Taking care of your health has always been important but in the current climate with COVID-19 closer attention should be taken. Although we are not under any lockdowns or restrictions anymore COVID is still very much alive and can still affect us greatly physically. The pandemic would have also caused a lot of people to be affected mentally as well as physically long term.
Regular exercise is crucial for keeping your cardiovascular system in the right condition. At the epicentre of the cardiovascular system is the heart which as we know is responsible for pumping blood around the body. Regular exercise keeps the heart in good condition which is important because the healthier the heart is the better it functions. Regular exercise has also been proven to decrease stress levels so exercise is as important mentally as it is physically!
You do not need to go to the gym or have a flashy weight room at your house in order to exercise. Exercise can be done anywhere for free! And if you do not have all the time in the world even just consistently doing 15 minutes of exercise is fine. Doing something is always better than doing nothing! Here are some examples of quick and accessible exercises you can do from home:
- Going for a walk/run – If you have scenic routes use one to keep your mind occupied
- Skipping – Skipping is a fantastic cardio exercise and can burn up to 20 calories a minute!
- Squats- squats can be done anywhere as you do not need a lot of space. There are also different variations such as holding your squats or using weights if you find squats too easy
- Home workout videos- There are workout videos all over the internet on so many different platforms due to the increase of content creators online. you are bound to find an instructor online that is perfect for you
Get some sleep
Without an adequate amount of sleep, you just simply will not be able to function correctly. Lack of sleep affects the body more than you may think. Sleep is the way the body naturally rests and recovers itself for the next day therefore if you are not sleeping enough your body and mind do not get the rest it needs. This can negatively impact your mood and make you more susceptible to mental depression and anxiety. Physically, if your body is not resting it can lead to obesity and worst-case scenario some diseases.
If you are struggling to get sleep, try to gradually build back up a healthy sleeping pattern by adding an hour or two of sleep. Prioritizing your own health is important no matter what you have going on in life and although you may feel as though right now you absolutely cannot pause whatever you may be doing whether its work or training etc, its imperative that you give yourself a break to get your sleeping pattern in check. You will perform better in whatever you are doing with a well-rested mind.
If naturally, you find yourself struggling to catch up on sleep speak to your GP to figure out what the next steps are after that
Fuel your body correctly
As we all know it is important to make sure that we are fueling our bodies with the right foods. As a result of the pandemic, many people have found themselves to be excessively buying more takeaway than before. Not fueling your body with the right foods can affect you both physically and mentally. While it may be the case that someone eats a lot of fast food but exercises a lot to burn all those so they are not putting on any weight, it can still cause serious issues on the inside. Someone may not be eating enough in general which could lead to fatigue, bad moods, and worst-case scenarios if its long-term serious complications such as osteoporosis, bone fractures, infertility, developmental problems, a weakened immune system, malnutrition and so on.
Try to stick as closely to a balanced diet as possible by including some of everything into your diet so you can make sure you get a variety of vitamins minerals etc. For a more in-depth explanation on how to obtain this please visit the NHS Eatwell guide and have a read. If you are struggling to find time to eat three meals a day, try to organise your day so you find enough time to. If it is a little more complicated than just finding more time to eat and you feel as though mentally you do not want to eat, please speak to a family member or your GP so they can find you the help you need. This is also the same for people who feel as though they may be addicted to junk food or eating excessively to cope. You are not alone do not forget that.
Still be mindful of covid
As we know the world was put to a standstill back in 2020 when the COVID-19 virus very quickly took over. Since then, we have been put under lockdowns and restrictions and had to adapt to living a life we were not necessarily used to so we could protect ourselves, families, and vulnerable people from the virus. Unfortunately, due to the virus, many people had their lives affected mentally and physically some obviously a lot more than others. A lot of loved ones were lost due to COVID and many people changed physically some reporting that since contracting the virus their ability to taste and smell was worse compared to before they got the virus.
However, the world finally feels like life is starting to restore normality again because on the 24th of February the UK government announced that all COVID restrictions in the UK were to be lifted and we will start looking at how we can live with COVID. This was great news for the UK of course however it is very important that we remember that just because there are no longer COVID restrictions, it doesn’t mean that we are safe from COVID. It is imperative that we bare in mind that while we have freedom again the virus is still out there and we must be able to protect ourselves.From the 23rd of march to the date this article was written (06/04/2022), there were 835,895 covid cases in the UK with 41,403 new cases reported.
COVID-19 is spread through close contact with people who have the virus. Sometimes people may contract the virus and not realise that they have COVID because they can have it but not show any symptoms. If someone is not showing any symptoms but has COVID they can still spread it. When someone with the virus breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release small droplets containing the virus. You catch COVID-19 if you breathe in the contaminated droplets or touch surfaces covered with COVID contaminated droplets.
Symptoms of COVID
Symptoms of covid include:
- a high temperature or shivering – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch your chest or back
- coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- feeling tired or exhausted
- an aching body
- a headache
- a sore throat
- a blocked or runny nose
- loss of appetite
- feeling sick or being sick
if you feel as though you have these symptoms please stay home and take a PCR test. If the result is positive stay home and isolate for 5 days but avoid anyone in risks groups for 10 days. Only return to regular activities when you feel well enough to do so.
Protect yourself and others from COVID
You can help to stop COVID spreading and protect yourself and others by following these steps:
- Wear a suitable face mask
- exercise outside as much as possible
- cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing
- if possible avoid people who are in “at risk” groups as they can get much more sicker than the average person if they contract the COVID 19 virus.
- Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for 20 secs minimum as frequently as possible or use sanitizer
- Get vaccinated
Be Kinder to yourself and your mental health
After the very difficult 2 years the world went through with COVID it is very easy to feel negative about the world including yourself. I would like to reiterate to everybody reading this article right now that times will get better. It may take time, maybe longer than you want, to start seeing positive changes in your mood and mental state but the change WILL come. Your mental health is Just as if not more important than your physical health. Without mental stability, everyday tasks can become very difficult to do and motivation to better yourself can become redundant. In these moments you may not feel as though how you feel is important but it is the most important conversation and it is never too late to open up about your mental health. Although it is easier said than done please try to not be frustrated with the way your mind operates and know that there are many services out there professionally trained to help you get your mental health back on track. A lot of mental health issues stem from us as humans putting a lot of pressure on ourselves then when we don’t meet our goals in a certain amount of time we feel as though we’ve underachieved. It is important to learn than you cant put a time frame on success. If you are struggling with mental health please reach out to someone close to you that you trust. If you do not feel comfortable doing this then try reaching out to services such as Samaritans or Mind Uk which are great organisations that will help you.