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Strengthen your health during Global Employee Health and Fitness Month


May is Global Employee Health and Fitness Month but with lockdown restrictions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to exercise and maintain optimal health practices. Global Employee Health and Fitness Month aims to achieve a more physically active and healthier population one healthy moment at a time. These are some way to stay healthy in lockdown. Keep active and exercise If you’re staying home, take care of yourself through exercise and movement as part of your daily routine. Exercise is a powerful way to improve both physical and mental health. When we exercise our brain releases chemicals that help us better manage stress and anxiety. There are many ways to exercise at home that don’t need equipment and are free. Try walking, stretching, dancing, yoga or join an online exercise class.

Try meaningful activities Meaningful activities you enjoy can help you relax, so you may want to try these ideas:

* Read a book or listen to an audiobook. Many public library websites offer free audiobooks. You can even start a virtual book club, agreeing on free books to read, chatting about them and exchanging recommendations.

* Interested in where your family originates from? Trace your family tree to unearth lost memories or even distant relatives. By learning about genealogy, you can discover more about your background.

* Take a basic first aid course online free. It’s good to be prepared for any emergency, especially when you may not want to go to an overcrowded urgent care centre to heal a minor injury.

* Find out more about nutrition and how food affects your body, health and mood to make better decisions on wellbeing and to use food in your cupboard better.

* Solve a mystery. There are plenty of online communities to join where you can immerse yourself in a mystery and try help solve it. In these groups, mystery fans swap theories and information to get to the bottom of old cold cases.

* Multiple opera houses have started streaming performances, which is wonderful if you want to go to the opera for the first time or if you are a long-time opera lover.

* Go to the aquarium for free. Live cameras are letting us keep an eye on jellyfish, a coral reef and even penguins.

* Have a karaoke night. Karaoke apps can turn your smartphone into a microphone so you can sing your favourite hits with friends.

* Take a tour of museums or national galleries around the world for free. There are over 500 museums and galleries to view and you can also visit major attractions like the Eiffel Tower.

Connect with loved ones Human beings are social creatures and typically strive to build connections rather than isolate. However, coronavirus has pressured us to explore new ways of building our communities. There are many ways to connect even if you can’t see people in person or physically go places. Stay connected via phone, email, social media and video calls especially with those who have more limited social contact such as elderly people, those with disabilities, who live alone, who are quarantined or at high risk because of chronic health conditions. If talking about coronavirus is affecting your mental health, set boundaries with people about how much and when you talk about it and balance it with other topics you usually discuss. Plan virtual dinners and coffee breaks with loved ones or watch a movie together and then talk about it. Explore benefits of mindfulness Many medical organisations support mindfulness to lower stress and boost physical and emotional health. This involves focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting it without judgment. Grounding exercises can help you notice sights, sounds, smells and sensations around you rather than being absorbed in your thoughts. Meditation involves finding a quiet, comfortable place to observe your thoughts and focus on your breath and can help you feel calmer and more relaxed. Some research suggests practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression and insomnia. There are many online resources on mindfulness, meditation and breathing exercises to explore.

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