Stress: Sleeping, eating, exercising, and more during the pandemic

Here in the Bay Area we are in the middle of another stay-at-home order. For most of us, staying at home has come with both benefits and challenges. For me, one benefit is having my sons living at home again and one of my biggest challenges is keeping my regular exercise routine.

Last week there was an interesting article in the New York Times about a study published in the journal Obesity. Researchers surveyed almost 8,000 adults from 50 countries and every state. Across the globe, people experienced more stress, more anxiety, more problems with sleep, weight gain, and a decrease in exercise and intensity of exercise during the shutdown. These are all things that we want to optimize to support our immune function. Interestingly, while the study showed increased consumption of junk food for snacks, respondents reported eating healthier, home-cooked meals. I have added a link to the article and study in case you want to read more.

I want to tell you about a client of mine who was diagnosed with high blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure right around our first shelter-in-place. This client was one of those people that ate out — a lot — for ease, enjoyment, and work. We worked on creating an optimal diet for her, and she used the time at home to try new recipes, to experiment with new vegetables, and to cook almost all of her meals for the first time in years. She recently sent me her latest test results and she is now in the normal range for blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure, and she has lost about 20 pounds. She is thrilled, and so is her doctor. Cooking the meals that nourish her body will be one of the stay-at-home habits she keeps. She has seen and felt the difference in her body.

Sheltering-in-place over the holidays does not sound like anyone’s ideal way to ring in the new year, but now is a great time to take advantage of all that being at home has to offer, assess our diet and lifestyle habits, and if needed find new ways to be proactive about our health.

If you need a little inspiration, download my holiday recipe guide at Everything simple, delicious, and gluten and dairy-free for those who are following special diets.