Actionable Tips to Adapt to the “New Normal”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives permanently in many ways. Quarantines and lockdowns have become our way of life. Masks and face shields have become necessities. There is no telling what else could happen in the future. The pandemic has opened our eyes to the inconvenient truth of uncertainty.

Regardless of any help extended to us, our choices and decisions will still determine our survival and safety. Not surprisingly, survival does not involve expensive gadgets, designer bags, or any material things that we used to value so much. It involves healthy habits and mindfulness in our daily life. Whether this pandemic goes on or comes to a close, these basic but essential tips can help you adapt to the “new normal”:

Our health is the foundation of our survival. What we consume greatly affects our ability to prevent, fight, and recover from infections and dreaded diseases. That is why doctors and research journals stress the importance of eating and maintaining a healthy diet.

Adopting a healthy diet is not exactly rocket science; in fact, information on healthy eating habits has always been easily available. However, the idea of a ‘diet’ can be scary and overwhelming to most of us. Just imagining the effort, it would take to commit to such a change can be daunting to anyone. To avoid getting completely overwhelmed, you need to understand that you do not have to do it all at once. The truth is you can start eating healthy by just making a few tweaks to your current eating habits.

Start by including more fruits and vegetables. They are rich in fiber and are packed with nutrients that our bodies can absorb and break down easily. Eating fiber-rich food also helps keep our digestive systems healthy. Next, cut back on salt intake to about 5 grams or 1 teaspoon a day. Reduced salt intake decreases the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. Eat moderate amounts of fats and oils, and always stick to healthy fats. Lastly, limit your sugar intake. Avoid sodas and other sugary drinks. Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to headaches, make you feel sluggish, and increase your risk for diabetes.

In addition, consider cutting your portions. Eat more frequently but in reduced portions to keep you satiated. Eating between long intervals can make you feel hungry, thus, making you overeat. Remember, you do not have to do it all at once, the goal is to be healthy, not skinny. Transitioning slowly and consistently is still the best path to success.

Gone are the days when you can just be carefree about your environment. The pandemic has made us mindful of our surroundings. Health and safety are now priorities.

When you’re cleaning your home and you want to make sure that it is virus-free, it’s important to pay special attention to frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, switches, and faucets. This is vital since researchers have found that the coronavirus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours and can even last up to two or three days on plastic and stainless steel. Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces are not something one should take lightly.

Household members should also be properly educated on COVID-19 prevention. Proper hand washing, social distancing, and the wearing of masks must be observed.

“Prevention is better than cure.” This cliché is so accurate during this pandemic. It is time for us to become more conscious about our health and to put in the extra effort in taking care of ourselves.

COVID-19 patients reported to have underlying medical conditions tend to develop severe cases and have 12 times higher death rate than those without. You must know yourself really well to reduce unwarranted health risks and increase your chances for treatment and cure.

This is where having regular check-ups can come in handy. Regular visits to your doctor can help you identify potential health issues and manage them effectively before they even become a problem. If you’re still worried or conscious about stepping outside, online consultation or teleconsultation is highly recommended. Apart from improving your overall health, early detection can also save you a lot of money by avoiding costly medical services brought about by severity and complications.

So, in your spare time, contact your doctor and ask how you can safely get regular check-ups to keep track of your health.

One of the biggest difficulties is getting hospitalized and then, paying for the bills. With the exponential increase of hospital bills due to the emergence of COVID-19, just seeing a 5-Day hospital bill can be enough to put you in a state of shock.

A medical emergency can happen to anyone at any time. It can happen to you or it can happen to someone you deeply care about. And sometimes, if not treated immediately, it can result in irreversible damage. Unfortunately, many of us are not prepared for these kinds of situations. Such situations can be physically draining and can take a mental toll as well.

This need not be the case. You can do something to prevent the worry about getting the care you and your family need. One of the most tried and tested ways to prepare for unexpected medical emergencies is to get health insurance. Health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that promises to pay for the medical expenses of the insured. Depending on the level of coverage, a health insurance policy will help you pay for hospitalization, medicines, and even other medical services.

Health Insurance is important in the “new normal”. With rising medical costs and the spurt of lifestyle diseases and various health threats in the country, it is important that you set aside money to get a health insurance policy well-suited to your lifestyle. Start searching for the best health insurance you can afford and make sure you get it from a reputable company. You should compare and ask around to see what plan is best suited for you and for your family.

You may check out Allianz PNB Life, one of the leading health insurance companies in the Philippines. Allianz PNB Life has flexible plans that can meet your needs, and you may check out their health insurance plans here for more information.

Last but not least, be kind and patient. Things do not work the way they used to be anymore. Goods and services are handled differently now because safety protocols are now necessary. These protocols may make you feel irritated and impatient. At these moments, remind yourself that you are not the only one who is having these experiences; everyone is also having a hard time.

So, whenever you feel like things are not being done well, whenever you are facing delays, extend a little bit more compassion. Be understanding of other people who might also be having a hard time adjusting to the new normal and see how a little bit of kindness and patience can positively affect you and the people around you.

You do not need flashy, expensive items to survive a pandemic. What it does take is practicality, and discipline to stay on top of the crisis. Hang in there, take care of your health, protect yourself, and stay home as much as possible. Sooner or later, things will get better. Life may not be the same, but you can always strive to make your life worthwhile in the new normal.

#HealthyAtHome. (2018). Who.Int. https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to- combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome---healthy-diet

The Importance of Regular Check-Ups. (2017, April 7). Pomona Valley Health Centers. https://mypvhc.com/importance-regular-check-ups/

CDC. (2020, February 11). Cleaning and Disinfection for Households. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting- sick/cleaning-disinfection.html