“Quarantine 15” doesn’t just rhyme; as we all obeyed our shelter-in-place orders for the better part of 2 months many people have emerged with slightly tighter pants. It’s not that surprising; the uncertain times have been perpetually unsettling at best, leading to a lot of anxiety and stress. When we’re stressed, we reach for comfort foods. High-fat, high-sugar (or starch) foods give us a jolt of energy and have a bit of a tranquilizing effect that can alleviate some of that anxiety, albeit only temporarily. Add to that the complete disruption of our routines, which for many also meant a disruption in our exercise routines. Gyms, parks, even some state and national parks remained closed months.

So here we are. As communities open up we emerge like plump little butterflies. Except we don’t want to be plump. Most of us just want to get back to where we were when this whole thing started. Here are our tips for staying healthy in body, mind and community.

Ditch the Comfort Foods

We think it goes without saying to do your best to bring your daily eating routine back to where it was before COVID-19. This means eliminating junk food, sugar and practicing a little more moderation with those simple starches, like white rice and pasta. At least to the effect you were already doing so pre-pandemic.

Move More

Returning to your prior exercise regimen may not be possible depending on the availability of open gyms, operating sports teams/centers, or your level of comfort in going to them or participating in team sports. However, exercise not only helps you maintain a healthy weight, but it can also help alleviate some of that anxiety that had you stress eating in the first place. The strategy here is routine. If you can’t participate in your old one, build a new one.

Maintain Healthy Sleep Hygiene

Let’s face it – we know you’re not out partying these days. Now is a great time to focus on sleep hygiene. Adequate sleep is important for both physical and mental health as well as for maintaining a healthy immune system. Key takeaways are to establish a bedtime routine, keep it consistent and avoid drinking too much alcohol, particularly right before bed (Yes, we know. The struggle is real but you will sleep so much better.)

Buy Local

No, locally produced food doesn’t have fewer calories necessarily than something commercially produced. The point here is to embrace the community around you. Support your local businesses, artisans and suppliers. Not only will you be helping your local economy, but you’ll also likely build some new relationships. Community is important, especially right now.

Let Us Help You

Do you know what makes healthy-eating easy as pie? Personal chef services. We create a custom menu just for you and deliver healthy, chef-prepared meals every week. Our prepared meal delivery comes with all kinds of perks like no contact delivery, limited grocery store outings (we provide all shopping and can even supplement our clients with grocery staples), and a custom menu. We also utilize as many local vendors as possible so you know you’re supporting the central Texas community. If you’re ready for custom, chef-prepared meals to help you kick start or continue your health journey, fill out our food profile to get started!

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. For more information on coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC also has valuable recommendations.