Everything has changed – some for better, some for worse

The world has changed drastically since the last time I sat down to write this article. Before the lock down, it was considered normal to order food online when the maid took a day off or we were bored with our own limited cooking abilities. But now, three months into the lock down, we are confident enough to bake bread from scratch. Now, that is an impressive feat! When you think about it, the fact that we are consuming home-cooked meals is great for our digestive system.

If this were a pre-Corona period, I would have spoken in detail about the benefits of eating freshly prepared food, the need for exercise, and the benefits of adopting various diets. But since things are hardly the same, it would be almost cruel to advocate the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. Especially when going to a store to stock up on essentials feels like a walk through a minefield. And I won’t even get started on exercise. The constraints of time and space limits our ability to work out those muscles.

What does it mean to take care of ourselves during this crisis?

The activities and diets that we followed in the past are almost impossible to carry out now. But there are a few basic things that we can do to maintain our health. These include taking care of our food intake, remaining hydrated, exercising and getting enough sleep. Let’s look at them in a little more detail.

What do you eat in a quarantine?

When you are stuck at home, especially on your own, it is tempting to forego schedules. However, when it comes to food and mealtimes, regular meals are essential for your body’s nourishment. In normal times, it would be advisable to avoid packaged foods because of the addition of preservatives and other ingredients that are presumed to be bad for the health. But, since we do not have the luxury of frequenting kirana stores and vegetable shops, it is smart to adjust with what is available. If it’s a packet of instant dosa batter or a pre-packaged poha mix that helps you quickly whip up a meal, then that is what you should stick to.

Switch on your stove, it's time to try something new: Let’s be honest, our pantries hardly resembles the ones in popular cooking shows. So, if you only have a few ingredients, don’t lose heart, there are a lot of bloggers and chefs who can help you figure out how to make a dish with ingredients that are commonly found in an Indian kitchen. You will be surprised at what you can make with just little.

For some quick dessert recipes, check out Bakehoney’s #4Ingredients Recipe contest on Instagram. Bakehoney has been conducting a series of online Baking Masterclass with professional chefs where you can pick up different baking techniques.

The rise of home bakers: Despite a lock down, birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations continue to occur, and so does our need to celebrate with some delicious cake. Since commercial bakeries are shut, people have been turning to professional home bakers who can guarantee hygienic baking methods and the usage of superior raw ingredients. Get in touch with us if you would like to order a cake from any of our talented home bakers in Noida.

Grab a bottle of water: Due to a restriction in movement, we are probably not exerting ourselves as much as we did in the past, yet water is still vital to our health. If you think about it this way, it is hard to find a doctor for common ailments. And if an ailment can be avoided by just drinking sufficient water, let's make sure we do it. Beverages like tea, coffee (even Dalgona Coffee), and juices are good alternatives, but water is still the easiest way to hydrate. You could consider infusing your water with herbs and citrus fruits. Not only will it taste better, but it will also look good on your Instagram page.

Chocolates, chips, cookies? What is your comfort food? Comfort food is something we all turn towards to help us tide over rough patches. And occasionally devouring a whole packet of chips or an entire bar of chocolate is totally permissible.

Get enough sleep

The human body needs around eight hours of sleep every single day. By sleeping, we give our bodies the chance to repair cells, relax those muscles, regulate hormones, and do several other biological wonders. Insufficient sleep can cause irritability, an inability to focus on simple tasks and lead to other serious health issues such as cardiovascular problems and depression.

Re-imagine your exercise regime

Exercising does wonders for the body from regulating blood pressure, boosting metabolism, and increasing oxytocin levels. However, a lack of space, privacy, or time can make it harder to keep up with an exercise regime. Instead, it might be worthwhile switching to short bursts of exercises spread throughout the day. It could be as simple as doing ten squats as you wait for the milk to boil, or stretching your hands & legs as you take a five-minute break from your computer screen. Another important thing to take care of is your posture while you sit down to work to avoid back and shoulder pains from recurring.

While you focus on your physical health, make sure you get enough exposure to sunlight. A lot has been shared in the media about the importance of maintaining Vitamin D levels, which can be easily obtained from just 30 minutes of sun exposure. The midday sun is known to be great for absorbing vitamin D into the body.

Being mentally strong

As important as it is to take care of the physical body, it is equally important to pay attention to your mental health. Reach out to people you can be open with about your struggles. Various organizations have set up helpline numbers where you can also seek professional help. While it is good to be updated on current events and new COVID 19 cases, an obsession with knowing the latest news can cause higher levels of anxiety and stress. With that in mind, set limits on how much time you spend on watching or reading the latest news and other social media channels.

These measures are not ground-breaking theories but are simple things we can do to be healthy. Because sometimes, it is the simple stuff that has a huge impact on our lives. For me, relaxing means finding a breezy spot to sit with my steaming cup of tea, a plate of baked goodies, and listening to birds singing gloriously. Take the time to figure out what works for you and stay healthy.