In light of the devastating natural disasters that have been affecting so many members of the Noomily, our health coaches wanted to do their part in helping everyone find calm in the storm and spread light in the darkness. Here are 27 strategies to help you stay healthy (body, mind, and spirit) during an unexpected emergency or crisis.
- Make a list and prioritize: When dealing with an unexpected crisis, it can be overwhelming. Take a deep breath and make a list of the things you need to do. Then, organize them based on their level of importance to help you prioritize. This will help you focus on one task at a time, keep you on track, and get everything done.
- Remember every step counts: Your journey is not all or nothing. Try to squeeze in anything you can, whether it be 10 minutes of stretching exercises or a 10 minute walk around the neighborhood. Every minute counts, and if 10 minutes is what you have to work with, that’s great!
- Stock up smart: Stock up on healthy foods that don’t require cooking, like fruits and vegetables you can eat raw, canned fish, beans, and nut butters. These don’t require refrigeration and can help you stay on track even in an emergency. Better yet, these nutritious eats will also help you feel energized.
- If you can, plan ahead: Just as you’d plan for other emergencies, making a ‘healthy living emergency plan’ can help you stay focused and on task should you encounter a crisis. What snacks and other items can you stock up on to help you and your family stay fueled and healthy? What can you do to stay moving? How can you manage your stress? Write out your plan and keep it with other important documents. Prep your loved ones ahead of time so that everyone is ready for action.
- Give yourself grace: Is the fridge shutting down and you don’t want the ice cream to melt and go to waste? Are you totally freaking out and just want the ice cream? Embrace it, own it, and give yourself the grace to move past it.
- Keep Noomin’: Use the skills you’ve learned with Noom! Your journey doesn’t stop in a crisis, but it might change a bit – and that’s ok. Remember, “progress not perfection.” Do what you can, breathe, reflect, and act through the rest.
- Be confident: Your routine might have changed up a bit but be confident that you have the support and tools you need to get through it. Even if it doesn’t seem like it in the moment, stay strong and remember that this too shall pass.
Coach Chelsea D.
- Go back to basics: Retrace past successes you’ve experienced in your journey to better health, like food logging and meal prep for instance. Allow yourself to adjust and adapt your goals according to what your body needs in the moment. Often times this could mean going back to basics.
- Practice self-care: When you are in a crisis/emergency situation, one of the most powerful things you can do (after you and your loved ones are physically safe) is identify one small thing that is going to help you cope in the here and now. Maybe it’s breathing deeply, maybe it’s listening to music, maybe it’s talking to somebody. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
- Lend a helping hand: Another powerful way to counter stress is to help somebody else (if you have the means and opportunity). Call a neighbor, share your freezer/fridge contents with the lady down the street who doesn’t get out to the store much, or encourage a friend who is feeling hopeless. A random act of kindness isn’t actually random — it’s an intentional and impactful way to boost your energy and mood during a challenging time.
- Respond instead of reacting: Even in the most uncontrollable situation, we all have the capacity to respond in a way that serves us well, instead of reacting in a way that feeds the fire.
- Find your positivity amongst the chaos: In chaotic situations we tend to feel overwhelmed, stressed and often frustrated. We also tend to forget that there is always some positivity in a situation. Make a list (mentally or on paper) of the things and people around you that you are grateful for, then reflect on your own sense of purpose and see how you can increase the positivity around you.
- Don’t hold uncontrollable situations against yourself: During emergencies a lot can change in a moment’s notice — you can lose electricity, find yourself in the middle of a flood, or lose belongings that cannot be retrieved. This could lead to a number of situations such as a lack of healthy options, no access to a scale to weigh in or no place to exercise. While it can be frustrating to feel that you’re ‘falling off the bandwagon,’ it’s important to remind yourself that these circumstances are not in your control and that you’re doing the very best you can. Fight the all or nothing attitude!
- Hydrate with water: In stressful situations, many people forget to drink water, and thirst can be disguised as feeling hungry. Even mild dehydration can affect your energy level and mood. If fresh and clean water is available, drink up!
- Take a deep breath and assess: When a crisis or unexpected event happens, there are many things that are out of our control. This can make us run into a frenzy! Stop, take a deep breath, and focus on what you can control. You can even make a list!
- Stay busy: Exercise isn’t the only way to move your body. Helping your family or neighbors is a great way to stay active, feel productive, and let that energy out in a healthy way.
- Trust your body: It’s important to fuel your body, no matter what you have on hand. Even if you only have canned foods and ice cream, it’s okay, just make an effort to eat them mindfully and trust that your body will tell you when it’s full.
- Focus on your breath: You always have access to your breath. Let yourself breathe deeply and be mindful whether you are moving, shoveling snow, helping your family stay safe, or trying to think through the stress.
- Practice gratitude: It might sound impossible at a time such as this, but by practicing being grateful for what remains, your happiness and productivity will increase. Cultivating gratitude trains us to focus on hope, to remain inspired, and to be optimistic, lending us the courage and resilience to persevere!
- Ask for help: Reach out for support and advice from the group. Your Noomily is there to support you in any way possible.
- Break down barriers (like you know how!): Life can throw many curve balls our way that create multiple barriers to staying healthy. If these barriers prevent limited healthy food options, opt for getting in some added steps. Take a brisk walk wherever you are to clear your mind, help you feel refreshed, and keep your mind and body busy instead of grabbing stress foods.
- Practice mindfulness: Take a moment to stop and breathe. What is going on around you? How are you feeling? Does stopping to take care of your stresses and unknown anxiety feel like a mother picking up a crying newborn without knowing what is wrong? It’s okay to feel that way. Don’t judge your thoughts and feelings. Practice accepting them instead. You are human — love yourself for it.
- Remember your greatness: Make a list (on your phone, on a piece a paper, or out loud) of at least 10 accomplishments. Maybe you stuck through a job you didn’t like. Maybe you raised wonderful children. Maybe you made the bed this morning when you didn’t want to. You are a wonderful human being and you are right here, alive, right now, today. You have made it through your struggles and triumphs, and you will make it through this.
- Focus on what you can control, let go of what you can’t: This is definitely a taxing time for everyone and there are probably a lot of things happening that are out of your control. Remember to use your energy on things that you do have control over. Breathe, practice mindfulness, review some old coping mechanisms that have helped during other stressful times, and remember that this is a temporary situation.
Coach Tiffany J.
- Adjust your goals: Remember, different circumstances mean different goals! Your goals in extreme circumstances will be different than your daily health goals. It’s not that your health goals don’t matter right now, but you have to keep in mind that these are extenuating circumstances. The safety of you and your family trumps meeting your daily step goal. Sure it would be great to meal prep for the week, but that’s not likely the case. So take a deep breath and remind yourself that the situation you’re in now won’t last forever. Do the best you can with what you’re working with.
Coach Tiffany M.
- Give yourself permission to “tread water”: Even the best swimmer treads water. It can provide time to just breathe, gauge your surroundings, gather information, seek out support, and plan out a strategy. Treading water doesn’t mean you stop working on your goals. It simply means you’re taking mindful action in the midst of chaos. Even if you are not moving forward you are still moving. And when the emergency or crisis passes, you can “just keep swimming.”
- Do your best with the choices in front of you: Life throws a few curveballs at us sometimes. In these situations, healthy living doesn’t always mean making a perfectly healthy choice, it may just mean making the best choice you can given your options. Do your best, accept whatever choices you make, and keep moving forward!