By Hina S Agha.

 Are you getting worried with each cough, or even at the slightest sneeze or bout of nausea your kid or you might be having? Covid’19  has left much of us fixated on the physical worries that accompany the new coronavirus. Mental experts are fearing that too many people are already ignoring the importance of mental health during this troubling and expanding crisis.

The importance of focusing on mental health is not just to make the time spent indoors during stay-at-home restrictions a little more bearable,  but also for the direct role mental health has on physical health. So while we brave this pandemic it is equally important to acknowledge when we are feeling low and find simple ways to deal with it.

Vitamin D and Sunlight:

One of the simplest ways to keep these Coronavirus blues at bay is to get some sun every day. Exposure to sunlight, or lack thereof, can play a key role in how an individual’s mood is regulated.“The sun is often necessary to help us regulate mood because when the sun hits our skin it helps our skin manufacture vitamin D which is responsible for our mood. It also affects or impacts our immune systems,” according to a Dr. Erik Fisher, a licensed psychologist who believes that we have to make sure that we are getting enough sun or sunlight in the day.  

He continued, adding that people also “have to take into consideration the idea of eating foods that might be higher in vitamin D.” Vitamin D, which can be found in foods such as fatty fish like salmon, herring or tuna along with egg yolks, milk and orange juice. This incredible Vitamin that keeps coming up is as essential as it gets and is found to play a crucial role in improving the mental well being for those at risk for depression, according to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Sunlight, the leading source of vitamin D, is vital not just for mental health but also very beneficial for boosting the immune system strength. Try to get at least 20 to 30 minutes of sunlight per day, even if that means just sitting by a window.

Meditation and Mindfulness:

This is the most important practice all wellness experts are talking about. Meditation is not just for yoga-enthusiasts or experts. Anyone can meditate for as little as 5 minutes a day and immediately experience its benefits. Active meditation also leads one into a state of conscious observation and allows us to deal with what’s happening in this difficult moment while  COVID-19 rages around the world. It’s an invaluable tool that is really helping people cope during an unsettling time.

Your entire life perspective can transform if you take some time out to sit in silence. This allows you to truly connect with nature and surroundings. It is a way to process your innermost thoughts and feelings. 

Are you worried about tomorrow? Just try to focus on today, says Diana Winston, director of mindfulness education at the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center.
“Most of the time, our minds are locked in the past and future,” Winston explains. “Mindfulness puts you in the moment. Most people are OK in the here and now. If you can put yourself in the present, you can handle difficult thinking”.

Breathe Right:

If you are not too familiar with meditation then another very simple and efficient way to destress is to simply breathe.  Take a moment to sit comfortably or lie down somewhere and do some slow, deep breathing. Nigel Sampson, owner of Whole Body Method Pilates and Certification Studio says:

“We tend to breathe a lot more shallow when we become fearful. We have to use all the tools that we took for granted because we were so busy running our lives. We have to breathe deeper; more slowly and reset the nervous system”.

Walk Barefoot:

Walking barefoot, also known as ‘earthing’ is getting known for its health advantages. Now is the chance to feel the ground beneath your soles. Just kick off your shoes and take a stroll. This increases antioxidants and reduces inflammation. It also helps alleviate foot pain.
The idea behind earthing is that it puts you in direct contact with nature which has scientifically-proven benefits. One is preventing cardiovascular disease as walking barefoot increases the surface area charge of red blood cells. This reduces blood viscosity, a major cause of heart disease. Experts also say that earthing or walking barefoot can improve mental health and reduce stress, and with gyms closed amid the pandemic, people can walk indoors or outdoors for an added boost.

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