COMPILED BY DR MINA CHANDRA AND
DR VIPINDEEP KAUR SANDHU
STUDENTS WING OF CENTRAL INDIA CHAPTER OF UNESCO BIOETHICS HAIFA AND
CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN MENTAL HEALTH, ABVIMS AND DR RML HOSPITAL, NEW DELHI
In these difficult times, when we all are struggling with corona pandemic while keeping ourselves locked in our homes or in quarantine centers or in isolation wards, it is very common to experience a lot of issues in the form of sleep disturbances, frustration, boredom and worry about the future outcomes.
HERE ARE SIMPLE WAYS THROUGH WHICH YOU CAN KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY, BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. MOREOVER, THESE CAN BECOME YOUR ROUTINE HABITS WHICH WILL BENEFIT YOUR PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH IN THE LONGRUN.
You can easily overcome sleep disturbances by following some good sleep habits also known as “SLEEP HYGIENE” . The following ways of maintaining a good sleep hygiene helps in sleeping-
1. Be consistent – Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time
2. Sleep only when “sleepy”- Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than
spending too much time awake in bed.
3. Avoid caffeine and nicotine – It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks,
chocolate, and some medications) or nicotine (cigarettes) for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed.
4. Bed is for sleeping-Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping, so that your body
comes to associate bed with sleep.
5. Say ‘no’ to naps during day- If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for
less than an hour and before 3pm.
6. Sleep rituals- Develop your own rituals of things to remind your body that it is time to sleep – for
eg. Do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before going to bed each night.
7. Hot bath makes you sleepy-Having a hot bath 1-2 hours before bedtime can be useful.
8. Say no to clock-watching-Frequently checking the clock during the night can wake you up
(especially if you turn on the light to read the time) and reinforces negative thoughts.
9. Use a sleep diary- Make up a chart with spaces for-the time you went to bed and woke up, how long and well you slept, when you were awake during the night ,how much caffeine or alcohol you consumed and when, what/when you ate and drank, what emotion or stress you had ,what drugs or medications you took. Using a sleep diary is a good idea, use it for two weeks to get an idea of
what is going and then perhaps two months down the track to see how you are progressing. 2.EAT RIGHT-
Try to take balanced diet and water at regular intervals and keep yourselves hydrated to boost your immunity .Take diets rich in vitamin C(oranges, lemons, amla, broccoli, kiwi, cauliflower ,sweet-potato, strawberries). This will help you in staying fit.
3. DAILY CHARTING IF ON MEDICATIONS
Do daily charting of the medications that you take as per a doctor’s advice. This would help you monitor adherence to your treatment and you would not miss any dose.
4. LEISURE ACTIVITIES
Do at least one leisure activity everyday like music, reading, dance, watching TV, arts, crafts or any hobby. This can help you staying distracted from worries and would cheer up your mood.
5. ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES FOR STUDENTS
Students should do at least one academic activity every day. This would help you staying connected with your course work. This can include reading, completing projects and assignments, revision of previous material, revisiting difficult to comprehend topics, practicing mock exam papers and organizing your study materials and books.
6. STAY SOCIALLY CONNECTED
At this time of crises staying connected with your parents (if staying away from home), friends, family and colleagues via Skype, Whatsapp. By simple interaction and discussion, one can easily manage social distancing and experience comfort, support and feeling connected.
7. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
God is everywhere. Even though religious places like temple ,gurudwaras, church and mosques may be closed in the lockdown, one can continue to perform spiritual practices like prayers and religious reading at home. This would bring new positivity and help you cope with the situation better.
8. REGULAR INDOOR EXERCISE AND YOGA
Regular indoor exercise and Yoga can help maintain your fitness. They also help with good sleep, but try not to do strenuous exercise in the 4 hours before bedtime. Exercising regularly would give you sense of pleasure, connection, accomplishment, and confidence. Exercising can also be in a way doing your household chores and playing with your kids.
9. DIARY WRITING/ JOURNALLING
Keeping a diary would help improving your mental health giving you a place to vent your feelings and an ability to process difficult experiences.
10. GRATITUDE EXERCISES
Expressing true gratitude boosts your health and spreads happiness. It has been seen that gratitude exercises improves your physical improves your psychological health. Grateful people enjoy higher well-being and happiness. Expressing gratitude enhances empathy and improves your sleep, enhances your self-esteem also increases your mental strength.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Practicing mindfulness will train your brain to put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses. You can practice mindfulness via various ways. Many apps are available for the same eg. MINDFUL app, HEADSPACE app. or the same can be found merely by searching on net.