- 20 May 2021
In these adverse COVID-struck times, when people have been struggling to stay safe from all the chaos, maintaining a healthy lifestyle has become a new challenge. While there isn’t much cure available as of now, looking after yourself and monitoring your lifestyle is the first defence of prevention against the disease.
Image credits: naturelandorganics
At present, the whole concept of lifestyle has gone haywire. A healthy lifestyle is the balance of the following two things:
● Staying physically fit
● Staying emotionally fit.
A lifestyle where one figures out how to strike a perfect balance between both of them by adapting preferable measures to do the same and discarding measures which hamper the balance even in its least is a healthy one. Maintaining one such lifestyle can be similar to sailing. Where the oars you use determine your boat’s destiny through the COVID storm.
Below mentioned are 7 oars to help you row your boat smoothly:
1. Avoid packed and processed food
Ditch the chips, wafers, chocolates and especially those instant noodles you’re so dear to. These foods are rich in unhealthy carbs, that is, they have no nutritional value and play a critical role in your physical and mental health. It has been proven that junk food results in obesity and cardiovascular problems among several other chronic diseases, all thanks to the processed sugar and excess fat they contain. Hence, the momentary taste you crave does not benefit your immune system even in the least way possible. Accept the fact and ditch them as soon as possible.
2. Start eating fruits and veggies
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Start eating those apples you’ve made a habit of ignoring. Instead of the mouth-watering junk, develop a habit of munching on fruits and veggies. It might seem like a herculean task in the beginning, but small attempts like making a fruit salad or having boiled vegetables mixed with spices to enhance the taste will help you get through the difficult phase.
Fruits and veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals which boost up your immunity, and immunity is one major thing everyone needs today. Moreover, they are loaded with dietary fibres which help in the maintenance of the digestive system, and their antioxidant properties help in reducing stress. Though they are good to eat any time of the year, some are 100% beneficial only when taken in their respective seasons. For instance, oranges are available in winter season while watermelons and mangoes in the summer season, whereas bananas and apples are available throughout the year.
Maya Feller, a dietician based in New York suggests that one should eat 2-3 servings of fruit per day and consume a minimum of 2 servings of non-starchy vegetables at both lunch and dinner, which is a balanced diet. Now, a lot of effort is put in maintaining a balanced healthy diet, but the effort can be reduced with the following tips to be kept in mind while eating:
i. Eat in moderation
Do not rush with the task by eating large quantities of food. Always keep some space empty to allow the digestive system to work properly. Stuffing yourself with plenty of food will hamper the process of digestion and will weaken the organs over time.
ii. Eat slowly
While eating, take small portions of your food at a time and do not swallow. Chinese people set a fine example of this by using chopsticks. Since the usage of chopsticks limits, the amount of food one takes, it helps them control their portions as they eat. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
iii. Do not count calories
When it comes to food, quality is always better than quantity. According to new studies by researchers, counting calories does not necessarily indicate a healthy diet. A healthy diet comprises of whole and minimally processed food regardless of the calorie count.
iv. Do not skip meals
This part of the maintenance is as important as any of the previous ones. It may seem a little practical at times to skip meals but it has been proven that skipping meals not only lowers the blood sugar which affects the functioning of various organs over time but also affects one’s mood and concentration level.
3. Increase your water intake
You know this and even the dehydrated pimple on your right cheek knows that you need to have more water. Having plenty of water not only helps your skin flourish but it also flushes out the toxins from your body. Studies have shown that staying hydrated helps in dealing with fatigue, anxiety and staying concentrated. So set up multiple alarms on your phone right away and drink a glass of water every hour or so.
4. Exercise well
You are not going to get fit overnight by lying in your cozy bed. Fitness requires dedication and commitment and wouldn’t come to you unless you leave your seat. The most basic exercise of all is stretching, which enhances blood circulation, flexibility and muscular functioning, thus maintaining fitness.
Surya Namaskar an exercise practised in Yoga is a wholesome package for fitness. It comprises of 12 Asanas (postures) which stretch and strengthen every muscle of the body. Furthermore, it improves immunity and metabolism, relaxes the mind and improves overall health.
Step 1: Pranam Asana
Stand towards the edge of your mat. Keep your knees and feet together, and balance your weight equally on both the feet. Keep your back and neck straight. Take a deep breath, expand your chest and relax your shoulders. As you inhale, gradually lift both arms and bring your palms in front of your chest in prayer position.
Step 2: Hastauttan Asana
Take a deep breath and lift both your arms. Bend slightly backwards while keeping your biceps close to the ears. Push the pelvis a little forward. Stretch your whole body from heels and right up to your fingertips. Try to reach up with your fingers as much as possible.
Step 3: Hastapad Asana
As you exhale, bend forward from your waist and keep your spine straight. Make an effort to touch the floor with your hands while keeping your knees straight. You might struggle with it initially but you’ll get it right over time.
Step 4: Ashwa Sanchalan Asana
Keep your hands fixed to the floor. As you breathe in, bring your right knee forward in front of your chest, in between both your arms. Stretch your left leg backwards and look upwards. Try to push your hips downwards a little bit.
