6 habits for a healthy life after Covid-19
We have become accustomed to hearing that the factors that harm a healthy heart are those of Western societies; however, if we eliminate risk behaviours, we would avoid 80% of cardiovascular diseases.
Creating healthy habits is always a challenge under normal circumstances.
In this exceptional situation, after Covid-19, we must make an extra effort to improve our nutrition, take care of our mood, and channel our fears. That is why we have listed 6 habits for a healthy life after Covid-19.
Bad habits take their toll on us
Nobody was prepared to live a pandemic, much less to have to adapt their life, work or social relationships to a new reality. Human resilience and adaptability are incredible, but some people may struggle more than others. Teleworking, fear of contagion or less social life can affect our physical and emotional health, so we must keep in mind that taking care of ourselves is a priority.
The Covid-19 pandemic has several dimensions. At first, it affected the physical health, then the economy and, lastly, mental health, in connection with a readjustment of every facet of our lives. The lock-down has made us more sedentary; it has isolated us socially; some have increased their food intake (not always healthy); and others have experienced it as a stressful situation or with a feeling of deep sadness. Lack of exercise, not having a healthy diet or stress are factors that put our well-being and health at risk.
Now we know that a new reality is necessary, and that we must learn to live with it in order, above all, to enjoy a good quality of life and emotional well-being. Otherwise, it will take a toll on us.
6 habits for a healthy life after Covid-19
1. Create a schedule that combines work, leisure and exercise
Establishing a schedule is essential to manage your time well. Many companies have opted for teleworking as a safe way to avoid contagion and keep their employees’ jobs. Working from home has its pros and cons, but the biggest drawback is that it may feel endless. Ideally, you should establish work slots that allow you to perform your job well (one or two hours in a row) and break the routine with some physical exercise (squats, climbing stairs, exercise bike or stretching) or to have a snack or drink water. Make a very clear distinction between lunchtime and work so that you can disconnect during your lunch hour and give yourself a break. Taking a few minutes a day to meditate, listen to music, go for a walk or sunbathe on the terrace is an interesting option for our emotional nourishment and stress management.
2. Be careful with your diet
During lock-down, anxiety can be the trigger for compulsively eating unhealthy foods. This type of behaviour calms us down or “fills a void” but it hurts us in the medium and long term. Do not forget to add healthy foods to your shopping list to avoid eating or snacking between meals: sweets, soft drinks or industrial pastries. A good strategy may be to add nutritious snacks such as nuts, yogurt, fruit or wholemeal bread, as well as preparing a weekly menu to ensure a proper diet with no room for improvisation.
3. Schedule your social life
Lock-down or restriction of movement causes our social life to suffer and, consequently, our emotional well-being. Technology makes it easier for us and it is highly recommended to call family and friends regularly to feel close to those we love. One trick is to have breakfast, make an aperitif, or cook on a video call.
4. Mental health is a priority
The new normal has shaken our plans, our projects and some of our beliefs, such as that we were never going to go through a pandemic. This state of uncertainty, social isolation or family and financial difficulties can be very hard emotionally, so it is good to be aware of our limits and ask for help. The first step is to identify our emotions or points of discomfort and generate spaces that allow us to self-regulate when emotions manifest themselves intensely and interfere with our well-being, work performance or family relationships. Relaxation techniques, yoga, meditation or mindfulness can help us a lot.
5. Take realistic security measures
More than enough is too much. We must be aware of the importance of protection measures, but we should avoid hyper-protective or hypochondriac states that could freeze us, make our lives difficult or be completely useless, such as wearing gloves without a specific reason.
6. In the face of uncertainty, live in the here and now
Anxiety about what will happen and the feeling of not having everything under control can affect us and cause us a lot of stress. Carpe diem is a good approach: making the most of and enjoying today while not being overly anxious about tomorrow. This does not mean not trying to plan or look for solutions but to consider the possibility that this new reality is changing, learn to be flexible and enjoy what is possible today.
Breakfast is usually the meal that we pay the least attention to, even though it may be the most important one. Smoothies can be a great option for those who don't have much time in the morning, as they assure us a healthy, quick and easy breakfast.