It is a difficult job for anyone to maintain sanity in a world that is oversupplied with negative news about the wrath of a global pandemic. Apart from threatening mental health, both the short and long term repercussions of national lockdowns on physical health can be severe. This article explores how one can be in a state of complete physical and mental `well-being in the face of a global pandemic.
One of the most important things in keeping healthy in a pandemic is limiting one’s exposure to the risk of contracting the disease. This entails making sure that one follows the minimum guidelines so that they reduce their chances of contracting the disease. Minimum guidelines vary depending on the nature of the disease.
In the case of the current Coronavirus pandemic, this include limiting movements and public gatherings. It also involves washing hands constantly with soap, avoiding to touch one’s face as well as wearing face masks in public places.
Apart from reducing exposure to risk, it is also important for one to consider the role of nutrition. Diet has a bearing on one’s immune system and as such determines susceptibility to contracting the disease. To boost immunity, one needs access to Vitamin rich fruits and vegetables. It is also important to reduce foods which suppress the immune system such as foods rich in artificial sugars.
Exercise is another important aspect critical in ensuring health in a pandemic. It is useful in maintaining a healthy weight as well as in strengthening the immune system. Useful home exercises include push-ups, sit ups and squats. More accessible but very effective is brisk walking as a form of exercise during a lockdown, this can be done every day subject to lockdown regulations.
It is also of importance that people keep themselves well hydrated. Sufficient water should be drunk as this optimize metabolic systems within the body by preventing the building up of toxins that can compromise the immune system. It is thus essential that one drinks approximately two litres of water per day as recommended by most health authorities.
Getting some sun outside can also be a simple but practical step in keeping healthy during a pandemic. Sun bathing for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning when the heat from the sun is relatively low has been known to improve the body’s immune system. Apart from that, it also facilitates the production of Vitamin D which is important for maintaining healthy bones.
Too much of anything can be harmful to health. There is thus a need for moderation in food, sleep and screen time to keep healthy. Too much time spent on negative news can have detrimental effects on mental health whilst overeating can have negative repercussions on physical health. Moderation is thus essential.
The importance of accessing sufficient and clean air to keep healthy in a pandemic cannot be overstated. During these times, it is possible for one to lack access to adequate fresh air by staying indoors. Opening windows to expel foul air from indoors and allowing fresh air to come in ensures better access to fresher air.
It is surprising how people can fail to get adequate sleep even under a global pandemic induced lockdown. Getting enough rest is also key to keeping healthy. Adequate sleep must be ensured according to varying requirements with age being an important factor. Getting inadequate sleep compromises the immune system and increases susceptibility to diseases.
Continuing with life when previous freedoms have been withdrawn is no easy task. Maintaining good relationships is also essential in keeping one happy and healthy in a pandemic. Supporting each other by sharing various experiences during these difficult times can be useful in relieving stress and preserving both physical and mental health.
Finally, it is critical that people have faith. Fear, anxiety and uncertainty can be overwhelming which can result in depression, panic attacks and high blood pressure. The absence of faith also create stress which again weakens the immune system. There is need for faith to keep sanity in insane conditions. Practically this might mean limiting access negative media.
In conclusion, to reflect on the question of how to keep healthy in a pandemic, this article provides cross cutting principles of health, which if observed can be essential in ensuring both short and long term benefits. These principles evolve around observing measures that specifically limit exposure to pandemic, nutrition, exercise, hydration, sunshine, temperance, air, rest, relationships and faith.