COVID-19 has upped everyone’s stress levels, and most of us long for a return to normal. However, it appears we’ll need to adjust to a new normal. Over the past few months, I’ve seen several Tweets telling people that it’s OK to eat more ice cream, indulge in their favorite food more often, or lounge around on the sofa all day, “because we’re going through a crisis.”
I understand the encouraging sentiment behind these statements, but is this good advice? COVID-19 has been described as a war, and a wartime period is not the time to sit on the sofa binge-watching TV shows and eating pizza and ice cream.
In times of crises, your body is already more stressed. And during an international health crisis, your goal should be optimal health. If you have an underlying condition, I can’t think of a better time to work on it. For example, losing weight can help to lower high blood pressure and lower your risk of diabetes. If you stop smoking – or stop hanging around people who smoke – your lungs can do a much better job of fighting infection.
Even if you don’t have an underlying condition, optimal health can help your body stave off invaders. Most fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals, and these are much better choices than some of the “comfort foods” that only add fat and calories.
One of the reasons given for indulging your favorite foods or lying on the sofa all day is that this is a temporary situation. However, we’re starting to realize that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere – at least not anytime soon. So we have to start thinking about how to live with it. Binging TV shows might feel good, but it isn’t sustainable. If it’s not safe to go to your gym, you might need to think of another way to exercise daily.
COVID-19 also forces us to think about the future and what we need to do to create the type of future we want. For example, maybe you need to get a treadmill or stationary bike, so you can exercise in the safety of your home. If you love to eat out (I certainly do), perhaps you can start thinking of ways to make healthier versions of your favorite foods at home. For example, if you love pizza, you can get an inexpensive pizza oven and make your own pizza.
Perhaps you can designate one person in your family to learn how to cut hair (online videos abound – and this is a great project for teenagers), and this person becomes the household hairdresser.
Instead of spending hours on the sofa, you could be brainstorming ideas that might make you a millionaire – or at least put a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket. Consider all of the people on Etsy who started making and selling reusable masks in various styles. What are some of the other societal needs that COVID-19 will produce? And how can you position yourself to be ready when an opportunity arises?
I’m certainly not saying that you can’t eat ice cream or watch TV. But realize that this terrible coronavirus could also be a wakeup call, and we could emerge stronger, smarter, and perhaps, even wealthier, if we seize the moment.
Terri Williams is a freelance writer, covering business, finance, real estate, and lifestyle topics.