Life after COVID-19: 7 tips for a healthier you

Published June 21, 2021


picture of a family bicycling

Fully vaccinated people have great protection against COVID-19, especially serious illness. For these people, most activities and gatherings are safe again. With things opening up and some routines going back to how they were before the pandemic, all of the change can be stressful.

Here are seven tips to feel your best by putting your health first.

Take care of your skin

Dermatologist Ronald Sulewski, MD, offers this simple three-step morning routine to keep your face looking fresh and healthy.

  1. Use a gentle cleanser.
  2. Put on broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher.
  3. Apply moisturizer.

Lower your stress

Take a moment to check in with your mental health. How stressed are you?

Signs that your stress is high:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Respiratory problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Putting time in your schedule for yourself is key to lowering stress levels. Bubble baths, gardening, walks around the neighborhood, fishing and golf are all activities that help you slow down and be in the moment. 

Move more

You may have gotten out of an exercise routine. That's OK. Ease yourself back into a schedule with these tips:

  • Don't expect to return to your previous level of exercise immediately
  • Stretch before and after working out to prevent muscle damage
  • Try outdoor running or cycling if you're not ready to return to the gym just yet

You don't need weights or machines to get your heart rate up and your muscles moving. The weight of your own body can be plenty of resistance for exercises like dips, squats, planks, push-ups and more.

Get enough sleep

If you're having trouble sleeping at night, is blue light from your phone to blame? Browsing social media or watching TV right before bed can mess up your sleep schedule. 

"The blue light from screens tells your body to decrease melatonin, the sleep chemical, making it harder to fall asleep," says optometrist Muriel Jepsen, OD

The fix is pretty simple: Avoid all screens one hour (or more) before bed. Silence or turn off your phone an hour before you intend to go to sleep. 

Wondering what to do if you can't sleep? Go to another room and do a quiet activity (perhaps reading) until you feel sleepy. Be sure that your quiet activity doesn't involve screens. Then return to bed. If you're still not asleep in 15 minutes or so, get up and leave again. The key to falling asleep quickly in bed is to associate your bed just with sleep.

Eat right

Food is fuel for a functioning immune system and a healthy body. Eat right to feel your best:

  1. Try new veggies and fruits. Specific veggies and fruits that help your immune system by reducing inflammation are apples, berries, tomatoes, celery and onions. 
  2. Get some omega-3s. Salmon, walnuts and chia seeds have omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation.
  3. Limit processed foods. Salty, processed foods limit your body's ability to fight diseases effectively. No need to start a strict diet. Try scaling back just a little – replace chips with carrots for a crunchy snack.

Allow yourself permission to grieve

We've all been through a lot. Many of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19. Missed traditions and changes to daily life affected everyone for more than a year. Give yourself space to feel whatever losses you experienced, and see how to find meaning in grief.

Ask for help if you need it

If you've struggled to make progress on your own, we're here for you. Get help with your health and well-being with our friendly medical experts.

A great place to start is by seeing a primary care provider. Find a primary care clinic near your neighborhood.

If you're ready to see a primary care provider or a specialist, call 800.922.0000 to make an appointment.

  • Need help with your hair, skin or nails? Nebraska Medicine dermatologists provide personalized treatments and helpful guidance
  • When a mental health issue becomes overwhelming, treatment and therapy can ease the pressure. Nebraska Medicine psychiatrists and psychologists will help you work through the problem in a confidential, understanding manner
  • The Sports Medicine team is ready to get your fitness back on track
  • Can't sleep a wink? Come in for a sleep study
  • If you've tried every diet with disappointing results, the Bariatrics Center is the most comprehensive weight management program in the region. Get support and guidance from weight loss physicians and medical nutritionists