this list .
2. Don’t get up on the wrong side of the bed. Be very deliberate about your sleep habits, even though your schedule may be out of whack. Though you won’t need to wake up and go to work (in many cases), you should still try to stick to your typical sleep schedule, at least as much as possible. Being your best self starts with how rested you are.
3. Exercise is essential. Preferably, you should exercise outdoors, but there are so many options for workouts that can be done at home with minimal or no equipment needed. There are plenty of different kinds of exercises that are ideal for this type of workout, but two of them are explained in more detail below by an experienced physical therapist.
The first is a whole-body workout that does not require any additional equipment – only an open space and your own body. There are three groups of exercises, and the workout requires you to follow these steps:
Choose one exercise from each group. These will build up the routine and ensure that your body is doing different actions and working different muscle groups.
- The first exercise group to choose from is the “cardio” group, and the three exercises to choose from are burpees, mountain climbers and get-ups.
- The second group is focused on the upper body, and the choices in this group include push ups (any variety), handstand holds and chair dips.
- Group three focuses on the lower body, and choices are jump squats, lunges and full squats.
Full explanations of these whole body exercises can be found in this video:
- Each exercise should be completed for one minute in length. The goal is to do four rounds of each exercise.
The next video details how to get in a whole body workout from the comfort of your own home. Beginning with the warm up and working from the head down, this detailed plan is ideal for the already active adult – but like with other physical therapy exercises and routines, can be modified to suit the needs of people with various levels of physical health. Following instructions and guidelines provided by this physical therapist will ensure that you are less likely to stretch or work out with incorrect form on your ques to be your best self.
4. Get Organized. Maintaining social distance and staying home may force you to find ways to occupy your time. Get into those storage areas and closets and get them back under control. This type of activity frees not only your mind but also your living space of clutter. It will also give you a chance to feel as if you are doing something worthwhile within the home that isn’t a DIY project.
Everyone has items or rooms that they’d like to make look better, and this is the perfect place to begin.
5. Me Time.Though you may not be alone in your home, you need to be sure to take some time to decompress. Apps like Headspace are providing free sessions for guided meditation and mindfulness. “Me time” also should allow you to avoid getting sucked in to watching the news for too long, or spending too much time on social media. Yes, your screen time report is likely much higher over the past few weeks than it has been, but with some control, you can get these stats back down.
6. Watch your mouth. Studies show that what you think about affects your mood, but what you verbalize is often much more powerful. Even when it seems impossible to be positive, you should strive to maintain neutrality. Do not give your negative thoughts the privilege of becoming words that could haunt you in the future – or change the friendships and relationships that you’ve worked hard to maintain.
7. Practice Gratitude. By starting every day with identifying three parts of your life (people, opportunities, experiences, items) that you are grateful for, it’s easier to experience true gratitude. The practice of placing your focus on what you still have, not on what has been taken away, is extremely powerful. After identifying the “what” you are grateful for, think about 3 aspects of your life that you are excited about. This sets the stage for a great daily mindset which in turn sets you up for a better day.
8. Get rid of those aches and pains. You can see your physical therapist without a referral via a telehealth session in order to address any pain that you are dealing with. Maybe you have a nagging injury or problem that has not gone away with time, and you’re not sure what else to do about it… but aren’t quite ready to try and schedule an in-person visit.
With telehealth, you can safely get an assessment and a tailored plan for your problem from a trained professional, like those at Atlantic Physical Therapy Center. The BetterPT Telehealth application is a secure and simple interface that connects patient and therapist with any device that has a camera and can connect to the Internet.
For more information, or to schedule a physical therapy appointment (either in person or via telehealth), use the BetterPT clinic location tool or download the BetterPT app. Your health typically comes down to the very small decisions that you make throughout each day. Focusing on some of these items above will start to give you control in an uncertain time, and will make a profound difference in your own resilience and ability to handle the stress that this pandemic is placing on you and your loved ones.
The above resources and suggestions will all lead you down a path that you can further explore at your leisure. Each time you make a good decision, you are building up your power to make another good decision the next time.
Be healthy, be mindful and be well, and you’ll find that you’re able to be your best self, even under difficult circumstances!
Mike Manzo with Atlantic Physical Therapy Center has lived in New Jersey for his entire life. An injury to his knee while playing basketball in college sparked his interest in physical therapy, and has led to more than two decades of work in the field. As the President and CEO of Atlantic Physical Therapy Center since its opening in 2001, Manzo has grown the practice exponentially and increased the number and type of clients to encompass professional athletes of all types as well as traditional physical therapy patients. Outside of work, Manzo is active in his local community and strives to improve the lives of those that need it in the same way that his physical therapy team did for him.