Coronavirus & The Environment: Keeping Ourselves & The Planet Healthy

coronavirus and the environment. Credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on UnsplashSociety has been affected by Coronavirus in several ways. Industries have been stopped in their tracks and the American (and global) economy has ground to a standstill. However, one silver lining in all of this is the remarkable way CO2 emissions and pollution levels have decreased since much of the world has begun to isolate within their homes, only leaving for necessities. While this is incredible for the health of our planet, there are still new environmental issues popping up in this new normal. Some people are panic buying at the store, which leads to more waste at home. Others are flushing certain materials down drains that inevitably cause problems with their plumbing and harm to the planet.

What can you do to help yourself and the planet during these unprecedented times? Just because you’re staying healthy at home doesn’t mean your hands are tied. There are several ways you can help keep the planet healthy as well as yourself during this pandemic.

Exercise and Social Distancing

One of the most important things we can do for ourselves as we remain at home is to keep up with both our physical and mental health. Plus, when it comes to our planet, staying at home helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions as many of us have parked our cars for the time being. However, it can be a bit more challenging to stick to our tried and true exercise routines because we don’t have access to our usual gyms and exercise equipment. That’s where we need to get creative. And while it’s understandable to be sad about our current situation, it’s important to keep up with a somewhat regular routine to help with our mental health as well.

Studies have shown the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, but just because we’re inside, for the time being, does not mean we should spend all the time sitting and binging our favorite shows on Netflix. Instead of flipping to the latest series to grab your attention, consider turning on a yoga routine to follow on YouTube. If yoga isn’t your style and you’re looking for something a little more upbeat, look into signing up for some live stream dance classes

Plus, just because we’re at home doesn’t mean the outside is completely off-limits. Fresh air and sunlight are good for the body and mind, so if you can get outside and maintain social distancing while you exercise that’s a great option as well. The Centers for Disease Control currently recommends staying at least six feet away from others if you’re out in public, and this includes places like hiking trails and jogging paths at your local parks.

Regardless of how you choose to get your exercise, the most important part is that you continue getting physical activity. It’s not only your physical health you’re taking care of by doing this. It’s vital for your mental health as well.

How Telemedicine Helps Us and the Environment

Even if we’re doing everything we can to stay healthy, there’s always a chance of us coming down with a random cold or stomach bug. The big difference now, though, is whether or not our sick leave will be paid depending on our working situation. Unemployment is at a record high right now, and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the workforce. That’s another reason keeping yourself healthy should be at the top of the list during all of this.

Experts are advising against going to visit your doctor in person and are, instead, pushing telehealth options. This is a win for both us and the planet. For one, the use of telemedicine has reduced the number of cars on the road, which has led to lower CO2 emissions. Secondly, it decreases the amount of paper used in each office. Americans, on average, use approximately 700 pounds of paper per year and the healthcare industry is a big reason for that. With the use of telemedicine, we can now see the doctor from the safety (and isolation) of our own homes, helping out the planet and ourselves at the same time.

Chronic Illnesses and the Coronavirus

If you’re one of the thousands of Americans who suffer from a chronic illness, you’re most likely considered to be in a higher risk category. Studies have shown those with illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and lung problems have had a more severe reaction to the Coronavirus. Staying as healthy as possible with issues like these require a bit more work.

Keeping up with your regular doctor visits through telemedicine, picking up your medications through a drive-through or a delivery service, and eating a healthy diet are all great ways to stay healthy during this pandemic. Right now, some hospitals are reaching capacity and putting unprecedented amounts of stress on our healthcare system. Staying at home is vital but thankfully, due to progress with technology managing our health at home is easier than ever.

No matter what issues we face during this pandemic, there are still some bright spots to focus on. A healthier planet and healthier humans are the goals and while the pandemic might be putting a kink in our plans at the moment, we’re hopefully heading in the right direction.