They say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit!
“A new challenge has been thrown to us where we are home bound for 21 days. It is a testing time and how we deal with it can change our perspective about life and our individuality. This situation can increase cortisol by panicking and building anxiety or it can help us relieve stress. Even if we do everything for our immunity, building cortisol can impact our immunity adversely upto 70%! So as much as we work on all other ways to build immunity, we also need to work on releasing cortisol.” says certified Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Nipa Asharam.
She further shares starters and action points that we can look into:
Boredom can become panic
Constant conversation we are having with our family or friends is that we are bored. It can create panic wondering how long will this go on. Either we can count each day and build cortisol or change boredom into an opportunity to create new activities. It can be making a new recipe with our family members and getting kids involved so that eating healthy can be fun. While we are in lockdown, most ingredients are still accessible to us and we can pick simpler recipes can try them out since we do not get a change to do that in our daily routine. We can also try new home workouts as several are available through apps. You can do this with your partner or make it a challenge amongst friends. Another way to bring in a little fun is playing online games! It can be scrabble or something lighter like ludo as if it is a game day!
Learning and growth
I had no idea I could finish a book in 5 days! It can also be because while reading is part of my life, it wasn’t a priority. If made this phase as an opportunity to learn and grow, we will divert our mind into something more productive. If reading is not your thing, then how about online courses? MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) has a host of free courses on subjects that might be of interest to you but it wasn’t a priority. You can also listen to podcasts and watch youtube videos on subjects that make you curious.
21 day challenge of being more fit
Make a group of your friends and even family to be more fit as a 21-day challenge. Things you can include in this challenge is to finish 10000 steps, create specific goals on weight or inches and making a time table of meals that you share with each other end of day! I am doing about 11000 steps daily by reading and walking or watching a show and walking (not fast paced) and I don’t even realize where I finish my steps. This can automatically make us stay away from over-eating and putting on weight, both that could lead to anxiety.
Make a family gratitude jar
Disappointment and frustration can excessively build cortisol. We can self-sabotage with these negative thoughts so let us create a gratitude jar for the family where in each person needs to put in it 10 things end of day that he or she feels gratitude for. It does not matter if some of it is repeated but we will constantly find new things to feel gratitude for. It can change our mindset and relax our nervous system as well. At the end of 21 days open the jar and read all of to know what we really cherish no matter what situation we are in.
Each time we clean up something, we feel lighter. This is rooted in science of human behavior where in discarding old stuff brings in a certain amount of lightness and feeling good. You can identify all possible areas of your house where cleaning up is needed and take one area each day. It creates dopamine in our system – the happy hormone!
If we see our ancestors about 10000 years ago, they lived with basic amenities, stocked items for a long period and adapted to their environment. We have the same gene and therefore as humans we are adaptive and resilient. This is our time to use what we already have inside us to be mentally fit as well. Use some of the steps mentioned above and it will also lead you to new ideas since the mindset changes with it. Being mentally fit and reducing cortisol is key in this phase.