Step 5: Dand Asana
As you inhale, take your left leg back, close to your right leg. Place both your arms perpendicular to the floor. Bring your whole body in a straight line. Hold your breath.
Step 6: Ashtanga Namaskar
Keep your hands and feet fixed to the floor. As you exhale, slowly bring your knees to the floor. Bend your elbows and touch your forehead and chest to the floor. Raise your hips a little. The eight body parts, two feet, two knees, two hands, chest and forehead, should touch the floor.
Step 7: Bhujang Asana
Keep your palms fixed to the floor. As you inhale, straighten your elbows a little and raise your upper body. Stretch out your chest. Bend your neck upwards and look upwards. Keep your feet and legs to the floor.
Step 8: Adho Mukha Svan Asana
Keep your hands fixed to the floor. As you exhale, lift your hips and stretch them out such that your body makes an inverted V-shape. Keep your head in between both the arms. Make sure that your knees are straight and make an effort to touch your heels to the ground. Push your stomach inside and look towards your navel.
Step 9: Ashwa Sanchalan Asana
Keep your hands fixed to the floor. As you breathe in, bring your left knee forward in front of your chest, in between both your arms. Stretch your right leg backwards and look upwards. Try to push your hips downwards a little bit. It is similar to step 4 but with opposite legs.
Step 10: Hastapad Asana
As you exhale, bring your right leg forward. Make an effort to touch the floor with your hands without bending your knees. It is same as in step 3.
Step 11: Hastauttan Asana
As you inhale, gradually lift your upper body. Slightly bend backwards with joined palms and stretch your arms over your head as much as you can. Keep your biceps close to your ear. It is same as in step 2.
Step 12: Pranam Asana
As you exhale, straighten your body and gradually lower your arms. Bring your palms in front of your chest in prayer position. It is same as in step 1. This completes one set of Surya Namaskar.
The best time to perform Surya Namaskar is early morning with an empty stomach. Once you get a good hold of all the asanas, practice 12 sets of it daily, which will take approximately 24 minutes since one set takes almost 2 minutes.
5. Kindle yourself
Self-care plays a significant role in the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Take a short break from work or the series you are binge-watching right now and use that time to nurture and pamper yourself. This may seem a little off-topic as prioritizing me-time is still not considered of any significant value among other significant things like professional work and internet; the very great internet which seems to be ruling the entire three worlds as of now.
According to surveys, it has been found that most youngsters these days fall prey to hypertension and stress due to the work pressure, and out of which, many people resolve to the internet and social media to find solace. The fact that people tend to search for brief moments of happiness in a virtual world, is upsetting.
In scenarios like these, when the peace of mind seems to be non-existing, it is then that one should adopt self-care as a part of their routine and existence, and understand that caring for oneself is not selfish in even the very leastways possible, instead, it is the key to peace of mind. Here are a couple of basic things one could start with:
i.Restart your long-forgotten hobbies. There must be a lot of things you wished to or loved to do but hadn’t been able to do due to lack of time. It could be reading those novels you stocked up years ago or even painting a portrait. It can be anything. Start pursuing those activities in your short breaks from the horse-race. You’ll feel exceedingly blissful.
ii.Make it a task to do at least 2 activities which make you feel good, daily. Along with it, you also have to maintain a Thought Journal where you’ll write about all those favourite things you did in a day and how they made you feel. The activities need not be major, they can be as basic as making a special Masala Chai (Flavoured Tea) for yourself or as random as cutting out sports articles from the newspaper.
These are just the basics of self-care. Once you adapt to it, you’ll eventually feel the light-heartedness and relaxation it brings with it.
6. Do not procrastinate
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Read that twice. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. Not taking up the responsibility of you and your surroundings, and using laziness as an excuse is neither cool and nor is taking anyone anywhere. There is a very fine line between being a crazy workaholic and procrastinating, that line is called “balance of life”. That line is where you need to be. Falling off on either side is unhealthy.
To avoid falling off, you need to be aware of how much importance and relevance every single thing holds in your life, and prioritize it accordingly. An easy method to do this is by writing down all the things which you need to take care of at the moment and then breaking it down step by step until you have a well-designed chart in front of you to go by.
7. SLEEP WELL
The seventh oar of our boat is what we all love to do: sleeping. Without this, each of the previous oars is as useful as a boat without a sail. An ill-maintained sleep cycle is not going to uplift your wellbeing, instead, it would have a severe effect on your mood, making it hard to concentrate or focus, and with time, it starts taking a toll on one’s physical and mental health and eventually disrupts the whole point of having a healthy lifestyle. Thus, it is necessary to have a fixed sleeping schedule that is, having fixed hours for sleeping and waking up. A normal healthy adult requires at least 7 hours of sleep to ensure a healthy working of the body.
These are the 7 oars for a healthy lifestyle. Once you begin to inculcate them into your life, you’ll be able to glide through not just COVID, but every storm that comes your way. End of the day, all you need to do is row your boat till you reach the shore.