As the coronavirus continues to spread, it’s never been more important to keep on top of your health. We all know the official COVID-19 recommendations: wash our hands, social distance, stay home when possible. However, it’s past time to do more to maintain and increase our overall health. Read on to learn about ways you can take charge of your health during the pandemic.

7 Ways to Take Charge of Your Health During COVID-19
Jannis Brandt

Explore Telehealth

While it was gaining popularity before last year, telehealth has truly come into the foreground since COVID struck. During a pandemic, you may be understandably wary of going into your doctor’s office. That doesn’t mean you should avoid seeing your doctor altogether. Instead, ask your healthcare provider about telehealth options available to you.

Telehealth is also a good option for those uninsured due to job loss. Some independent insurance agencies offer telehealth services as part of their packages. You can choose to go á la carte and find a standalone online health provider. Keep an eye out for features like video chats and messaging services that put you in close contact with your doctor.

Pursue Online Prescriptions

Changes in how you see your doctor or which doctor you see may put access to your prescriptions at risk. Because getting medications often depends on having insurance, those who’ve lost work (and thus employer coverage) are especially vulnerable. Take back your ability to get the medication you need by exploring online options.

There are several sites where you can get prescriptions without visiting a doctor’s office. Whether you’re looking to access birth control online or secure maintenance medication, there’s a good chance a virtual option exists. Investigate and make sure you have what you need to stay healthy.

Maintain Healthy Habits

Taking your prescriptions as instructed by your doctor is just one part of handling your health. Making sure you keep up healthy habits is another. If possible, you should continue to do anything you would do in non-pandemic times to stay well. This is especially true if you have habits you need to maintain in order to manage an injury or chronic illness.

Staying home day in and day out is enough to make anyone lapse a little on taking care of themselves. Fight the urge and build on your healthy habits by identifying ways to maintain them.

Subscribe to a meal kit service so healthy ingredients automatically show up at your door. Schedule regular outdoor walks with a friend so you won’t be tempted to pick up the remote instead. The work you put in to maintain healthy habits will pay off well beyond any stay-at-home orders.

Commit to an Exercise Plan

If you don’t have an established set of healthy habits, now’s a great time to create one. Start by building exercise time into your day. When the days were warmer, and it stayed lighter longer, it was easier to head outside to work out. Now that we’re firmly in winter, it can be difficult to keep up with exercise.

To fight this tendency, find things you can do while at home where it’s warm. Walk laps around your kitchen while you talk to a friend on the phone. Take a short yoga or stretch break during your workday. Use bottles of your chosen beverage as weights and do some bicep curls. Adding some kind of exercise into your routine will boost both your physical and mental health.

Protect Your Mental Health

Your overall wellness is a combination of physical and mental health. Even if you do everything you can physically, you can’t ignore the mental side of things. This pandemic has been tough, and it can wear on you in different ways. Keep yourself mentally healthy by assessing areas of your life that may need help.

Consider the information you consume daily, as there’s no shortage of distressing news right now. If you spend hours every day doomscrolling, it’s time to put down the phone and do something else.

Lean on members of your support system when you need to. It’s what they’re there for. Talk about things not related to the pandemic that make you happy. Pursue new hobbies and — above all — find time to get rest.

Get Enough Sleep

You need adequate sleep to perform well and stay healthy. It can be easy to ignore things like sleep schedules right now when time seems meaningless. However, you shouldn’t let getting good rest fall by the wayside.

Establish specific, regular sleeping times if you haven’t already. If reasonable, make them match what you were doing pre-COVID. If that’s not possible, or you weren’t getting healthy amounts of sleep previously, make adjustments accordingly. After a few nights of regular, sufficient sleep, you’ll undoubtedly notice a difference.

Avoid Overindulging

During the pandemic, many observers have noted an increase in the consumption of things usually reserved for special occasions. For some, it might be their favorite foods. For others, it’s

been alcohol. Staying at home gives us easy access to our pantry, and stressful times give us an excuse to overindulge.

No one will blame you for wanting a glass of wine with dinner or dessert every day. Just make sure your relationship with these foods and drinks is not becoming toxic. Indulge when you want to, not because you feel like you have to. If you sense you’re becoming too reliant on consumable coping mechanisms, it may be time to take a break.

COVID-19 has us all feeling a little helpless, especially with regard to our health. However, now is a great time to take charge and establish new healthy habits. With the start of a new year, it’s also an excellent time to ditch some bad ones. Whatever you do for your health, getting it together now will help you through the pandemic and into a healthier future.