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COVID-19: Let’s Make Health Our Priority

Our lives will never be the same as we are all affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are currently transitioning to our “new normal” as the term most people are using.  What exactly is the “new normal”? It’s too broad to be defined because its scope covers everything in our everyday lives – in business, government, healthcare, etc. 

A healthy lifestyle should be part of our new normal. Our health is one of our main defenses against COVID-19 on top of our safety practices of physical distancing, and cleanliness and sanitation practices. More than wearing face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE), it should be our priority to better our health and lifestyle. A healthy immune system be part of our everyday PPE as well.

Based on the latest issued DOH’s Beat COVID-19 Today: Philippine Situationer last June 9, the top 2 comorbidities of those who have been infected with COVID-19 are hypertension (292; 62%) and diabetes (225;46%). DOH encourages the public to embrace the new normal settling into their everyday lives. With or without these top 2 comorbidities, COVID-19 should serve as a wake-up call for us to prioritize our health and well-being. These two health conditions are manageable and preventable with a healthy lifestyle.

Holistic Health: Beyond Diet and Exercise

Diet and Exercise. These two are what we commonly think of when planning to be healthy. Eating healthier and doing physical exercises are the top strategies for better health. If you do, you’re already on the right track. You are on a good start towards better physical health.

The specific strategies are simple, yet need practice, consistency, and behavior change to make it a sustainable lifestyle change and not just during this pandemic.

1. Eat more whole foods, minimally processed plant-based foods which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and other plant-derived foods. Consume just enough based on your personal needs.

2. Move, play, or exercise. Do physical activities that you enjoy and make your heart rate faster which is a good workout for your body especially for your heart muscles.

Okay. So, we’ve covered these two areas of your life for better health. Then, we can also consider other areas in our lives towards holistic health and wellness.

A good way to self-assess the balance or imbalance of different areas in our lives is the Circle of Life. What is it and its purpose? The Circle of Life’s purpose is to “discover which non-food areas in our lives we are missing, and how to incorporate more joy and satisfaction into our lives.”

The 12 areas in the circle include the following: Spirituality, Creativity, Finances, Career, Education, Health, Physical Activity, Home Cooking, Home Environment, Relationships, Social Life, and Joy.

I first encountered it in my Health Coaching session with Coach Roanna of The Healthy Row. I’ve gained firsthand experience of using the tool to identify areas in my life that are out of balance. I’ve found that I was lowest on Home Cooking which I’m now improving on because of the quarantine, and that I could improve on other areas like Creativity.

The Circle of Life touches also on different types of well-being which include physical, psychological, social, workplace and emotional well-being.

You can take your Circle of Life Exercise here. You may have an imperfect circle and that’s alright. The goal is to use the circle as a guide to identify which area/s you would like to improve on, to make goals to achieve more balance, and to keep working on it or on other areas in your life. Meeting ourselves where we are, with compassion, is the healthiest step we can take.

We Are Here For You

As you adjust to the new normal, check-in within yourself. How would you make your own holistic health your priority? This may be an uncertain and challenging time, but focusing on your inner circle of control can make you improve your health, minimize your risks, prevent the virus or disease, and manage your challenges with calm.

In case you need personalized support and coaching on health and nutrition, you may check our services at The Healthy Row here.    

Roni Matalog

Roni is a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. She completed her certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell University and T.Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Her interest in plant-based nutrition, holistic wellness and sustainable living only intensified in recent years, but she has long been passionate about helping individuals make positive and sustainable changes to their health, to be able to live and enjoy a better quality of life while being mindful of the environment and all beings. She founded Plants & Purpose where she offers her services and shares things about plant-based nutrition.

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