How to Stay Healthy (and sane!) During Isolation.

It was hard to imagine, only a few weeks ago, that we would be going through such challenging times. Not being able to visit our loved ones, re-adjusting our daily routines, and even living anxious and confused of the consequences of this pandemic: impact on our health, our economy, our communities… 

To help mitigate the stress, we asked a number of therapists, influencers, and friends to submit their suggestions on what to do during this trying time. During the next couple of days we will be featuring some of their recommendations.

Dr. Maria C. Bruce, a medical doctor and psychotherapist with a private practice in NY, shared her advice:

During this difficult time, it is particularly important to try to foster a “glass half full mentality”. It is difficult not to listen to the news, or negative/scary comments, but we also have the power to keep a positive mentality and do what we can to stay healthy.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. At the end of the day, make a list of positives/gratitude (even if it is you made it through another day, changed clothes, etc.)
  2. Revisit your list first thing in the morning, to start the day on a positive note.
  3. Make a list of enjoyable activities: listening to music, reading a book, taking a bath, cooking, painting, journaling, calling friends, etc.  
  4. Schedule at least one of your enjoyable activity per day. Studies showed that planning ahead and setting up a time, makes it more likely to happen (as opposed to: tomorrow I’ll try to read a book).
  5. Breathing exercises can change your life, literally. Breathing is the body’s main physiological “resetter”. Many of us are used to a normal that is actually chronic stress. Breathing helps the body autoregulate and fight that chronic stress response that leads to anxiety, lack of focus, lack of energy, even depression.  Try sitting comfortably, and place one hand in the abdomen and one in the chest. Breath in through your nose, and follow the breathing pacer. Set up a routine, so you don’t forget to do it throughout the day. Start with 2 minutes, ideally reaching at least 10 min per day. Fighting stress is like “building a muscle”: daily practice leads to better results and more resilience.
  6. Mindfulness is great to help “let go” of the negative thoughts. You can use audios or visual guided meditation. Try one from our selection by clicking here.

Maria is a medical doctor from Argentina with a master’s degree in applied psychology from NYU. She is the founder of Optimal Performance NYC, a private practice in Manhattan. She works with international Olympic and professional athletes, Wall Street executives, and various industry leaders from technology to entertainment. Maria is also an ongoing expert contributor on emotional health for publications including Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Vice.