Updated: Mar 27, 2021
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we now rely greatly on technology to conduct our day-to-day errands, whether it be attending your Zoom meetings or shopping for groceries online. If you’re like me, you spend a whopping 10 hours (the entire day, really) in front of your laptop.
When I first started this new way of daily life, I thought it was going to be a break for myself; I didn’t have to walk much and inhale the filthy outdoor air pollution. But, boy was I wrong. Sitting around the entire day caused me to hunch and destroyed my posture. Going back and forth between staring at my phone and laptop was definitely straining my eyes. Not to mention, I became sluggish and less determined than ever to exercise. Suddenly, going outside for a walk and staying active didn’t seem so bad anymore.
After a while (more like nine months) of the online lifestyle, I decided to change things up and make use of my free time to take care of myself and my body. So, here are some simple habits you can optimise to stay healthier, and maybe even more productive, during this pandemic.
1. Stretch out!
Feeling lethargic? Get up from your chair and give yourself a good stretch. No, it doesn’t have to be a full-on yoga pose. But even just five minutes of stretching can release tension from your body and might even relieve that back pain! Some simple stretches can help you feel refreshed in no time, and if you’re confused on how to get started, you could even search up “5 minute stretches” on YouTube.
2. Check on your posture
With our body being glued to a chair the entire day, it isn’t surprising that most of us look like cooked shrimp by now. Aside from consciously checking how straight your back is, there are other ways to remind yourself not to slouch. A few of them are using spine support cushions, using digital reminders on your laptop (like PostureMinder, a Chrome extension), or even investing in chairs with elevated lumbar support.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, and hydrate
Every article you’ve Googled has probably told you to drink more water more times than you can count, but for a good reason. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day has proved to be beneficial in many areas, such as memory retention and prevention of headaches. In order to remind yourself every now and then to drink a glass of water, you can use a timer every 15 minutes or a digital reminder (like Water Reminder on Google Chrome).
4. Get active and keep fit
No matter how busy you are, you can always spare a few minutes to get your blood pumping. Ask yourself, if you combined all the little breaks you spent on your phone, how much time would you get in the end? Some might say 15 minutes, some might say an hour. Instead of scrolling through Twitter, you could use that time to jog around your neighbourhood (with a mask on!) or even just do some jumping jacks. You could even do some short workouts from YouTube.
Now that we’ve covered the physical aspect of taking care of your health, let’s discuss the mental part. You might think of meditation as just sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat and humming to the sound of a gong, but that’s not the only way you can meditate. Meditation can take form in any activity that you find to be relaxing and soothing. It might be painting, playing the guitar, or listening to music. Whatever it is, take this time to calm your mind and reflect on your day, not worrying about the burdens of work or studies.
Even though these might seem like little things, these habits could really improve your physical and mental health in these times. Stay safe and healthy!
1. “Taking Good Care of Yourself.” Mental Health America, Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/taking-good-care-yourself.