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Stuck at Home? Ways to Keep Your Eyes, Mind, and Body Healthy No Matter What!

These days we are all spending a lot more time at home. Social distancing for the greater good...which is a wonderful showing of solidarity in my opinion. But, that means that we are also no longer going out doing the same things we have been doing to take care of our health. So much has changed recently, but does that mean our eyes have to suffer? Absolutely not! We just have to change the HOW.

Changing how we do things

I absolutely understand wanting to stay home and feeling reluctant to go to our retina specialist’s office for fear of catching or spreading COVID-19. You may be wondering how we know if we NEED to go? We don’t get to exercise in gyms or go out to Panera for their fresh summer salad to keep our bodies, minds, and eyes healthy. But, we still need to take care of all of these things. I'm here to try and give suggestions for a new HOW.

Doing a lot of thinking while staying home

I’ve really been pondering this situation these first few weeks of self-quarantine and thinking of ways to help those who are seeking alternative methods to their normal routines. I hope that this article helps you find a new - for now - normal while you’re staying inside in the midst of this worldwide health scare.

Continued doctor visits

One of the biggest and immediate concerns for those of us battling macular degeneration is whether or not to keep our scheduled doctor appointments. This depends on two things:

  1. First, your doctor’s office’s new regulations.
  2. Second, the type of appointment you need.

Doctor’s office regulations

I suggest that if you haven’t already been called by your doctor’s office about their new regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic, write a list of questions you want to ask and call. Most doctor’s offices still have a receptionist or nurse working at their front desk. You can even ask their opinion on whether or not you should come in.

Type of appointment

In my opinion, the type of appointment really matters right now if you’re going to risk coming into possible contact with the virus. If you need an injection, I would think that may be worth the risk...taking all proper precautions with gloves and masks, of course. If you’re having symptoms of possible tears, holes, or detachments, I’d definitely call and assess the risk with your doctor. Those types of issues can become really problematic really quickly if left untreated. If you’re just scheduled for a regular check-up and aren’t having any current vision changes or issues, you may want to reschedule your appointment for when things are back to normal.

Continued nutrition and exercise

I don’t know about you, but I spent the first few weeks of quarantine in a sort-of daze just trying to figure out what was happening around me. I wasn’t exactly focused on my nutrition or exercise regimen...yet. Now that I have had a little bit of time to process, I’m more than ready to start focusing on ME again.

It’s one of the few things I can control right now

I can't control what's going on in the world, but I can control how I react to it. Can you tell I've continued my weekly therapy sessions in the midst of all of this? I may not have the fresh tomatoes and lettuce I want for my Tuesday Taco Night. That’s okay! I do have canned tomatoes to add to the ground turkey I have stocked up in my freezer. I can't go to a gym and work out right now, but I can go on a jog or a long walk with the dog and kids.

Continued mental health

You guys, besides the health of our eyes, THIS is so important right now. THIS is my most important ‘thing’ that I’m doing for ME. And, I’d venture to say it’s really important for you as well. Taking care of our mental health during isolation and uncertainty is an invaluable way to be able to stay well and function.

Really, we just have to make it through with as little turmoil as possible! We most likely can’t take care of our physical health, take care of our families, be engaged and successful workers, and responsible members of society if we aren't taking care of our mental health.

Therapy

I personally have continued my therapy session via phone call and zoom meetings. If you have a therapist, I’m sure they are willing and able to do the same for you. Maybe you’re not currently seeing a therapist, but are struggling with your mental or emotional health during isolation...I have a list of a few ideas, or mantras, that may help get you through these novel times.

Remind yourself as often as you need that:

  1. You are not stuck at home, you are SAFE at home.
  2. You are not working from home, you are at home during a crisis, trying to work. Success should not be measured in the same way things were when they were ‘normal’.
  3. You deserve to give yourself grace, you do not have to be as productive as you ‘usually’ are.
  4. Your personal physical, emotional and mental health is the most important thing right now.
  5. Do not base your success on how you're coping with uncertainty by watching how others are coping on social media. Chances are they aren't showing their own struggles.
  6. Do not judge others for how they are coping, try to stand together as one while social distancing.
  7. You rock! You've got this! You can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. This will not last forever. (REPEAT as needed)

If nobody has told you this yet, I'm telling you. YOU ROCK! YOU'VE GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU PUT YOUR MIND TO! THIS WILL NOT LAST FOREVER.

You are doing amazing things by simply staying inside and keeping yourself and others safe. If you need to go out to an appointment for your eyes, then go! This too shall pass. We are all in this together! If you have any other mantras you tell yourself to get through, post them in the comments!

Andrea Junge

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