The current pandemic has brought extreme uncertainty in all our lives. There has been a great change in lifestyles and work cultures as we are constantly reminded to stay home and avoid social interactions to protect ourselves from this deadly virus. Evidence has shown that self-care can play a critical role in protecting your own health.
Why is self-care so important for women in this pandemic?
As the pandemic has specifically been harsh on women’s mental health due to various factors, it is important to recognize self-care as a crucial tool in maintaining your physical and mental health.
Women often feel that they have reached a breaking point by constantly trying to balance their professional work and household work. In this process they fail to realise that they are not giving enough time for themselves. Self-care plays a major role in all areas of life. It can be in any form such as eating a nutritious diet, keeping a check on your body, maintaining a peaceful mind or even doing things you like the most!
Let us look at a few self-care measures that women can take during this covid-19 pandemic:
Focus on what you’re eating
It is necessary to have a check on what you are a eating on a daily basis in order to maintain a healthy body.
Immunity is an important factor to stay healthy and provide your body with enough strength to fight infections, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
You may take some time out during your weekends and plan your meals a week ahead. Ensure that you include natural immunity boosting foods in your diet. Irrespective of the kind of diet you’re following, make it a point to add these foods in any form you like.
Foods such as legumes, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds contain good amounts of zinc which are essential to improve immunity. Citrus fruits and natural spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, black pepper etc are also excellent immunity boosters that you may add to dishes of your choice!
Make time for physical activity
During this pandemic you may often fail to find enough time for physical exercise, especially when you’re trying to balance your professional work and your household chores. Physical activity gives you stress relief and also strengthens your body with increased immunity. You may schedule small but frequent breaks of 15-20 min for simple physical activities.
You can include simple forms of physical activity such as gardening, dog-walking, breathing exercises, household chores etc. As these simple daily activities are unavoidable, they can serve as a beneficial form of physical exercise, providing balanced movements in your body.
Calm your mind
Stress and anxiety are major health concerns for women during this pandemic. It is important to take some time out to indulge in activities which bring you peace. Outdoor activities such as walking in your garden, cycling, playing outdoor games etc help you reconnect with nature and give you a refreshed feeling to relieve your stress.
You may take a break from the distressing news all over social media and television, spend more time with your family kids, listen to relaxing music, meditate, do some breathing exercises or any activity that interests you, apart from your daily routine.
Seek help when in need
Stay aware of your inner feelings and mental health. As you focus on your work, your physical health and your diet, it is extremely important to keep a check on your mental health as well.
These may include constant feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness etc. If you experience any of these feelings, identify the causative factors, try to find ways to overcome them, divert your mind, find things that make you laugh, watch something funny/inspiring, stay with a positive mind, talk to a friend/family member, share your thoughts, seek advice and most importantly do not ignore any of these feelings.
At any point if you feel like it is unmanageable, talk to your healthcare provider and understand that it is normal to get help in these situations.
Keeping the above factors in mind, it is absolutely necessary to take some time out for yourself, your inner peace and your health. After all, you are responsible for identifying your body’s needs and fulfilling them!
- World Health Organisation. Self-care during covid-19; WHO-news https://www.who.int/news-room/photo-story/photo-story-detail/self-care-during-covid-19
- World Health Organisation. #HealthyAtHome: Healthy Diet; WHO; Connecting the world to combat coronavirus https://www.who.int/campaigns/connecting-the-world-to-combat-coronavirus/healthyathome/healthyathome---healthy-diet
- Ranasinghe C, Ozemek C, Arena R. Exercise and well-being during COVID 19-time to boost your immunity. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. (2020) ;18(12):1195-1200. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32662717/
- Aman F, Masood S. How Nutrition can help to fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. Pak J Med Sci. (2020) ;36(COVID19-S4). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7306972/
- Woods A, Noah T, Scott K et al. The COVID-19 pandemic and physical activity; Elsevier public health emergency collection; Sports Med and Health Science (2020); 2(2): 55-64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7261095/