Self-isolation measures implemented during the current health crisis create uncertainty in everyday life. Changes in routine, loss of schedules, lack of socializing, and trying to keep a work-life balance are just some challenges that have caused fear, stress, and anxiety for many people. We asked Fullscript Practitioners to offer advice on how patients can manage these added pressures that come with self-isolation.

Exercise

Now more than ever, movement is essential for staying healthy during self-isolation. No matter how our routines change, keeping our minds and bodies active is an important part of everyday life. Here some practitioners give tips on staying healthy during self-isolation and the benefits of incorporating more exercise into your day.

“Don’t forget to move. Many people are moving less and less because they are at home. Interaction with nature even if it’s only a walk outside is beneficial for the mind, body, and spirit.” -Whitley Jagnanan, DC

“It’s vital to follow the self-isolation/shelter-in-place guidelines, but get outside whenever you can, if your county allows it. Whether that means taking isolated walks during an uncommon time of the day, reading a book in your backyard, or just stepping out on your front porch. We know that vitamin D is vital for our immune system, and it can take as few as 15 minutes of sun exposure to get 100% of your vitamin D needs for the day!” -Brittyn Coleman, Dietitian

“Keep your mind and bodies as active as possible. Stretch, meditate, try pot steams with essential oils, take immune-boosting supplements, watch things that make you laugh, eat foods that support your gut like; bone broth, raw honey, garlic, onions, Turmeric, bright fruits, and veggies. If you can’t get out to get fresh ones, try buying your colorful veggie and fruit powders and make yourself a daily healthy shake.” -Keren Day, Chiropractor

woman skipping rope in her backyard

Incorporating movement, especially outside where possible, can be an important factor for your health during self-isolation.

“Enjoy the outside as much as safely possible. Fresh air and sunlight helps with vitamin D and gives mental clarity. Limit internet/social media as it’s been proven to increase anxiety. Turn toward your faith and trust that this is temporary. It will one day be your blip in your colorful life’s story.” -Debi Stafford, Family Nurse Practitioner

“Turn off the TV/news and go outside and enjoy nature. Try not to stress or be scared, as stress will make you sick! Move your body. Have a dance party to your favorite music. Walk around the block- both ways! Call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Meditate. Create something!! Draw, bake, write a journal, or a novel. Count your blessings and write down one thing you are grateful for every day. There is still so much beauty in the world, despite the chaos, so focus on that as much as you can!” -Courtney King, MD

“Get sunshine. If there is any way that you can get outside and get some midday sun, it will boost your Vitamin D, your immune function, and your mental health.” -Scott Noorda, DO

Lifestyle habits

Whether it’s starting a new book, beginning a home project, or taking time to focus on yourself, starting new habits can be a positive way to pass the time in self-isolation. Incorporating new lifestyle habits and creating a routine is just some advice that can help you during this time.

“Take it day by day and use it as a chance to try new things like recipes or activities you may not normally try. Also, make sure you continue to reach out to friends and family with phone calls or virtual happy hours to stay connected.” -Lindsay O’Reilly, Registered Dietitian

“Enjoy this priceless gift of time! Time is our most precious commodity and we have been given the opportunity to spend extra time with our families, read a new book, rest, and regenerate.” -Sarah Anderson, Nurse Practitioner

“Pretend that you are at a meditation retreat. Rest, drink lots of water, read lots of books, and make a routine for yourself. There are not many times in your life you’ll get to unwind like this (if any) and you can really use it for some self-healing. This won’t last forever but trying to find joy in the peace and know what you are doing for those around you, is incredibly important! I thank anyone who is truly taking this seriously and being mindful.” -Chelsea Newman, Nutritionist

“Get into a healthful and positive routine. Make your bed when you wake. Take a shower and put on clothes you feel good in. Avoid laying around in the same sweatpants day after day. It’s critical to remain connected to friends and loved ones through phone and video so you feel the power of your community. Take online yoga or workout classes. Movement is another vital piece to both physical and mental health so work out to get those endorphins going. Last, use your time constructively to do something you never have time for. Read those books you threw in a pile. Start to paint, learn to play that instrument in the closet. Above all else, avoid binging on the news. It is not helpful and will keep you stuck in fight and flight. Having your nervous system calm will help your immune system to remain robust, deepen sleep, aid digestion, and overall protect every system of the body.” -Jennifer Clemente, Clinical Nutritionist

“Keep a schedule! If you are working from home, do the same things you would normally do: get dressed in clothes, clean up, take your usual breaks, and minimize distractions. The human brain can only focus for about an hour, so make sure you are physically getting up from your workstation hourly to breathe and move. If you aren’t working, still keep a schedule! Getting ready for the day helps it feel more normal. Get out and take a walk, and do an at-home workout, even if it’s just light stretching or yoga.” -Danielle Cassedy, Nutrition Coach

“Get into a routine and get sunlight. Open the windows periodically for fresh air. Exercise and talk to loved ones to keep a connection. Use online platforms to connect to others in online groups and events. Avoid watching so much TV. Stay hydrated and consume lots of fruits and veggies.” -Serena Satcher, MD

man sitting on couch in his living room reading a book

Creating new habits like reading a book or taking time for yourself can contribute to a healthy lifestyle during isolation.

