Being cooped up can make you feel sluggish, bored, and even sad! But being confined indoors has been proven to be the safest measure during the coronavirus outbreak.
So as parts of Ghana go into a partial lockdown for two weeks, which starts on Monday morning, those of us affected must protect our health and wellbeing throughout the period. Here are some 5 tips for staying healthy at home during the lockdown with references from DW.
Without a vaccine, none of us can entirely eliminate our risk of contracting coronavirus. But eating as healthily as possible is important not only for our physical health, but our psychological well-being, too.
A healthy diet has been shown to reduce our risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, as well as depression and anxiety. The best foods for our mental health are generally the healthiest foods. Complex carbohydrates, found in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, provide important nourishment for our brains as they slowly release energy, which also stabilizes our moods.
A balanced diet ideally includes a variety of foods high in vitamins A, B, C, D and E, as well as the minerals iron, zinc and selenium.
You don’t have to follow a particular diet, just avoid processed foods as they tend to be high in sugar.
Sleep is essential for our bodies to repair cells, clear toxins, consolidate our memories and process information. There’s good evidence that sleep deprivation can have major impacts on our health — negatively affecting our psychological wellbeing concentration and even our emotional intelligence. It can also increase our risk of developing chronic health conditions, like diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
It is important to sustain a regular sleep routine. For most people, between six to nine hours a night is sufficient. Going to bed and waking up at a similar time each day can help maintain a sense of normality, and help you follow through with plans.
If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep because you’re lying awake worrying, try to limit your consumption of the news before bed. It can also be helpful to reduce your exposure to screens in the evening, as the effect of the blue light on our retinas can disrupt our sleep quality.
Exercise releases chemicals in the body that make us feel good, and it’s also been linked to better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and improved memory and cognition.
Team sports may be off the agenda, but you can certainly still exercise on your own, says Marcus Thormann, owner of a high-tech fitness studio in western Germany. He recommends moderate movement for 30 minutes per day, as backed by the WHO.
You can even break that up into 10-minute sections — 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening. When you’ve established that as a daily routine, then your day will be better structured as well.
This could include walking up and down the stairs in your home, or in your building, for example. Or, you could jog in place inside, or do some shadow boxing, or jumping jacks, or sit-ups, or push-ups.
Now more than ever, we need our friends. Evidence shows that social connectedness is as important for our health as diet, movement and sleep.
No, you can’t have a dinner party or a picnic in lockdown — in person! But not all social interactions have to be face-to-face to be meaningful. Try recreating them through video calls — you could organize a virtual dinner via apps like Zoom, Houseparty or good old Google Hangouts, or take a friend on a virtual walk or do a housebound activity together, like craft or drawing.
Think of it as being distantly social. Connect with friends on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, see how they are doing, share fun moments, and well your fears too!
While it might seem like the world is only talking about one topic right now, enforced social isolation could also provide the perfect opportunity for many people to take a break from the news cycle.
What do you usually not have time for? Gardening, cooking, pickling, puzzles, craft, sewing, learning to meditate, building furniture, reading that pile of books on your bedside?
Now could be the perfect time to do them all, or some, or half of a few — whatever you can manage.
Through it all, remember as the WHO has advised, to “draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you manage previous adversities.”