By Neha Ranglani, Integrative health coach and nutritionist
There is no denying that the digital revolution has made the world a smaller place and improved human connectivity but it’s also brought along with it long hours of screen time and a sedentary lifestyle and more so in the last two years thanks to the “work from home culture”. Our human bodies thrive on movement and are not designed for such long hours of sitting, no wonder why the stone age men were fit, muscular and healthy!
Now there is not much we can do about our working culture but here’s what can happen if you stare at a screen all day and don’t take care of your overall health – change your brain structure, short-term memory, brain fog, vision issues, weight gain, stiffness, muscle weakness, anxiety, stress, mood swings etc.
So here are some healthier habits to adopt to experience your best health despite your working schedule.
Plan your meals: This is one of the first steps toward healthy eating because only when we plan our meals prior is when we can plan our grocery shopping, our pre-preps and cooking schedule which allows us to stick to a healthy eating regime, reduce our dependence on food delivery apps and nourish our body with home-cooked food which reduces our risk of health issues in the future provided we plan our meals with wholesome ingredients such as whole grains, pulses, seasonal veggies, greens, sprouts etc.
Healthy Snacking: Snacking is an important aspect of our daily eating regime and helps us fuel ourselves between meals and prevent tiredness, weakness and poor concentration but most people today snack (rather graze) mindlessly on unhealthy fried, salted and sugar-loaded stuff like chips, biscuits, cookies, cakes, namkeens etc. which weakens our gut and increases the chances of acidity, bloating, constipation, IBS eventually affecting our overall health. So be mindful and consciously choose healthier snacking options like makhanas, baked chips, sprouts, fresh seasonal fruits, nuts and seeds, home-made granola and only snack when hungry.
Feed your eyes: Our poor eyes have to do all the hard work while we stare at the gamut of screens in front of us but you can nourish your eyes with antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that help to block blue light from reaching sensitive parts of the inner eye like the retina. Good food sources of zeaxanthin include green veggies like broccoli, spinach, and kale while lutein is found in leafy green vegetables as well as in yellow and orange produce like oranges, carrots, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes etc.
Hydration: The one thing that we forget while working is to drink water, especially in an air-conditioned room because we don’t sweat and this is what leads to mid-day headaches, fatigue, irritability, excessive hunger and dry itchy eyes. All of this worsens when we consume cups of tea, coffee and cola in the name of refreshing ourselves as they will further dehydrate us. So sipping on water every hour and hydrating ourselves with 2-3 electrolyte-rich drinks like green juice, coconut water, lemon, water, vegetable juices etc. is a must for a healthy body and mind.
Conscious movement: While we are sitting through the day, we are weakening our muscles, bones and joints and reducing the blood flow to various parts of our body. Instead every 90-120 minutes, get up from your seat and move your body in whatever way feels the best to you – take the stairs, walk around, stretch a bit, spot jog etc. Taking a break might sound like a waste of time, but actually, it is the best thing to do to improve your productivity, mood and overall performance.
Me-time beyond screen-time: Apart from work time, we spend our remaining waking hours also staring at the screen for entertainment, leisure, online shopping, social media etc. Instead, try to spare a few hours of the day indulging in things or activities that do not include the screen such as reading a book, spending time in nature, catching up with a friend in person, spa or a head massage, cooking etc.
So nourish yourself holistically to experience your healthiest self while you are striving to be your wealthiest self.