Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, things may feel like they’re spiraling out of your control. Your normal routine has been thrown into disarray and the future is far from certain.
But there are many things you can do — apart from social distancing and washing your hands with soap — for protecting your health and wellbeing.
Eating as healthily as we can is beneficial not only for our physical health but our mental well-being, too. A healthy diet reduces our vulnerability to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, as well as mental issues like depression and anxiety.
There’s no need to follow a particular diet, instead just avoid processed foods as they tend to have high sugar content.
The best foods for our mental health are also healthy foods. Complex carbohydrates, like those found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, provide the right nourishment for our minds as they slowly release energy, also stabilizing our moods.
A balanced diet generally includes foods that are rich in vitamins A, B, C, D and E, as well as the minerals iron, zinc, and selenium.
B vitamins, that are often found in green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, beans, bananas, eggs, poultry, fish and beetroot, are beneficial for our brain and it's mood-enhancing chemicals, serotonin, and dopamine. Deficiency of B6, B12, and folate (B9) are common in cases of depression.
It's also very important to take care of the gut, which has a great impact on our mood and behavior. Prebiotics and probiotics, found in fermented food pickles and yogurt reduces inflammation and also boost our moods and cognitive function.
Getting a good sleep
Sleep is very important for our bodies. It needs sleep to repair cells, clear toxins, organize our memories and process information. Most evidence suggests that sleep deprivation can have major negative impacts on our health — affecting our mental wellbeing concentration and even our emotional intelligence.
It also increases the risk of developing chronic health problems, like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
We have our schedules for eating, working and exercising, in the same way, it's important to have a regular sleep routine. For most people, between six to nine hours a night is enough sleeping time. Having an early bedtime and waking up at a similar time each day maintains a sense of normality, and helps you follow through with plans.
If you find it difficult to get to sleep because you’re too worried and anxious, try to limit how much news you watch before bed. It can also be beneficial to reduce your exposure to screens in the evening, as the effect of the blue light can have negative effects on your retina which can disrupt your sleep quality.
Keeping fit through exercising
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that make us feel good, and it's also been connected to better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and better memory and cognition.
Team sports are obviously impossible, but you can certainly still exercise on your own. The best recommendation is to try moderate movement for 30 minutes per day.
You can break it up into 10-minute sections as in 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening. When you've made this your regular routine, then you’ll have a better structured day as well.
There are many fitness instructors that are running online classes during the outbreak, many of them for free. All the equipment you need is a mat or towel on the floor and a good internet connection.
There are many ways to stimulate the circulation of the body. You can walk up and down the stairs of your house or you could jog in place inside, or do some shadow boxing, or jumping jacks, or sit-ups, or push-ups.