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Stay Safe Stay Well: How Isolation Is Playing With Our Minds (And Our Bodies)

wellness during coronavirus

The current scenario has forced most of the world’s people to stay and work from home. Among many challenges which this situation has brought, a very important one is wellness: staying physically and mentally fit. This has become quite tough since our movement has become restricted because of being indoors, thus forcing us to stress a limited set of muscles, while others are unused. Trying to multitask and switch between work, chores, and family, all at the same time is weighing down on us not only physically but also psychologically. For people who were enjoying fitness classes earlier, they’re probably missing the camaraderie and the atmosphere of the gym. Those who were busy bees at work or schools would surely be missing the change of surroundings.

Research suggests that people forced to live in quarantine conditions face a greater risk of anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, sleep disorders, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. The key stressors that may lead to psychological distress include boredom, frustration, limited information, and financial loss, and these effects can linger long after life returns to normal. The most serious part is that all this happens without our realizing it. It is just the output that is delivered in the form of irritation, shouting, etc.  

The Lockdown Action Plan

Life, as we knew it, three months back, is not going to be the same any time soon, if we are to go by the projections of experts. So, it becomes all the more important that we turn our attention to the most important task: caring for our physical and psychological wellness, even more than before. Here are a few ways that could help in achieving that goal:

Introduce Light Physical Work-Out Into Your Daily Routine

Physical activity helps improve all aspects of your health, including boosting our immune system. It also reduces stress and anxiety and improves mood, which in turn helps us sleep better and prevents burnout. As per WHO’s recommendations, all adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week. But, if you have not been into any form of fitness or exercising, now might not be the ideal moment to start an extremely ambitious and tiring new workout routine. The key idea should be a gradual introduction and progression of exercise into your daily routine. You can start by being mind-full, and just taking a short break from sitting, by doing 3-4 minutes of light intensity physical movement, such as walking or stretching, which will help to ease your muscles and improve blood circulation and muscle activity.    

Meditate & Practice Pranayams

Besides physical activity, you could also explore guided meditation and simple breathing practices. Recent studies have proven that meditation helps relieve our subjective levels of anxiety and improves attention, concentration, and overall psychological wellness. Simple breathing exercises and meditation can be easily done at home and you don’t need to join a class for the same. 

There are many interesting fitness styles to explore and follow, but you should consult your family physician before starting anything new, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions.  

Pursue A Hobby

Once the fitness part is taken care of, you could turn your attention towards nurturing a hobby that you have always wanted to pursue. Many talented people have quickly adapted to the changing times and have switched to virtual mode. There is a plethora of hobby classes being offered today, ranging from music to creative arts, cooking, gardening, etc., which will give you an opportunity to pursue your hobby from the comfort of your home. You could also bring home some plants and start caring for them. Your green friends will bring instant cheer to your home and life. Activities like doodling, gardening, listening to music, etc. will instantly calm your mind and take attention away from anything that’s bothering you, thereby contributing to wellness. 

Explore MOOC And Enhance Your Skills

Have you checked “coursera” or “edx” or similar MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platforms? You might suddenly find yourself attending a class at Harvard (virtually, don’t stretch your imagination too far ?) in a subject that you once loved or are interested in. There are other websites like Skillshare, Udemy, etc., which will give you a chance to explore your creative side as well with courses like calligraphy, doodling, sketching, watercolor art, etc. and many more. You name it and they’ve got it. Many courses on Skillshare are of short duration and could be completed in one sitting.

Get Organized

Still have some time in hand? You could de-clutter and organize your wardrobes and clean up your kitchen cupboards, sort and re-arrange make-up products, toys, books, etc. There may be a few drawers, where papers, files, bills, etc. are getting dumped month after month. Now may be a good time to attend to them. You could also do a digital detox for your phone, by deleting unnecessary apps, messages, photos, etc., and organizing your photos in folders so that they are easy to find. Did you know there are Japanese techniques for home-organization? I will share them with you in a separate post.

Nurture Relationships

Spend time with your family and stay connected with the ones you love. Use this opportunity to rekindle your relationship with a friend or a family member with whom you haven’t been in touch lately. Talking face to face, (even though virtually) and recalling the good times spent together will bring positivity in your life. You could also set aside some time each day and play games with your family. My personal favourite is “Dobble”, and we play it each night, just before sleeping. There are multiple ways to play it, and that makes it even more interesting.

Get Some R&R

Last, but not least, get some rest and recreation. Pamper yourself with a mini facial/manicure or pedicure at home. You don’t need to buy cosmetics for this. A face pack made with ingredients available at home will do the trick. Find a time of the day when u can put your feet up with a cup of tea or coffee and just relax (you can do this multiple times a day as well ?). You also have Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, and many more streaming services to keep you busy and enthralled with their thrilling and addictive content which spans across diverse genres.

This Too Shall Pass

Every time you hear words like “lockdown”, “quarantine” etc., your brain starts putting together a list of things you cannot do or are not allowed to do. But perhaps you should think of all the unique opportunities this slower lifestyle offers. Instead of feeling lonely or sitting around worrying, use your downtime to learn new skills, pamper yourself, think deeper about what brings happiness, and work towards wellness. Remember: “The night is the darkest just before dawn”. Use this time wisely, and also, acknowledge and be thankful to the people around you who are working to keep everything as normal as possible.

So, see you in a while! Take care!!

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1 thought on “Stay Safe Stay Well: How Isolation Is Playing With Our Minds (And Our Bodies)”

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