As we continue through the latter half of 2021, the ebb and flow of the COVID-19 tide of case counts keeps our emotional wellbeing poised to shift positions. Will 2021 see another lockdown? Will the delta variant return us to maxed-out hospital beds? The line in the sand keeps moving, and many of us are either keeping pace with it or trying to avoid watching it altogether. Meanwhile, our daily habits have followed a similarly winding path that parallels COVID-19 trends. Dietary choices, de-stressing hobbies and new routines such as logging in from home, morning walks and taking supplements like CBD are all a part of a collective mental shift. So, are we currently moving towards more positive or negative mindsets?
Just prior to the delta buzz, a June 2021 Gallup Poll showed U.S. Americans had the highest evaluations of their wellbeing in over 13 years, with 59.2 percent of respondents evaluating their lives as “thriving.”1 This was in stark contrast to the survey given in April 2020, in which respondents recorded the lowest evaluations of wellbeing since the Great Recession.1 The most recent study predicts the positive change is due to decreasing COVID-19 case numbers, increasing social interactions and an overall return to normalcy.1
Two months later, however, the highly transmissible delta variant could cause another large dip in wellbeing. How do we avoid it? The answer may be in adjusting some of the initial bad habits many of us gained during the early months of quarantine, such as increased takeout consumption, reduced physical activity and increased social media usage.2
Do You Need to Nix Takeout?
It’s no secret that the foods and supplements you consume have a direct impact on your mood, energy levels and overall health. Just ask Farmulated CBD Contributing Pharmacist Gina Ruffa. Does this mean you need to stop supporting local restaurants via takeout orders? Not at all, but you may find it useful to keep track of the foods you’re eating in a way that’s both meaningful and authentic to you. For instance, if you hate counting calories or get a headache from the mention of macronutrients, consider focusing on incorporating anti-inflammatory foods and supplements into your diet.
Dropping Dieting for Better Health
For a timely incentive, studies show an excessive inflammatory response is a trademark of COVID-19,3 therefore reducing inflammation in the body through dietary choices may reduce some of the worst symptoms of the virus. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends incorporating tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and antioxidant-rich fruits such as blueberries. Before beginning a full dietary overhaul, choose 2-3 servings of these recommended foods per day, then incorporate an anti-inflammatory supplement such as CBD for an added boost.
Rather than practicing unattainable forms of dieting like cutting out food groups, your focus will shift to including healthy new options; a small, daily habit that will gradually improve your wellbeing via positive connotations. Plus, foods like fish and leafy greens tend to be easy to find on takeout menus, but if not, opt for skinless poultry over red meat when possible.
When the Couch Becomes a Safe Space…
In early quarantine, social media activity went up and physical activity plummeted as the world settled into indented couches indoors. One positive: When gyms shut down, many people began swapping indoor sweat sessions for daily walks outdoors, one of the greatest activities to improve mental health. One interesting statistic shows that of the 11 percent of respondents who moved during 2020, easier access to the outdoors was cited as one of the top reasons for the decision.
While there’s no reason to completely give up your Netflix binge sessions, getting active outdoors is one of the most therapeutic methods of maintaining physical wellbeing, and likely even contributed to the high marks of wellbeing in the June 2021 poll. If the idea of an indoor gym session only feeds your misery, allow yourself to take a few daily walks outdoors, then transition to longer walks or light jogs. The act of setting down your phone and getting outdoors is step one, and however light or heavy you choose to exercise from there is more mentally and physically beneficial than remaining planted on the couch. A good rule of thumb when habits feel settled is that small changes are always better than none at all.
Foreseeing the Next Gallup Poll
While a small dip in wellbeing may be inevitable, a commitment to healthier lifestyle choices can have a massive impact amid often uncontrollable factors. As family farmers, we recognize the great outdoors and surplus of fresh vegetables and premium hemp feeds our wellbeing on a daily basis. Just as hemp has helped us, we hope our wide range of CBD products can assist our local community and beyond as a small, daily health decision that has a domino effect on more and more lifestyle choices.
Wherever 2021 may attempt to lead us, let’s choose daily paths with the greatest potential wellbeing!