How to stay healthy during lockdown: The four pillars of health

While we practice social distancing and stay indoors, let us think about “How do we use this time to bring positive change in our lifestyle and remain healthy indoors”: the answer is simple, doing things differently to maintain the four pillars of health.

The four pillars are:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise or physical activity
  3. Sleep
  4. Stress management

This lockdown gives you and your family the time to sit together and ponder on things that we can certainly do indoors to bring a positive change in our lifestyle. This article aims to provide basic insights on a healthy lifestyle based on the 4 pillars of health. It also explains how to execute it while coronavirus keeps us indoors. Read on to find out more!

Nutrition 

The good news is that supermarkets are an essential service and have remained open despite the lockdown. And across the nation supermarkets have increased the efforts of cleaning, sanitising and initiated steps to maintain social distancing while people purchase their groceries.

You can start your nutrition journey by doing some basic online research and finding alternatives that you would enjoy. For example, not all of us like spinach or kale, so maybe you can choose to eat cabbage or silverbeet instead. The main focus should be to make sure your diet gives you the optimum nutrients required for maintaining a healthy body.

Next, you should concentrate on your sugar intake. There is hidden sugar content in processed food and often sweetened drinks have high fructose content that adds to the daily optimum intake of sugar. Since we are confined to our homes, daily physical activities have reduced and high sugar content meals could trigger weight gain, acne or even increase the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes.

Staying hydrated is necessary and focus on having a balanced meal by including protein, vegetables, and fruits for vitamins and healthy fats. It is also recommended to focus on superfoods to enhance your immunity. This lockdown has seen a sudden spike in alcohol consumption and sales have seen almost double-digit growth across all retailers in Australia. While it is unlikely to completely give up drinking, we suggest moderate consumption is still a healthier choice.

Exercise or physical activities 

Physical activity helps to break the monotony of lockdown life and helps to keep your body and mind active. There are many ways you can add some activities to your daily routine, it could be jogging in the park, a workout session indoors, running or even practicing a new hobby at home.

The main idea of getting some exercise is to remain healthy and keep your stress levels as low as possible during the lockdown. Many parks and public gardens still allow us to access them provided we stick to the social distancing rules. You could also choose to perform moderate-intensity to high-intensity workouts according to your ability. A 30 mins HIIT workout session would give you the required cardiovascular exercise as well as would help strengthen your muscles and bones – but be warned that HIIT sessions are VERY intense and should not be attempted if you are unfit or have any health conditions.

These activities don’t need any equipment or gym and the internet is inundated with online materials on workouts, exercises, yoga and even expert tips on how to improve your running form.

Sleep 

To begin with, a little research on age-specific sleep duration should be able to give you an idea of your daily sleep requirement. An adult needs at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night and one who fails to do so on a regular basis is at a higher risk of suffering from health issues. If you’re sleep-deprived, it affects both your physical and mental well-being, which may lead to greater risks of health disorder, loss of productivity or even feeling depressed. A report on sleeping patterns says that over two-thirds of Australian adults suffer from some kind of sleep disorder that makes them feel more stressed and difficult to concentrate on their daily activities.

This lockdown gives you the time to do a sleep analysis. In simple terms, it means keeping a track of your sleep quantity and quality. Many track applications, as well as gadgets like Fitbit or Jawbone, are available in the market to perform these tests.

There are lots of ways to improve your sleeping habits. Below are some ideas to relax your mind and help you sleep better.

  • Avoiding staying up too late and breaking your normal routine
  • Avoid screen time late at night (watching movies or using social media)
  • We know it’s a stressful time, but try to relax (easier said than done we know)
  • Meditate
  • Eat a light dinner, early in the evening
  • Practie yoga regularly
  • Read a book before bedtime

Stress Management 

Being isolated at your home can be challenging especially when you are indoors all by yourself. People are confined to their homes and the virus has stopped  living our normal lives. Such a massive change in the way we live our life can cause anxiety to even the most positive among us.

Managing your stress while isolated is thereby indispensable for your well-being. Stresses are induced due to a variety of reasons and the best way to alleviate stress from yourself is to concentrate on your body and mind. Good food and mindfulness can give you results. It is also important to regularly talk with your family and friends. Talking out helps a lot when GPs are now available for telehealth services to provide you with the necessary support.

Another way to keep yourself away from stress is indulging in some group activities with your family, like gardening or baking. You can watch movies online and practice meditation too.

As we move forward with this lockdown, the main focus should be on building these 4 Pillars of health. It is essential to keep the focus on yourself and try to adapt these practices in your daily activities.