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Many of our lives are dictated by a schedule that includes getting out of the house and being with other people. Having a schedule that is within the limits of the coronavirus' social isolation needs may help us remain productive and keep a sense of control. These are things we can add to our new schedules to help maintain mental and physical health. 

Prioritize adequate sleep. The National Sleep Foundation says sleep needs vary across ages and are impacted by lifestyle and health. While each person has unique sleep needs, research has provided healthy ranges. Make sure you deliberately add sleep to your schedule.  

  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours 

  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours

  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend this resource for tips on getting a good night’s rest.  

Get proper nutrition and hydration. Consuming the right nutrients can limit the risk of developing certain health conditions. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests incorporating six of these eight healthy eating habits into your diet. For proper hydration, Harvard Health recommends 30-50 ounces of fluid each day for healthy people. Cancer patients are at high risk for dehydration from both the disease and the treatment. Cancer.net recommends at least eight glasses of water every day, adding that certain risk factors may require you to drink more. Schedule time to prepare healthy meals and take frequent water breaks.   

Make time for exercise. “When we’re confined to our home, move, move, move.” That was the advice of Dani Johnson, a physical therapist at the Mayo Clinic, in an article by The New York Times. The article shared simple ways people can maintain their wellness during isolation. You can also try this routine anywhere, any time. Schedule it!  

Find time for the outdoors. Spending time safely distanced from others in the great outdoors can promote emotional well-being. Medical Daily explains the benefits and provides numerous ideas for getting out in this article

Keep a gratitude journal. If you can find a few extra minutes in your schedule, journaling has been proven to benefit mental health. Happify shares how keeping a gratitude journal can take your wellness to another level. Remember, entries don’t have to be long. Even a few words can inspire happiness.  

Just because your schedule may have changed because of the virus, keep yourself productive by setting a new schedule that carves out time for the things that keep our immunity high and our stress low. These include exercise, sleep, nutrition and hydration, and social connection.

Follow the Colorectal Cancer Alliance's updates on COVID-19 (coronavirus) here

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