How to stay sane and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis

How to stay sane and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis

Published on 17th April, 2020 at 02:16 pm

Practical tips and suggestions to see you through this uncertain period.

Up until now, the only time ‘viral’ made it into most conversations was when talking about a social media post. And now here we are, living amid the biggest virus outbreak of our time. With infection rates burgeoning daily and countries being put on lockdown, it’s easy to feel panicky. But knowledge is power and prevention is better than cure – here’s what to do to stay happy, healthy and sane…

Don’t: Visit friends or family unnecessarily
Do: Stay connected

We found a few things that will help you virtually socialise.
Zoom meet-ups
A video-conference facility that’s turned into a social app, Zoom is the perfect platform for online group gatherings. It’s free for 40-minute meet-ups for up to 100 people; longer meet-ups incur a cost – but you can simply hang up and dial in again to keep things free. All you need is a device (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop or smart TV), an online connection and to share your Zoom link. Visit
Netflix Party
Netflix Party couldn’t have come at a better time; now you can watch your favourite shows with your nearest and dearest. This platform is free, but does require a paid Netflix account and Google Chrome to generate a link to share-watch.
Twoseven is a share-watching streaming platform that allows users to watch content across streaming services and YouTube in groups, while social distancing. Users can sign up for a free account through their email, Google or Facebook accounts. All invited viewers must have an account with Twoseven (free). The downside to the platform is that each participant must have their own accounts and login information for Netflix, Amazon and HBO to watch together.

Don’t: Panic buy
Do: Shop smartly (and safely)

“Choosing shelf-stable foods like canned goods, pasta, rice and legumes and utilising your freezer – [where] you can store bread, meat, vegetables, fruit and more – are great ways to ensure you have a nice variety when your trips to the grocery store are limited,” says Alyssa Pike, a registered dietitian and manager of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council. “Right now there’s no indication that food retailers will be unable to meet the demand of consumers [globally] and it’s also important to consider the needs of others and not overbuy.”
Key items in your weekly food basket should include: beans and legumes, canned tuna, nut butters, pasta and rice, dried fruit and popcorn, bread, shelf-stable milk, coffee and tea, and a good dose of mixed fresh fruit and vegetables.

Reality Club and Reality Access for Sanlam Group Risk members enjoy free discount coupons to use on their grocery shop at Checkers and Shoprite stores. Learn more here.

Don’t: Comfort eat
Do: Load up on nutrient-rich and immune-boosting foods

When you’re holed up indoors, scared about the future, it’s almost second nature to reach for the cookies and the carbs. But now, more than ever, is when we should be eating healthily. Citrus fruits, fermented foods (like pickles and olives), broccoli, sweet potato, garlic, chickpeas and spinach are all on the ‘keep-me-healthy’ list, but, luckily so are dark chocolate and red wine (in moderation, of course). Kick back with some NikNaks and Netflix, for sure, but try to ensure that for the majority of your meals you’re eating a balanced and healthy mix.

Don’t: Hit the gym or public park
Do: Exercise at home

Gyms, parks and public areas are a no-go. Thankfully there are apps and online workouts to keep spirits up and bodies toned – with or without expensive exercise equipment at hand. Nike has made all of its Nike Training Club Premium workouts free until further notice (available via your phone’s app store) and most workouts require zero gadgets.
US-based Yoga Works is streaming a range of free and varied yoga classes on YouTube with different instructors – time difference is not too much of an issue as there are classes screened throughout the day and night (find the full schedule here). There are plenty of paid-for fitness apps too, which require no equipment and can be easily achieved at home.

Don’t: Overthink things
Do: Meditate and be thankful

It’s hard to remain positive and upbeat as we navigate the unknown, but taking care of our mental health right now is vital. When you feel your mind spiralling, or disappearing down a deep, dark hole of Twitter news article links, just take a deep breath and regroup. Easier said than done, we know. So making use of a mindfulness app like Headspace – which is offering free subscriptions during COVID-19 lockdowns – is just the ticket. The free exercises, part of a bigger collection called Weathering The Storm, include various meditations, as well as sleep and movement exercises, to “help you out, however you’re feeling”. Practising gratitude or starting a gratitude diary at this time could also be very beneficial – a reminder that even in the most uncertain times, there is much to be thankful for – a roof, food, family – even your dog! Learn more here.

Worried about your health? During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve made our Trauma, Assault & HIV Assist benefit available to all of our members. Get telephonic medical and counselling assistance 24/7, at no extra cost.

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