How to Cope and Stay Healthy During The Pandemic

Mar/22/2020 / by Seema Kumar
Coping with the pandemic of COVID-19

One fortnight can change your entire life! Two weeks ago, we all gathered together at the SEEMA Summit to celebrate International Women’s day. At the time, the coronavirus pandemic was an emerging concern, a big bad wolf knocking on the door of New York City. Today, NYC is a hot zone, an epicenter of the pandemic. The NY Tristate area is in lock-down mode and across the country, more than 80 million Americans are under a stay-at-home order. We are all living like recluses, practicing social distancing, as it is the best tool we have today to tackle this growing global crisis of a pandemic.

So how do we cope, as we each do our part to #stopthespread? Here are three things I do to keep sane and optimistic during this pandemic:


Arming myself with facts:

I read my NYTimes Live Coronoavirus briefing every day, and review the latest health department updates from my region and town on the state of the pandemic. I also have educated myself and my family about the common signs of the infection and where the nearest testing facilities are. I know the risk of contracting the infection is low if you self-isolate and take some simple steps to minimize risks of infection. I am washing hands often, avoiding touching my face and avoiding being around people, period. We stay mostly at home and keep grocery runs to a minimum, making it quick and early in the morning. We clean frequently-used surfaces, wiping down the grocery packages with disinfecting wipes before bringing them inside the home. 

Staying healthy and boosting the immune system:

I try to eat healthy—although I have to admit it feels like being a freshman in college again. I am eating — three or more meals a day 🙂 —and while I am eating more than I normally do, I am trying to eat well. I need to stay healthy to combat the pandemic. I cook every day—no easy-greasy unhealthy take out or delivery—and have stocked my pantry with such healthy non-perishables as quinoa, wholewheat crackers, and nuts, and no chips or cookies. I also have plenty of fresh and frozen vegetables, fruits, cheese, yogurt, spices, and pantry staples to quickly whip up a smoothie or make a healthy snack with chickpeas, or avocados, cauliflower bites, or zucchini chips to munch while sipping my ginger masala chai. I get a long and good night’s sleep and take a multivitamin everyday. Yes, I am gaining weight with more regular meals and the lack of high-intensity workouts, but I am staying healthy by practicing yoga, stretching, trying dumb bell work outs, and walking my dog around the neighborhood. A pandemic is not the time to diet to slip into my slinky LBD; there is nowhere to go anyway :-). 

Maintaining optimism by managing mental wellbeing:

Like many, my day job keeps me focused on all things coronavirus 24/7. It is almost all consuming. While contributing to solving the crisis is energizing, it can become an obsession that takes over your life. So I am thankful to have my family and pet at home who distract me away from the intensity of the pandemic, and I am thankful to have SEEMA to manage, which is another source of inspiration and purpose in my life. I also try to take a break from the constant barrage of news by connecting virtually with my community of friends, having meetings with my colleagues and team via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom, and doing things that give me joy, like cooking :-). I’m rediscovering the pleasure of cooking, which I find is a creative and meditative exercise, especially when innovating from ingredients already on hand hand. I don’t mind washing the dishes afterwards—it just is another way to wash your hands and stay safe!

Also read about keeping your pantry stocked during the pandemic.

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