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Balancing a healthy lifestyle and independence can be challenging if you spend a significant amount of time at home. With that in mind, it is important to be deliberate about managing staying home in a healthy way. Here are a few tips:
Stay connected with your support network.
You may find comfort and enjoyment by connecting with family, friends and colleagues in your support network virtually or over the phone. In fact, social connection has a positive effect on overall mood and wellbeing1. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you need help. It can be hard to notice that someone needs help from afar, so it’s important to verbalize your needs. Click here to learn about building a support network.
Stick to a routine.
Maintaining a regular schedule can make you feel more in control. Try to go to bed, wake up and eat meals at the same times each day. Setting health-related goals, such as doing simple exercises indoors or, if appropriate, taking a walk each day, can also have a positive impact on your day-to-day wellbeing.
Monitor your eye health with your health care provider.
Try to connect with your eye doctor via phone or video chat when an in-person appointment isn’t possible. To learn about how to stay on track with your eye health virtually, click here. It is also important to talk to your eye doctor before missing an appointment and follow their guidance for monitoring your condition between visits, which you can learn more about by clicking here.
Not only will exercise help with blood flow and maintaining a healthy weight, physical activity can lighten your mood and reduce anxiety as well2. Take a walk, do an exercise routine at home or lift light weights. When you exercise outside, be sure to protect your eyes with sunglasses or a hat, and wear a scarf or face mask to protect your nose and mouth. To learn more about building healthy exercising habits, click here.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Healthy eating not only helps you to maintain an appropriate weight, but it can also help boost your mood3. Studies suggest that some nutrients found in certain foods may benefit eye health, like those in the Mediterranean diet. Try to eat a nutritious diet that includes healthy foods, such as4:
Avoid artificial fats and processed foods as much as possible. Be sure to follow guidance from your health care team, making modifications where needed based on food preferences and availability.
Make small changes to help you navigate your home.
Navigating your home with wet macular degeneration can be a challenge, but some small adjustments can go a long way in making your household feel safe and comfortable. Click here for some tips on creating a safer home environment.
Consider keeping a gratitude journal or calling a family member or friend to talk about things you appreciate and moments that brought you joy.
Living with a chronic condition, particularly if you are at home for an extended period, can be a challenge and sometimes feel isolating. Making small adjustments to your home and routine, along with finding new ways to lean on your health care team and support network, can make a big difference and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
1Martino J, Pegg J, Frates EP. The Connection Prescription: Using the Power of Social Interactions and the Deep Desire for Connectedness to Empower Health and Wellness. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2015;11(6):466–475.
2Penedo FJ and Dahn JR. Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2005;18(2):189-193.
3Francis HM et al. A brief diet intervention can reduce symptoms of depression in young adults – A randomised controlled trial. PLOS ONE. 2019;14(10). e0222768. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0222768.
4Carneiro A and Andrade JP. Nutritional and lifestyle interventions for age-related macular degeneration: a review.
Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2017; 2017: 2435963. doi: 10.1155/2017/6469138.