- Do not skip exercising, your body needs movement
- Educate yourself about the illness- its causes, effects and symptoms
- Adopt healthy sleeping and eating habits that build immunity
Health tips for lockdown: For most of us, witnessing the entire country in a state of complete lockdown is a first-time and also a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To be living in social isolation, maintaining no physical contact with anyone and staying indoors for extended periods of time isn't easy. Adapting to this change can be difficult as it has suddenly put brakes on our 'known normal' and it asks us to create a 'new normal'.
The lockdown has taken away a lot from all of us - our personal, social, occupational and recreational life. Nothing remains the same, anymore. It is like we are having to reinvent the wheel of life!
Whether we are a child, an adult or an old person, each one of us is going through his/her own set of challenges. Children have been suddenly cut away from their usual activities of going to school, tuition/hobby classes, meeting friends, playing outdoors etc. Being completely confined within the walls of their home isn't easy for them.
Old people are being asked to stay at home, not go for walks, sit in the park or visit their friends and family. These are the few things that give meaning to their lives and make them look forward to the day. In addition, to know that the Coronavirus affects the elderly, those with low immunity or those dealing with pre-existing medical conditions does little for their morale.
All working adults are having to sit at home. While there are some people who have the option of working from home which gives some semblance of a routine life, for many people their occupational life has suddenly been taken away from them. They are left with a feeling of vacuum and uncertainty.
The economy has hit its worst low and financial worries are slowly beginning to creep in. We are scared of losing our job, of being handed the pink slip or being deprived of our expected bonus, incentive or a job confirmation letter.
There are people dying all across the world. The number of infected cases in the country continues to rise and with it rises our fear of a doomsday.
All this can take an enormous toll on our physical and mental well-being. There can be a million questions running in our head and no clear answer that can reduce the anxiety.
"Will this get better? When will it all end? Will my family and I be safe? What if someone known to me or I myself get affected? What if I lose my job? What if I may never be able to go to work? When well I get to meet my family and friends? There are people dying every day, what can I do to help?" These questions can make us sad and bring on feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Worrying about the present and the future can affect our sleep cycle, leading to feelings of emotional exhaustion and fatigue. Tackling this while we are in self-isolation and following social distancing can be difficult but it is important that we do not let this get the better of us.
Some ways in which we can protect our emotional health can be
1. Actively take steps to create a routine - It is what brings normalcy to our life. It lets us know that life is on track and we are in control of things.
2. Educate yourself about the illness - its cause, effects, symptoms and precautions to take. When we are informed, we have a better handle over our emotional state.
3. Do not believe in rumours or every news that comes on social media. Verify the source of the news - ensure it's credibility.
4. Exercise at home or on the terrace - your body needs movement. The release of endorphins will keep the mood positive. Moderate level of cardio or aerobic exercise or a dance class is an excellent option to consider.
5. Adopt healthy sleeping and eating habits that build immunity.
6. Limit your consumption of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine.
7. Practice yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercise to keep the mind calm and relaxed from the chaos around you.
8. Stay connected with friends and family through video calls.
9. Rest, relax, recuperate.
Change the meaning of the lockdown in your head. They way you perceive it, will influence your emotional state. Think of it as an opportunity to slow down from the madness of a hurried life. A chance to connect with your self - to pause, to re-evaluate and to reset your life. It is perhaps nature's way of giving us a wake up call!
(Dr Sanjay Chugh is Senior Consultant Psychiatrist at Dr. Chugh's Neuropsychiatry Clinic, New Delhi)
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