Covid nightmare continues...
Just when we thought we were getting back to “normal”, the second wave has hit our plans and resolutions for the year. Most aspects of our life are now all shook up and the past few weeks have been absolutely devastating. But life has to move on with new lessons that are being learnt. Once again, we need to realise that our priority needs to be health, walking toe-to-toe with our other concerns — education, career, relationships and family.
The pandemic has made us stronger, in one way or the other. When we talk about health, there is so much information out there. I believe that to maintain good health, one may not have to follow fads, take fancy supplements or be overanxious. The past one year has been presenting all these lessons before us again and again, teaching us that our lifestyle is important and integral in improving immunity. Fatalities continue to be higher among those with comorbidities, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, COPD and so on. There are various underlying factors that make us vulnerable.
As we all know, attaining good health and immunity doesn’t result from a single magic pill or short-term efforts. Our immune system depends on multiple factors. The lockdown, I feel, was a good time to reset our system, have a schedule, make time for sleep, exercise, food and do things that make us calm.
Talking from an Ayurvedic standpoint, which is the science of life, constant discipline in our day-to-day living is important. Traditional wisdom tells us the importance of circadian rhythms, seasonal cycles, maintaining hygiene, staying calm and being in a state of mental rest. It’struly important to keep a check on what we feed our system.
The first and strongest pillar to good health is food. As we all are back to a lockdown-type life, eating home-cooked meals on a fixed schedule is the best thing to do. Cutting off all the extra-refined food products is definitely the need of the hour, for it cuts down on inflammation levels. A strict no-no during such times is to overindulge in sweets, refined flour and alcohol.
There has been an extreme surge in Covid cases and, at the same time, we have many people who have just recovered from Covid-19 and then those who are still fighting it out. It’s important to take care of their nutritional requirements. A balanced diet is what we should aim for. One should eat simple meals, dishes that are wholesome and easy to digest. Patients recovering from Covid should add seasonal fruits and vegetables to their diet. With a lot of medications, it’s advisable to have small but frequent meals and to stay hydrated. Popping a multivitamin tablet is not a solution to nutritional demands. A few simple go-to meals can be khichri, soups, pulses and simple seasonal boiled vegetables.
Another important aspect that restores cellular immunity is sound sleep; it determines one’s overall health. Good quality sleep is very important for our mental, physical health and also our immune system. Sleep is that time of the day when our body repairs, restores and regenerates. As per Ayurveda, good sleep is able to tackle more than 50 per cent of our health issues. Try and set up a sleep schedule — sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Try and keep all your gadgets away while you sleep. If you have just recovered from Covid or been under isolation, a good night’s sleep is very important to achieve total recovery. Lack of it will delay the recovery phase, leading to prolonged fatigue and weakness. The second wave has been overwhelming for each one of us; simple breathing techniques can be practised just in case one is unable to fall asleep at night. Disconnect from social media and news around you before hitting the bed.
As soon as the second wave appeared, our mobility decreased, which should control the spread of the virus. However, not moving around at all and lack of exercise and proper fitness regimen do hit our system. It not only affects our physical strength but also how we feel. Make sure you find time to practise yoga, pranayama and some functional body-weight training at home. For a healthy body, exercising regularly is very important as it strengthens the immune system, helping us fight negative thoughts and arresting a lot of chronic metabolic disorders.
For people who are just recovering or have recovered from Covid, do not rush. Begin slowly. Before starting any kind of exercise, consult your physician. The virus affects the entire body; give it enough time to heal and rest. Rushing into any kind of exertion can be fatal. But for all those who have been anxious all this while, do consider at least 150 minutes a week of exercising as it is one of the best anti-depressants.
The suggestions above may sound simple but these are things that we often overlook and take for granted. The fight continues and we all have to do our bit to take care of ourselves first and then only we can help those around us. Let us all follow regulations, stay away from negativity, show gratitude and this too shall pass. But the learnings have to stay — prevention is better than cure. Let’s make better health choices for a better future. Till then, mask up and we all shall overcome this very soon.
Shikha Prakash is an Ayurvedic consultant at Padaav Speciality Ayurvedic Treatment Centre, Dehradun, and a visiting consultant at AMRI Hospital, Dhakuria. Look her up on Instagram @vaidyashikhaprakash