Experts Decode The Need To Stay Mentally And Physically Healthy When At Home

YearEnder2020Health: The demand for mental health services has increased during the pandemic. The new normal has affected both mental and physical health negatively. Read here to know from the experts how to stay mentally and physically fit at home.

Experts Decode The Need To Stay Mentally And Physically Healthy When At Home

YearEnder2020Health: Sedentary lifestyle can negatively effect your mental and physical health

Highlights

  • YearEnder2020Health: Stay connected with your loved one digitally
  • A healthy diet can keep you mentally and physically healthy
  • Seek help from a mental health expert if required

The Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 upended everyone's life. With the spread of coronavirus in 2020, the majority of the population was stuck indoors. There has been a major shift in the levels of physical activity throughout the day that has impacted both the mental and physical health of several individuals. Less socialising, sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, long working hours, fear of catching the virus and many other factors are to be blamed for the sharp rise in mental as well as physical ailments. Therefore, in the year 2020, it somehow became necessary to keep your mind and body fit while staying at home. We spoke to Dr. Aparna Ramakrishnan (Psychiatrist) and Bhakti Samant (Chief Dietician) from Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai to know how to keep your mental and physical health in good shape while staying at home.

The importance of staying mentally and physically fit when at home

Deteriorating mental health: One of the major concerns during the pandemic

Dr. Ramakrishnan says, "WHO defines health as the state of physical, mental and social well-being not just the absence of disease. All of us know that we should have a good lifestyle, eat well, and exercise, to maintain physical health but how many of us truly do it consistently? It has taken a pandemic for us to realise that health has to be the top priority in our lives."

While focusing on social distancing, better immunity, weight management and whatnot, many failed to realise that a pandemic has impacted mental health too.

"A sound mind resides in a healthy body, a healthy body functions because of a sound mind, which is why a healthy mind is very important especially in these times of crisis when the mindset has to suddenly shift from living mode to survival mode," says Dr. Ramakrishnan.

Also read: Ways To Fight Depression

How staying at home affected mental health?

"Since the pandemic, lives have changed, things which we took for granted like a simple handshake or a hug, has to be avoided. The stress busters and activities that are a source of relaxation like going out, etc. have been restricted."

"While, staying at home has improved the family equation in some circumstances, in other situations it has resulted in discord as all the members with different personalities and different reactions to stress are staying together. And during these times many chose unhealthy ways of cope with it are zoning out in front of gadgets, binging on comfort-food, withdrawing from people, and venting out anger on someone else," she further adds.

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Unhealthy lifestyle contributes increased risk of mental health issues
Photo Credit: iStock

Dr. Ramakrishnan further shares tips to stay mentally fit at home

  • Set limits on the amount of time you are spending on reading and watching about the COVID-19 outbreak
  • A healthy mind resides in a healthy body. So, even if you are at home and your normal routines have gone for a toss, develop a new routine, eat healthy and exercise
  • Do some simple indoor exercises like skipping, jogging on spot, etc. All these essentially lead to the release of endorphins which basically make us feel happy
  • Yoga, mindfulness, and meditation can uplift mood
  • Involve other family members in the exercises that you do. Let it become a family bonding routine
  • While working from home, have a set schedule. Don't overwork since you also need your down-times along with the work
  • Share the household tasks with your family members because it improves family bonding along with taking away your load
  • After any stressful task, do something fun and unwind
  • Develop a small hobby during this time like learning a new language, instrument etc.
  • Indulge in a positive self-talk
  • Attitude of gratitude- Write three good things that happened to you during the day before you go to bed
  • Social distancing is physical distancing, not emotional distancing. Connect with people on the phone and share your feelings

Also read: Yoga For Mental Health: Expert Recommended Asanas That Can Help Improve Your Mood

Keep yourself fit even when at home

Dietician Samant explains, "Those who are working from home along with increased responsibility of household chores complain that they have no time to exercise. At the same time, the food intake has drastically increased- it has gone up to 5-6 proper meals from just 3 meals a day. Moreover, the intake of packaged food has gone very high. Also, consumption of bakery foods increased during lockdown as people started baking and experimenting with cooking at home. These factors have deteriorated the health of a large number of individuals."

Also read: Exercise At Home: Follow These Workout Tips To Maximise Results

Tip to stay physically fit at home from Dietician Samant-

  • To stay healthy avoid packaged food and cut off processed food from your diet
  • Control your fat intake, eat simple, home-made meals and don't experiment with it
  • For physical activities, one can use online platforms. If not, while working, make sure to take a break after every one hour and move around whether it is within the room or the house. Avoid sitting in one place for a long time
  • Try to take out half an hour for some physical activities like dancing etc. These things can help in at least maintaining the weight if not losing it.
  • Make sure to have a good amount of water, at least 2-3 litres of water throughout the day with a good intake of fibre. It can be a commercially available supplement or it can be a fibrous food at home like cereals, fruits, and vegetables, etc.
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Take small breaks from work to give your body the required rest
Photo Credit: iStock

Case study

She tells, "While counselling, most of the patients during Covid-19 times, complained about an increase in weight. Lack of physical activity has put an impact on their weight and more than the weight it is the waist to the hip ratio, which is a very strong indicator of developing any metabolic disorder in the future. Many patients also complained about constipation too which is due to lack of physical activity and less water intake. On the other hand, a very few people, have taken this opportunity to improve their health and exercise."

(Dr. Aparna Ramakrishnan  is a Psychiatrist and Bhakti Samant is Chief Dietician at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital)

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.