b'SELF-CARE GUIDE|Practicing Self-Care During The PandemicThe mental impact of the past year has seen the approach to self-care evolve.By Joe DarrahT he concept of self-care has taken on a new identity duringBRING ON THE BRAIN FOODthe coronavirus pandemic. The constant, ongoing needOur increased reliance on technology to stay in contact with to wear masks and remain socially distant to protect ourloved ones and to conduct our work everyday has forced us into physical health has had consequences for our emotional andmore screen time, whereas self-care practices prior to the pan-mental health. demic included a focus on reduced screen time. Even prior According to the Mayo Clinic, caring for ourselves and ourto the pandemic, researchers found that adults who had an families can actually be one of the root causes of declining men- overload of screen time were more likely to experience mod-tal health, as can be an overload of new information, uncer- erate to severe depression. 1Research has also for some time tainty, and abnormal working hours. 1While it is normal toshown that the use of screens too soon before going to bed experience stress and a sense of being overwhelmed, these feel- can disrupt sleep cycles, in part by suppressing melatonin, ings can lead to prolonged anxiety, fear, anger, and sadness thatdue to blue light that is emitted from screens.1 Our brains can lead to feeling helpless.can actually be tricked into the belief that it is still day-Our lives have become more sedentary than they alreadytime, when we view screens at night, according to psychi-were, and although many of us are dining out less than we areatrist Zlatin Ivanov.1 The mental toll that the pandemic typically accustomed to its likely that our eating habits are notcontinues to take on all of us in general combined with particularly healthy either.the increased reliance on screens is a reminder of how The result has been a culmination of challenges to remainimportant it is for us to take steps to help with keeping our holistically healthy as weve attempted to avoid the virus. Andfocus and concentration and to keep our mood in check. as the pandemic lingers and as its impact on our world has ush-ered in changes to how we live and work that may never revertSO-CALLED BRAIN FOOD CAN ASSIST.to their-pre pandemic state, self-care continues to evolve. AtHarvard researchers have determined that the best the same time, traditional methods of self-care remain effec- brain foods are those that also protect heart and blood tive when we commit the time to them. ELITE recently spokevessels, 2including leafy green vegetables for their with healthcare providers to gain some insight on what self- vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene; fatty fish care means to them in 2021 and examined some of the ongoingfor their omega-3 fatty acids and healthy unsaturated ISTOCKtrends today in self-care. fats; berries for their flavonoids; tea and coffee (in 4 SELF-CARE GUIDE |2021| www.elitecme.com'