10 healthy morning habits to start your day

By Papri Mukhopadhyay

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”

– Jim Rohn

Do you feel an urge to scroll the social media sites or playing an online game right after waking up? And then without taking shower, skipping the breakfast you have stepped out of your house, right? Have you ever noticed when you starts your morning in this way, the rest of your day appears to reflect that anarchy as well? The spirit of your morning helps to make the spirit of your day. We all know the proverb “Morning shows the day”. So why not to start the morning with some positive vibes? When you are able to make some healthy habits for the morning, you are stepping a step ahead towards success and mental peace as well. Nurturing some healthy habits in the morning helps to prioritize your mental and physical health for the rest of the day. What you do in the morning determines how you think or act for the rest of the day. Not everyone’s ideal morning routine will be same, so the habits mentioned here are meant for people across ages, gender or background.

Choose the habits that works for you, feasible for you. And don’t forget that consistency is the main key of any habit. Here are 10 simple habits that you can practice as daily morning routine to start your day with full of energy and enthusiasm.

Photo credit: Flower photo created by freepik –
Stay away from your smartphone

After waking up if the first thing you do is using your smartphone to check the social media platforms ( or work mail whatever it is) you are inviting a lot of bullshits into your brain. Because your phone has many distractors like news notifications, social site notifications etc which draw your attention to them quickly. Using your phone as the very first thing in the morning is a very easy way to derail your whole morning routine. Try to be detached from any electronic device for the first hour of your day so you can begin your day with a positive mindset.

Drink water

Drinking a glass of water right after waking up is a healthy way to hydrate your body. Water aids in detoxifying the toxins of your body formed overnight. Your body needs some water after seven hours of not drinking water to start the physiological process of the body. So try to build up a habit of drinking a glass of water after waking up.

Make your bed

It may sounds an unimportant chore to do after waking up, but it can be a simple and small way to make you feel accomplished. It will encourage you to do another assignment and another. Completing such simple tasks will give you the confidence to do more and more. At the end of the day you would find out that you have completed many tasks with confidence.

Practice gratitude

Even before your feet touch the floor in the morning, give yourself a couple of minutes to practice gratitude. You have the blessings of nature to enjoy another day. Do smile for the same. Smile helps the brain in releasing the feel-good hormones ( Dopamine, Serotonin and Endorphin) which can relax your whole body and lift your mood as well. Some studies have shown practicing gratitude helps in reducing stress hormones also.

Be active

When you move your body the blood starts to flow all over the body properly. You can be active by some stretching, simple yoga, jogging, cycling or a brisk walk with your pet in a park. Early morning sunlight works as a key for your circadian rhythms. Disruption in this rhythm may leads to premature ageing or many lifestyle deceases. whatever the technique you choose to follow, the movement energizes the body and the souls. The exercises need not have to be intense or complicated necessarily. Any physical activity helps in making you energetic throughout the day.

Breathing exercise and meditation

Upon waking a ten minutes of deep breathing exercise helps you to gain a positive state of mind and may works as fuel for the entire day. Meditation is a technique of mindfulness. A five minutes of meditation is a great way to begin your day. Just because of this healthy practice you may gain a control over your emotions which has a great influence on your capabilities to deal with the challenges throughout the day.

Self care

Appearance has a substantial contribution in building self confidence. So putting some efforts in pampering yourself in the morning may acts as a confidence building practice. So brush your teeth, wash your face, floss, shower and put on some clean clothes to look presentable and feel confident inside out.

Choose a soothing playlist

Music is very useful to fade away all the stresses. Play your favorite, relaxing and soothing tracks. You could listen to them while you are working out or having breakfast or on the way to work. Soothing music promotes concentration and motivation.

Check your schedule and plan accordingly

Jot down your schedule for the next day in the evening before. In the morning what you need to do is to just go through the already prepared list and prioritizing it according to your feasibility. So you have a clear idea and plan about the agendas of the day. This habit helps you to organize your workload, enhances efficiency and reduces stress level. Upon successful completion of your daylong schedule you will cherish the feel of accomplishment.

Get enough sleep

Needless to say that planning for sleep in the morning seems quite awkward. But it is obvious that you should have a well rested body to commence your day with full of energy. An irritated and sleep deprived mind is not conducive for showcasing your true potentials. Therefore adequate sleep in the night is very crucial to make upcoming day fruitful.

