Over the next three weeks, with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic and getting used to working from home, we may turn to convenience over nourishment.
It is imperative now more than ever to not let our mental and physical health fall by the wayside. Here are some helpful tips on how to keep healthy during lockdown.
Your mental health is of the utmost importance. If your mind is not stimulated, you may begin to feel bored, which can lead to a minor depression. To mitigate this, you need to keep that mind active. Puzzles, books, sudoku and crosswords are excellent ways of stimulating the brain. Challenging yourself will help keep you on the ball during lockdown.
What is also important is balance. You have to let your mind rest. The best way to unwind at the end of the day is through some light meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. This will help still the mind and release any tension you’re unknowingly holding on to.
If you’ve never done yoga and want to learn, there really is no time like the present. Here is a quick 20-minute beginners guide:
If you’re familiar with the practice and want to up the intensity a bit, this is for you:
For those looking for a meditative practice with deep breathing, this is for you:
Your neck and back will be take a lot of strain if you’re working from home. Working from bed, the couch or an unsupportive chair can really do long-term damage if you aren’t careful.
Blood also needs to flow unrestricted, so sitting cross-legged is not ideal. If you find yourself glued to your laptop or computer, set an alarm every hour and for one minute, stand. This will help get the blood flowing, it will force you to take a mini break and it will give your back some much needed relief.
Try a seat rotation throughout the day if you do not have a supportive chair. This way you won’t be hunched over in one position. Focus on sitting upright and stretching your back as often as possible.
Put the chips down. Rusks are not breakfast. Ice cream is not a meal substitute. Right now, you need to focus on fueling the body with as many nutrients as possible to ensure a healthy mind and healthy body. If you you’re making healthy and balanced meal choices and that your portion sizes aren’t huge, your body and mind will be better off.
Breakfast is really important and if you aren’t the “breakfast type” you need to train your body to become this. Start small: toast, a light smoothie, a boiled egg. You need to feed the body to fuel the brain. No, coffee is not a meal. Whatever dietary requirements you may have, try eat as clean as possible. Avoid deep-fried foods, limit your salt intake and try avoid refined sugar at all costs. Also, don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas for omnivores
For the vegetarians
For the vegans
4. Keep active
Dedicating a small portion of your day to exercise will really help keep your immune system up. It doesn’t have to be intense and grueling but you should break a sweat. Getting your heart rate up helps to pump oxygen through the body and to get the blood flowing. It is important to mix up cardio and strength training, so that you aren’t leaving a muscle group out. This explains the difference between the two for those new to the exercise game:
Here is a cardio workout that requires no equipment
Here is an at home workout for strength training that requires no equipment:
5. Other tips
Sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, with 7-8 hours being the ideal amount of time. It’s easy to binge watch series into the early hours of the morning but this isn’t conducive to your health. Try your best to switch off and unwind an hour or two before bed to assist your sleep.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Try get 2-3 litres a day, in order to help your bodily functions. If this sounds like an impossible task, add some lemon or cucumber to your water for natural, nutritive flavours. Plain Rooibos tea without milk or sugar is also a way to hydrate the body but should be consumed in addition to water.
This tips all have a knock on effect: If you’re stimulating the mind, eating well and exercising, your bound to get a good night’s rest. The cycle starts and so your immune system benefits as a result.
Also: Wash and sanitize your hands. Don’t be silly and disregard the rules of lockdown.
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