SORE back? Maskne? Stress-related gut issues? The pandemic is to blame for a host of health problems.
Here at Fabulous magazine, we’ve got you sorted. Here’s how you can sort the most common Coronavirus-related health problems.
The coronavirus pandemic is to blame for a host of health problems[/caption]
YOU’VE GOT… BACK PAIN
Hands up if you still haven’t got a proper WFH set-up? And who’s given in to the temptation to work from the sofa?
Guilty on both counts! It’s no wonder 55% of us are now suffering from back pain.
55% of us are now suffering from back pain since working from home[/caption]
- SORT YOUR SET-UP: Ditch working from the sofa and make sure you sit at a desk or table correctly.
“The top third of your screen should be at eye level and you should be able to have your elbows resting on the desk, so your hands are able to reach the keyboard comfortably.
This helps take the pressure off wrists,” explains osteopath Tom Parry.
- If you’re working from a laptop, then it’s time to invest in a laptop stand and separate keyboard.
- SUPPORT YOUR BACK: Are you guilty of hunching forward? Try this: “Take a rolled-up hand towel and place it around bra-strap level.
If it falls down because you’ve moved forward, it’s a reminder to sit upright again,” says Tom.
- STRETCH: Do this easy spinal twist once an hour: “Sitting upright, hold each opposite shoulder and twist to one side, keeping your hips still, and your neck will follow. Repeat on each side,” says Tom.
YOU’VE GOT… MASKNE
With mask-wearing now mandatory in most public spaces, the build-up of sweat and friction can lead to acne outbreaks.
The build-up of sweat and friction under a mask can lead to acne outbreaks[/caption]
- PICK THE RIGHT CLEANSER: “If your skin is oily or acne-prone then go for an unscented foaming cleanser and cleanse twice a day,” advises consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto.
- MOISTURISE: Hydrated skin is healthy skin, so never skip this vital post-cleansing step.
“Use a fragrance-free moisturiser such as Cetaphil Hydrating Moisturiser or Avène Skin Recovery Cream to prevent water loss and improve the skin’s barrier function,” says Dr Mahto.
- WASH YOUR MASK: Reusable masks should be cleaned after every use. If you find friction is an issue, buy a slightly looser-fitting mask, and look for pure cotton rather then synthetic fabrics.
YOU’VE GOT… ANXIETY
Anxiety and depression have soared during the pandemic, with nearly 50% of people saying they had felt highly anxious during the first lockdown.
Anxiety and depression have soared during the pandemic[/caption]
- EXERCISE: This is a massive mood-booster. “It doesn’t have to be high-intensity cardio, just taking a 20-minute brisk walk will get your heart pumping and top you up with mood-lifting endorphins,” explains health psychologist and CBT therapist Dr Sula Windgassen.
- KEEP CONNECTED: Zoom fatigue means you can’t stand another digital catch-up? Instead of withdrawing into your own world, experiment with different ways of maintaining a connection.
“Writing letters, dropping shopping round to neighbours, and doing small acts of kindness for loved ones will also increase a sense of connection and closeness with others,” says Dr Windgassen.
- BREATHE BETTER: “Box breathing is a method of calming the body’s sympathetic nervous system – the part of the body that is activated when we are stressed and anxious,” explains Dr Windgassen.
“Breathe in for four seconds, holding that breath for four seconds, then breathe out for four seconds, holding again for four seconds.
“Repeat for as long as you need, remembering to keep the breath slow and consistent.”
- SPEAK UP: Sometimes we need more support than our friends can provide, especially when they’re also experiencing the same life-changing situations.
If your anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, see your GP or call the Samaritans’ free 24-hour helpline on 116 123.
YOU’VE GOT… STRAINED EYES
During lockdown, 40% of our days have been spent watching TV! That’s a rise of almost a third from last year and doesn’t include the time we’re in front of screens for work or on our phones.
The result? Worsening vision, according to the College of Optometrists.
Our vision is worsening from watching so much TV during lockdown[/caption]
- FOLLOW THE 20-20-20 RULE: Our eyes aren’t designed to be fixated on a single object for a long period of time, which means it’s time to add the 20-20-20 rule to your day.
“Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes,” says optometrist and Specsavers’ clinical services director Giles Edmonds.
“This stops eyes drying out due to lack of blinking, while looking into the
distance also helps to relax the eye muscles and reduce eye fatigue.”
- KEEP EYES MOIST: Central heating can dehydrate your eyes, increasing irritation and strain.
“Add moisture back into the air by using a humidifier or placing a bowl of water underneath a radiator. If your eyes are still dry, then lubricating drops provide instant relief,” adds Giles.
YOU’VE… GAINED WEIGHT
Fallen into the trap of snacking more since you’ve been WFH? Teamed with gym and leisure centre closures, it’s no surprise that 48% of us have put on weight since the first lockdown began.
48% of us have put on weight since the first lockdown began[/caption]
- DO BITESIZE WORKOUTS: If you’re daunted by the thought of a long and gruelling exercise sesh, try doing shorter workouts instead.
“You don’t have to do a whole hour of exercise at once, just break it
into short bouts as they are just as effective,” says personal trainer Lavina Mehta MBE.
And if you need inspo, then head to social media or YouTube where you’ll find lots of free, short workouts.
- SNACK WISER: You won’t be able to go cold turkey on snacking, so don’t try.
Instead swap in healthier snacks.
“Stock up on nuts, cooked chicken, and carrots and houmous so they’re ready when you get those hunger pangs.
“And try to eat more protein, such as chicken and eggs as that’ll keep you feeling full and satiated,” adds Lavina.
YOU’VE GOT… GUT PROBLEMS
Stress and anxiety can bring on symptoms of IBS. According to scientists at Texas Tech University, the gut-brain axis (where messages are exchanged between your brain and your gut) means that anxious feelings can manifest as an upset tummy.
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- TOP UP ON PROBIOTICS: Studies have shown that having a healthy gut can help your brain manage stress better.
Increasing the amount of good bacteria in your diet may help your gut work more efficiently.
- EAT SMARTER: Once you’ve topped up the good bacteria, feed it with prebiotic foods.
“Garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, pistachios, oats, cashews and chicory, as well as fermented foods such as live natural yoghurt, are all good options,” says Eve Kalinik, nutritional therapist and author of Happy Gut, Happy Mind.
- Read “My endometriosis is so bad people think I’m pregnant” here.
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