COVID 19 SILVER LINING – UNLOCKING THE POWER OF LIFESTYLE CHANGE

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The sufferings and losses that came with the pandemic are very real and unprecedented, but if you look at the positive side of it, no matter how hard it may seem to be, there is a silver lining

Words Luke Coutinho 
(Holistic Lifestyle Coach – Integrative Medicine)

The lockdown and the fact that life is so uncertain has definitely shifted our focus towards our personal health. Knowing that the low immunity, comorbid conditions like obesity, diabetes, kidney disease or a history of smoking, alcohol consumption are potent risk factors, the health crisis is definitely forcing people to take charge of their health before it gets too late to do so. 

Sometimes when things don’t look good at all, it always helps to step back and reflect on the good in the bad. There is always something good in bad, or yin in yang and that is called balance. So, in an attempt to look at things in a positive light, here’s the silver lining we are seeing in our day-to-day practice:

Eating home-cooked meals - People have come back to the basics and essentials of daily living. We have reached a stage where having the adequate basics we need for our daily meals – rice, grains, pulses, dals, legumes, fruits, and vegetables is more than enough at this point. And how are we managing with this? Pretty well!  In fact, most are losing weight, feeling lighter, becoming mindful about what they eat, getting particular about minimizing food wastage and loving this new normal. 

Outside meals have reduced drastically, and while this may not be good news for the catering business, it has improved human health at large. We are doing just fine with homecooked meals, that too cooked from scratch, which the majority of the time is a simple one-pot meal like dal-rice or khichadi, because of having to manage work and home. Aren’t we back to our roots in a way? 

We are making do with local and fresh vegetables and fruits and not running behind an imported avocado or berries, and are doing perfectly fine.

Basics of hygiene
Remember how your parents and grandparents were so particular about you bathing and freshening up before dinner once back home from work? The pandemic has again shifted our focus back to the importance of washing hands as there was a lot of wisdom behind that. We tend to carry a lot of germs and dirt throughout the day and not cleaning ourselves up before a meal will only create an unhygienic environment.

Also, keeping your living area a footwear free zone is vital. The easiest way to carry dirt, viruses, bacteria, and germs into our homes is via footwear. You could have a shoe rack placed outside your home and a spare pair of slippers to wear at home, but make sure you keep the muck outside. It not very difficult for harmful bacteria or germs to reach your intestine from the footwear you bring into your living space and create havoc. Imagine all the dirt we walk over with our shoes on – spit, garbage, poop, and whatnot.

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Adding traditional forms of exercise and yoga The pandemic has sort of forced people to keep their respiratory system top-notch because the virus is known to affect our respiratory passages and system first. The age-old tradition and vision of pranayama, asanas, cleansing processes, steaming, gargling have started getting the much-deserved attention as they are super powerful and now scientifically proven lifestyle changes to boost immunity, sense of well-being, improve sleep quality, bust stress and so much more. 

Even gyms and studios are shut, so people are going back to the age-old ways of body-weight workouts, pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, Hindu push-ups, squatting, jumping – which are way natural and a measure of true fitness. 

Prioritising immunity
This is on everyone’s priority list, if nothing else because if we do not do what it takes to maintain a strong immunity, we all know how it will increase the risk of contracting infections. Immunity is the first and last line of defence in the human body, and while a healthy and balanced lifestyle and boost its strength, a faulty lifestyle and ruin it too.  

Boosting immunity is a four-pronged approach where the equal emphasis needs to be given on balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, emotional health, and quality sleep. A lot of light in the past few months has been through on ancient immunity-boosting tips and remedies like kadhai, teas, concoctions. Chyawanprash, etc. Spices and herbs are being used on a regular basis to keep immunity in check. People are at least trying to improve their sleep habits, especially if they are aware of how it impacts immunity. 

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Power of Family
Socialising has taken a backseat and the power of family has come into play. Families are eating meals, working out, cleaning, sleeping, celebrating Sundays, lockdown birthdays and anniversaries and so much more together which is beautiful and powerful.  Love, empathy, connection born out of this family bonding not only is a key factor in strengthening relationships, but it also helps improve our immunity, reduce stress levels, boost serotonin and oxytocin levels, and in turn our emotional health.

Connecting within
We are praying, praying hard for the situation to get better, and suffering to reduce. We are praying for the well-being of our family and ourselves. Prayers are a powerful lifestyle tool that helps shift our energy and fear into faith and belief. 

Hobbies are being explored and embraced. Many people say that they are now bored staying indoors, however, boredom is not a bad thing surprisingly. It can help to tap into your creativity. This time of lockdown and social distancing, even though enforced upon us, is a great opportunity for self-exploration, unleashing one’s creative abilities, and for deeper family bonding.

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Self-isolation helps one to deeply connect with one’s intuitive mind. You can look deep within yourself and connect with every movement, every change, and every sensation that is happening internally when you sit in peace. It has made us mindful and observant of things that we often missed noticing. Blue skies, the distant chirp of a bird, rains, rainbows, and most importantly our breath! In fact, self-isolation should be regularly practised by everyone, every now and again, even without it being forced upon us. It is then we will be able to regain our balance, centre, and grounding.

Having said all of this, if you haven’t seen the bright spotlight that’s been put on the importance of good health, lifestyle changes, prevention and immunity by the pandemic, we encourage you to sit back and reflect on this. A lot of us can stay and dwell in fear and that can blind us from seeing even the slightest ray of positivity. Fear is a normal human emotion, but it is a wasted emotion. Use it to drive yourself into action and begin small steps towards a healthier lifestyle. It can be called nature’s wakeup call for all of us.