a table with apple, lemon water, almonds, and carrots

Nurse Barb’s 19 Day Health & Wellness Challenge

Hello and welcome to the first three days of my 19- day Covid-19 Health and Wellness Challenge.

Remember to jot down in your notebook when you’ve completed each challenge and send me your comments about how you’re feeling and any other insights you’ve had. Be well and have fun with this.

Day # 1: Improve Your Immune System by Increasing Movement

The bottom line – regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with aging, therefore reducing the risk of infections. On top of that, when you exercise your body releases a chemical called endorphins.  That’s what we are talking about when we hear someone talk about “runners high.”  It’s that positive feeling that happens when we exercise. 

So in the first challenge, we are going to literally take a step towards wellness and by increasing movement and exercise.

Start with 15 minutes of walking and then increase your time each day by five minutes. Your goal is 45-60 minutes of activity each day. If you’re already walking, add a different type of exercise to your routine such as yoga, an online dance class, tai-chi, cycling, or you can try this video:

especially if you are sheltering in place and/or unable to leave your home.

Day # 2: Healthier Snacking for More Energy in Your Day

Snacking on junk foods can leave you feeling sluggish and bloated.  Processed foods and snacks with a lot of sugar, release glucose faster.  This translates in your body as a burst of energy, followed by a crash.  

When you eat healthier snacks, like complex carbohydrates (read more about carbs : https://www.nursebarb.com/what-is-a-carbohydrate/ ) protein, and healthy fats, your hunger is not only satisfied, but it provides a steady stream of energy. 

I have two tricks to help jump start your healthy snacking:

1. Have 2 big glasses of water every morning. If you’re dehydrated, you’re more likely to feel hungry throughout the day. Most people need 6-8 glasses each day, so start out with 2 each morning.

2. Pre-Decide. Yes, start your day, by deciding what your snacks will be, so that you aren’t making 1000 mini decisions about the chips, pretzels or chocolate chip cookies throughout the day. 

Healthy Snack Ideas:

• A full cup of cherry tomatoes and a string cheese

• A full cup of baby carrots or 3 ribs of celery with and 2 tablespoons of hummus

• ½ apple and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

• 1 cup of yogurt with ½ cup of blueberries

Day # 3: Mindfulness/Meditation to Ease Your Anxiety 

First, what is mindfulness? It is a state of mind that is achieved through focusing on the present moment and accepting it.  Who can’t use some of that? 

Researchers have found that a meditation practice can decrease the volume in the amygdala, the place in your brain where anxiety, fear, and stress are made. 

The truth is, there’s an on-going chatter in our heads all the time. With mindfulness and meditation people are more able to quiet the background noise and develop the ability to stop, pause and be more present and in the moment. This is one of the best ways to train your brain to become less reactive.

When we can stop, pause and breathe, it helps stop the “knee jerk” automatic reactions and increases our ability to consider our choices, options and alternatives in every aspect of life including our relationship with ourselves and others.

Visit one of these sites, or download one of the apps, or even go to YouTube and search for “meditation for beginners” and try yourself some zen. 

Free Mindfulness and Meditation websites/podcasts/apps:

–   MindfulnessExercises.com

–   TaraBrach.com

–   JackKornfield.com

–   Chopracentermeditation.com

–   UCLA Mindful app

–   SmilingMind app

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