A guide to your healthy routine to beat the long-lasting Covid blues

BY DINESH SHARMA   As we slowly crawl out of the COVID-19 crisis, here are a few tips for you to maintain your immunity and health  

image.gifThe pandemic has placed us in an unprecedented and long-lasting crisis that has been consistently unfolding on many levels, be it economic, humanitarian or social. It is arguably the biggest health-related challenge we have encountered collectively, and people across the world are learning to evolve and live with it. Whether it is using social media to channel emotions or an increasing number of adults taking sabbaticals from work, the need for us to cope is real and imperative.

Here are a few tips that could help to boost your immunity and take better care of your mental and physical health, as things slowly get back into a new normal.
Mind your mental health
Being stationary and home-bound during the pandemic has made the healthiest of people pile on pounds. Being cut off from outdoor spaces has also impacted our mental health in a big way. Seek help if you need it to deal with your anxiety and any other issues that you may be facing. Engaging in distressing activities and hobbies, spending time with loved ones and pets, listening to music, dancing, gardening, watching uplifting comedies and reading inspirational books can help us all navigate tough times.  
Set yourself a fitness goal
Our physical movement has been severely diminished due to the pandemic. Our connection to the environment, to like-minded communities, has been curtailed and this has taken away a huge part of our organic experiences. One way to engage in a community-centric, physical activity safely is by joining this year’s Oxfam Trailwalker Challenge starting from 17th September to 26th September and the 2nd part from 1st October to 10th October. This virtual walkathon motivates people in 17 locations and nine countries around the globe to reaffirm their commitment to fitness and community welfare. The theme of this year’s challenge — #WalkInMyShoes — is a call for solidarity for those who have suffered during the pandemic due to relentless discrimination, poverty and inequality. By joining this walkathon, you can set yourself a fitness goal as well as contribute to the fundraiser that has been designed to alleviate the sufferings of the vulnerable. It’s also a way to include your family in your fitness journey to collectively reach goals and rebuild a relationship. 
Eat what is good for you
Eat sensibly, on time and cook meals that balance out the nutrients that you need the most. Experiment with fresh salads, juices, steamed and lightly sauteed meals,  steer clear of processed foods, drink lots of water (8-10 glasses a day) to flush out toxins from your body, eschew alcohol and replace sugary drinks with coconut water. Add probiotics to your diet. Cut out sugar, heavy carbs and excessive caffeine and incorporate healthy snacks rather than store-bought ones to address those inconvenient hunger pangs. What you eat will eventually impact how you feel so stock up on foods that are truly good for your body.
Learn to meditate
Many people find it hard to meditate but like everything else in life, it is a skill that given time and persistence, can be mastered. There are instructional videos, guided meditations available online that simplify what seems like an intimidating activity.  Once you get a handle on it, you will find yourself feeling less anxious and more at peace with life’s ups and downs. You can also follow mindfulness blogs and read books that teach how to live in the moment. You can join virtual meditation sessions and try different kinds of meditation techniques to see which one suits you. Just learning to regulate your breathing can make a huge difference to your stress levels.
Take your sleep seriously
Addiction to big and small screens and over-dependence on the Internet has made us all compromise our natural sleep cycle. Virtual stimulation, constant notifications and an unending stream of relevant and irrelevant information have chained us to our electronic devices.  Even though scientific research has established that taking our mobiles to our beds is detrimental to natural sleep patterns, we continue to scroll through our social media late into the night. Our biological clock follows a 24-hour sleep-wake cycle but electronic back-lit devices like cell phones, laptops, tablets etc emit a blue light which reduces or delays sleep. Delayed or interrupted sleep also impairs cognitive function and in the long run, harms our overall wellness quotient and immunity levels. To take better care of yourself, switch off your devices an hour before you go to bed and sleep and wake up at a designated time. Observe digital detox often, to clear your mind.

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