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The COVID-19 outbreak has magnified all kinds of fears. Erasing stress and anxiety regarding coronavirus isn’t an option for many today as recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Experts say that only through drastic containment steps, can the spread of the virus can be stopped globally.
While the entire world is trying its best to fight against it, if you are stressing about this invisible virus and its effects as well, it’s completely legitimate, however, there has to be a clear line between precaution and obsession.
For humans, a mere suggestion of danger, even if it is never experienced, triggers the Amygdala (a part of the brain responsible for emotions) to release stress hormones. But stressing about it will not fetch you any good, rather it will only hamper your immune system, which is a vital soldier you need by your side to fight this coronavirus.
In a pandemic like this, don’t wait to see whether you are healthy enough to overcome any type of sickness or disease. Prepare yourself and take all possible measures to strengthen your immunity system.
Scientists all over the world are working on medicines, vaccinations, and antivirals to overcome this pandemic. You do your part by taking a holistic approach to boost your immunity with a healthy lifestyle for both physical and mental health.
Here are a few things you can do to not succumb to fear and be prepared for what the future might hold. The following tips are not about fighting the virus but to reduce your stress in these exceptionally trying times.
Prioritize restful sleep
Sleep is important for health in general but a restful sleep helps you feel calm, stress-free and boosts the immune system. Various experts opine that those who with a proper sleep cycle significantly reduce their contraction of diseases due to a boosted immunity. For overall health maintenance, maintain proper sleep hygiene.
During this lockdown and quarantine, when you are isolated at home, means you have more time to spend with your gadgets like TVs, tablets, and phones. Artificial blue light which emits from these devices stimulates you physiologically and psychologically which affects your sleep adversely.
This is probably the best time to indulge in some non-tech related activities. Play puzzles, crosswords, or read a book. No, don’t think about an e-book. Go grab an old-fashioned, printed book and read it under lamplight.
Alcohol Consumption and Smoking
Smokers are always at a high risk of catching this infectious Coronavirus and this reason alone is sufficient to stop smoking. During a media briefing on COVID-19, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, "Limit your alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks. Do not smoke as smoking damages your lungs and can increase your risk of developing severe complications if you become infected with Covid-19."
People tend to turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism in times of stress. People with heavy alcohol consumption history are susceptible to infections.
In the present scenario, where COVID-19 is a deadly disease, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a major lung complication which is responsible for COVID-19 related deaths and chronic alcohol consumption can lead to ARDS.
Well, the trick is you need to know where to draw the line while consuming alcohol. Start searching for other alternatives for your coping mechanism like mindfulness exercise, yoga, and meditation etc.
Diet is an integral part of a healthy immune system and a healthy body. Let's remind you again, the foods and diet mentioned here are not to fight the Coronavirus but to boost your immunity.
Get plenty of fruits, vegetables and seeds. You might need more:
- Vitamin-C: It helps to prevent the common cold.
- Vitamin-D: It seems to have a mild protective effect against respiratory tract infections. Try to get some sunlight whenever you can as your body can make vitamin-d on its own.
- Zinc: It develops immunity against cold, flu, and other viruses.
- Turmeric: This bright-yellow spice enhance immune function in the body.
- Echinacea: It aids in preventing the common cold.
- Garlic: This is a widely used condiment all over the world. It is believed to have antibacterial and antiviral effects.
Get rid of sugared items. Sugar is a food source for bad bacteria in your gut which in turns kills the good ones which cause autoimmune problems and digestive issues. For now, remove sugar from your diet completely. Eat a nutritious diet that minimizes high blood sugar.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also advised 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, and one hour a day for children. Stay active and do the right amount of exercise which you enjoy.
This is not the time to start hitting the gym or high-intensity exercise routine. Do it from your home rooftops or garden. Shared gym equipment might transmit the virus. Try to find an exercise video online, practice yoga, dance to music, or walk up and down the stairs. This might do the trick.
Limit Media Intake
There's a thin line between gathering information which helps you guide your decisions and reading or watching too much information that can make you anxious. Try not to read or watch too much news if it stresses you out. Read news, watch videos to gather knowledge from reliable sources once or twice a day. Anxiousness is the last thing you need right now.
Support the Community
Supporting other people in the community can help you as much as it does them. Check-in on family, friends, and neighbours. You are advised not to shake hands or hug others to break the human chain of virus transmission. Turn it into a phone call or a verbal expression of concern and warmth. Compassion can be a medicine in this distress.
Fortunately, COVID-19 is not likely to contaminate water or disrupt power supplies. So unlike most emergency prep kits, you don’t need to worry about drinking water or water purifications supplies. But do stock up groceries, medicines, sanitizers in case of emergencies.
Hope these tips will keep you healthy and sane in such times of stress. Stay calm, stay safe and stay healthy!