“Now is a beautiful time to look inwards. What self-care or self-improvement projects can you start that you’ve put off because you let the external world dictate your schedule for so long? Now is the time to pick up a meditation routine, get more sleep, read a good book, take a bath, stretch and breathe, and spend more time with your loved ones. See it as the gift that it is, because it truly can be.” -Kristin Thomas, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P)

“Find and enjoy the beauty at this moment. Are you getting more time to spend with kids or a spouse? Are you finding time to read, cook, or start that hobby you’ve been meaning to get to for years? There is quiet, peace, and healing happening in a deep way all across the globe right now. Use your time in physical isolation to connect in a new or deeper way – just because we are physically isolating right now does not mean we need to virtually isolate, too. There is more reason than ever to connect in non-physical ways. On a practical level, reach out and connect with at least one person every day over the phone or video chat. Just scrolling through social media doesn’t count – you have to reach out and connect one-on-one, too.” -Ashley Flores, Acupuncturist & Herbalist

“To use the time for introspection and self-improvement. It is a generous act that will allow those who must leave their homes to care for those affected by the virus a chance to get ahead.” -Regan Dulin, DO

Mental health

The complexity of a health crisis can bring a range of emotions and difficulties processing them. The uncertainty, change of routine, and separation from others can take a toll on one’s mental health. If you’re feeling uneasy, reach out to talk to someone and know that you are not alone.

“Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling. If you’re upset, frustrated, depressed, bored, or scared, acknowledge these emotions. Don’t shove difficult feelings away with false positivity. This is a challenging time for individuals as well as our global, interconnected culture. When we admit to our struggle, we can start to shift our internal perspective from one of shame, guilt, and fear, to one of hope, connection, and compassion. And the world needs that right now.” -Liz Carter, ND, LAc

Self-isolation allows us a time to understand what is truly important, have gratitude for those things in our lives, and recognize how resilient we truly are.” -Kaycie Grigel, ND

“Start a ‘Gratitude Journal’. Learn to be thankful for all the gifts we enjoy… our family and friends.” -John Castella, Functional Medicine Health Coach

“To see the time as an opportunity for introspection, mental detox, and re-alignment. The individual life challenges need to be examined and act upon solving the issues that we have control over. At least try to let go of the problems we can not control at the moment.” -Leandro Pucci, Licensed Clinical Nutritionist

“Just remember that you’re doing something wonderful by protecting yourself while protecting others by self-isolating right now. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, make sure you take time to allow yourself to feel and process those emotions. Journal, stretch, listen to music, cry. It’s important to allow yourself to feel and validate your emotions, as well as take gentle and loving care of your body during this time.” -Bryna Gavin, Clinical & Integrative Nutritionist, MS, CNS

Stay connected

Following physical distancing guidelines while being isolated allows for more creative ways to stay connected. From virtual family reunions to redefining the situation altogether, these practitioners have advice on ways to stay connected during this time.

“Remember, during this challenging time, maintain physical distancing, but be sure to foster social connections. Utilize your technology to check in often with your tribe.” -Malaika Woods, MD, MPH

“Attempt to recast this time as “collective community protection” or “family-focused time” or “building resilience time”. We can still connect with others (albeit via different mediums) and no doubt the stress of this situation is definitely enormous! But, our language and consequent cognitive processing have a huge impact on how we feel so let’s squeeze support from wherever we can and use language that is encouraging and positive as opposed to negative and contracting.” -Anjali DSouza, Physician

“First is to practice grace with yourself, we are all in this time of unknown together. I would recommend staying in contact with your health care providers. Struggles with food intake, health goals, digestive issues, and autoimmune conditions do not stop with a health crisis and it is important to reach out to your providers to make sure you are getting the support you need while in self-isolation.” -Emily McGlone, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

man and daughter waving at laptop

Using this time to reconnect with family members in a new way can be a positive outcome of self-isolation.

Eat well

Spending more time at home can mean more time spent in the kitchen. Making sure you eat well and often during self-isolation are just some recommendations from these practitioners.

“Focus on having 3 main meals at minimum a day with maybe 1 or 2 snacks depending on your needs. If you find trouble in this area of your nutrition seek out a nutrition professional to create the structure you need during this time of isolation especially.” -Camilla Ahlqvist, Nutritionist/Health & Wellness Coach

“Balance of body, mind, and soul. Eat a whole nutritious micro-nutrient rich diet including organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed animal protein (chicken, meat, fish, eggs) and bring in superfoods through smoothies. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and water hydration.” -Dana Kay, Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner

“Ensure to stock up on fresh, organic produce to get in a variety of nutrients. Use produce delivery companies if local stores or farmer’s markets have limited variety. If traveling to stores, purchase enough to last at least 7-10 days so trips can be less frequent to reduce the risk of exposure. If organic produce is not available fresh, purchase frozen to have a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables in meals.” -Dahlia Marin, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Take supplements

Having a range of supplements on hand can contribute to a healthy lifestyle during self-isolation. During this time, immune-boosting products, daily vitamins, and other supplements can help keep your body functioning properly.

“Keep a variety of immune-boosting products including vitamin A, vitamin D3, zinc, selenium, N-Acetyl-Cysteine, and vitamin C, as well as anti-viral herbs including elderberry and Andrographis, at home. Make sure you have a working thermometer and even consider a finger device to check your oxygen saturation.” -Christina Hinchcliffe, ND

close up of woman with supplements in her right hand and a glass of water in her left hand

Certain supplements can aid in keeping your body functioning during times of high stress and unpredictability.

“Daily dosing of vanilla bean powder simultaneously boosts mood and immune function. Also, in stress tests, simply the smell of vanilla stabilized heart rates and parasympathetic cardiac modulation.” -Kelsey Barrett, Clinical Herbalist

The bottom line

The unknown timeline of the current health crisis and self-isolation measures have caused a lot of fear and uncertainty all over the world. One thing for certain is that Fullscript practitioners understand the pressure their patients are under. Following expert advice of staying active, taking advantage of physical and virtual time with family, creating new habits, acknowledging mental health, and making sure eating well and taking proper supplements are priority can lead to a positive and healthy experience during this unpredictable time.

If you have questions and your health during isolation, we recommend you consult with your practitioner.

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