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The year 2021 was full of uncertainty and distress. While the entire nation reeled under the pressure of the second Covid-19 wave, every person was challenged to build resilience on the personal front. The pandemic, in many ways, taught some valuable lessons for life – some of them include the value of good health of mind and body as well as being compassionate towards others. As we move into the new year, it is time to focus on positive changes.
Practicing gratitude is one of the quickest and most effective ways to increase happiness, manage depression and cultivate resilience. Acknowledging a few things you are grateful for every day can change the lens through which your brain views the world.
This involves simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. If you are struggling with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can be a great idea. Whether it is revisiting a positive experience you have had during the day or putting down negative thoughts swimming around in your head, journaling is a great way to ease anxiety. It can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. The process can also help you to recognize triggers and learn how to manage them, make sense of how you’re feeling, work through issues and keep yourself from ruminating so you can finally get some quality sleep.
Exercising and staying active is the best way to maintain good health. Studies show that movement is an effective form of medicine in helping manage Depression. You don’t have to sign up for a marathon or even join the gym, but engaging in some form of exercise every day —a short walk, yoga, or a barre class— can go a long way in keeping your mental and physical health in tip-top shape. Set goals for your physical activities daily. For example, have targets for walking 5,000 steps to begin with and then increase to 10,000 steps per day. Don’t let yourself sit for longer than an hour at a time. If you have a desk job, take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. Sitting too much can have negative effects on your health. When we sit, we use less energy as compared to standing or moving.
Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with several health concerns. They include Obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Finding a physical activity you enjoy, like walking, bike riding, or swimming, can increase motivation.
There is growing research showing a negative correlation between screen time and psychological well-being. Most of us know that social media apps are not accurate portrayals of people’s real lives. However, it is hard not to start comparing yourself with others and start feeling anxious and inadequate because your own life is less rosy. Try taking a step back from your social media accounts and see how it impacts your mood and stress levels. You might find that you’re much happier (and not missing out) not being constantly connected. Plus, you may even find that you have more time to dedicate to the things and people that bring you joy.
We have spent months living in isolation and being around other people is critical for your health. Carve out time this year to connect and deepen relationships with the people in your life that inspire you and nurture your soul. Instead of hitting up happy hour, use your time together to get out into nature or attend a cultural event or try something new. Do not be afraid to try a few different things to find out what you enjoy. Look for local spots near you that could offer a welcome break from your computer screen and reach out to your friends to see if they have any tips.
Above all, be kind to yourself. Over the last 20 months, most of us will have gained some first-hand experience of stress and health issues. Be it ourselves, family members, neighbours or friends. It is important to keep an eye out for each other and support our loved ones, apart from offering ourselves that same kindness and generosity. So dear ladies, try to bring these positive changes to your life and see the difference.