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5 ways to stay healthy during quarantine

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Many Americans have been following stay-at-home orders for over a month now. And though guidelines in place to slow the spread of Covid-19 appear to be working, it's likely many people can expect to remain home for weeks more.

Frequent hand washing and following social distancing guidelines can reduce your chances of contracting the coronavirus, but there's more to staying healthy while you're at home. Taking a holistic approach to your health during quarantine can help boost your strength and well-being.

Here are five ways you can bolster your physical and mental health. 

1. Eat well

balanced diet full of nutrient-rich foods that help you maintain a healthy immune system is crucial during stressful times. It can be even better to prepare at least some of those meals yourself, since cooking at home has other benefits, too.

"As we're all looking for activities to do at home, cooking is a wonderful bonding activity, something to keep us busy, something that helps our health — a great outlet that brings the whole family together," Joy Bauer, health and nutrition expert and registered dietitian for NBC's "TODAY" show, recently told Grow.  

Eating well doesn't have to be complicated or expensive, Bauer says. Try adding legume-based pastas like chickpea pasta to your diet for protein and fiber, for example, or using frozen or canned veggies if you can't score enough fresh ones in your Instacart delivery

If you're a beginner in the kitchen, don't be afraid to keep meals simple: Meals that are fast, cheap, and easy can still be great and don't have to add more stress to your life. 

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2. Exercise 

Exercise has long been proven to strengthening bones and muscles, reduce the risk of heart disease, and lower stress and anxiety. A key benefit of working out is "that you feel [that relief] immediately," trainer Ashley Borden, who has worked on Khloe Kardashian's show "Revenge Body," recently told Grow.

There are plenty of free and affordable options to help guide your at-home workouts, including streaming exercise videos on YouTube, fitness apps like Yoga for Beginners, and Zoom dance parties.

3. Get a good night's sleep

If you're feeling anxious about money or your health, you may have a hard time sleeping. "When you think about scary things, it puts your body into a fight or flight state of physiological elevation. That, in turn, impacts your ability to sleep," says Lisa Marie Bobby, psychologist and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling & Coaching in Denver, Colorado.

And getting adequate sleep is essential to maintain a healthy immune system. Try cutting out alcohol and screens in the late evening and getting into bed at the same time each night.  

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4. Take care of your mental health 

"We live in a time when we are constantly being stimulated by the world around us and people have forgotten how nourishing solitude can be," Ellen Bard, author of "This Is For You: A Creative Toolkit For Better Self-Care," told Grow earlier this year. "Taking time to space out, reflect, and be alone can be healing."

Meditating, listening to music, journaling, and writing yourself a motivational letter are all simple, effective ways to unwind and practice self-care during a difficult time.  

If you think you need additional support to ease stress and anxiety, virtual therapy or coaching can help provide clarity and calm. Many mental health practitioners are offering remote sessions at affordable rates.  

Taking time to space out, reflect, and be alone can be healing.
Ellen Bard
Author

5. Get your medical questions answered 

If you sustain a minor injury at home or feel sick, reach out to a doctor. That may not require you to leave your home.

Telemedicine can be an affordable way to help you maintain social distancing guidelines and avoid germs while getting a diagnosis and treating an illnesses. You can video chat with a doctor who can consult on your symptoms from the comfort of your couch. 

"I have loved the idea of telemedicine forever," physician-turned-financial-advisor Carolyn McClanahan, director of financial planning at Life Planning Partners in Jacksonville, Florida, recently told Grow. "It's so convenient and it keeps you safe, especially in the reality of communicable diseases. I highly encourage it." 

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