4 best ways to boost your immune system

By Papri Mukhopadhyay

The body’s ability to prevent the intrusion of pathogens is known as immunity. Virus, bacteria etc are the disease causing pathogens to which we get exposed to regularly. But we are not getting infected everyday. Because there are many cells and organs present in our body who work together to protect us. The immune system is the main defense framework against infections. White Blood Cells (WBC) also known as leukocytes play an important role in our immune system. Though sometimes the system fails to detect the intruders and the pathogen invades successfully into the body and makes you sick. Therefore Your immune system has to be robust enough to fight off a variety of infections while not being over reactive. Researchers are exploring various factors that help in boosting your immunity. There are many healthy ways that help your immune system to function optimally. In this article we are going to discuss about some of the crucial ways that can boost your immune system up and why you should not rely on supplements only in this purpose.

Consume immunity boosters

Make sure to have the following stuffs in your diet which are considered as immunity boosters.

  • Garlic: Garlic has tremendous antibacterial and antiviral properties. It helps to absorb micro-nutrient Zinc as it is not entirely absorbed on its own even in case of foods rich in this element. Garlic is also known as “immunity boosting superstar”.
  • Turmeric: The anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric give your immune system a boost. It has amazing ability to alleviate stress as well.
  • Ginger: Ginger fights against cough and cold causing viruses.
  • Citrous fruits: Citrous fruits such as orange, lemon etc. are rich in vitamin-c, a vitamin which nurtures your immune system.
  • Probiotic Yogurt: Your gut requires some good bacteria for staying balanced. Yogurt is a good source of healthy probiotics which help to maintain good gut health and in turn enhance immunity.
  • Green Superfoods: Spinach, Broccoli are very useful to strengthen your immune system. They should be cooked as little as possible to retain the nutrients.
  • Green Tea: It contains Flavonoids which reduces bad cholesterol and blood clotting. It is packed with antioxidants and beta carotene which increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune system.
  • Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are found in olive oil and salmon. By decreasing inflammation healthy fats contribute in boosting up your immune system and therefore combat illness naturally.
Lifestyle improvement
  • Adequate Sleep: When you are sleeping there are innumerable activities happen in your body. Many helpful infection-fighting antibodies and cells are formed while you are in sleep. Studies have shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more prone to getting sick easily. During sleep your immune system releases protein call cytokines some of which help in promoting sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation. Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of cytokines. So try to make a habit of getting timely and adequate sleep.
  • Minimize stress and anxiety: In case of chronic stress your body responds by initiating a stress response. This response in turn suppresses your immune system. So the chances of getting infected is increased more. To know how to cope with anxiety in a better way please look at the following article:
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise in moderation is one of the pillars of healthy living. It helps to control body weight, thus it keeps you in shape and protects you from various diseases. So rise early in the morning and put your shoes on and go for a short period of work out.
  • Laugh aloud: When life gives you a chance to smile, don’t just smile, rather laugh. Try to surround yourself with people who are energetic, motivating, confident and cheerful. Don’t take things very seriously. After all life is meant to be lived cheerfully.
  • Stop smoking: The ingredients of Cigar and cigarette such as tar, nicotine and other toxins can kill antibodies and hampers the generation process of the same. It has an adverse effect on immune system.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess body weight has several negative impact on body. The immune system is susceptible to it as well. Due to obesity macrophages are formed. These cells float through the blood stream, triggering inflammation wherever they move. Added sugar may contribute to obesity. So limit your excess sugar intake to reduce inflammation.
  • Stay hydrated: It is well known fact that the water has many important roles in human body. In your circulatory system, lymph (a fluid) carries immune cells around your body, which is largely made up of water. Dehydration slows down the movement of lymph which in turn leads to a weak immune system. Along with water, try to have watermelon, cucumber, lettuce in your diet. They are high in water content.
Good hygienic practices

Don’t forget to wash your hand before eating, cooking and after using washroom. You should not make a habit of touching your face, nose or mouth frequently. If you do need so, use a tissue paper to avoid spreading germs directly. These practices help you to reduce your chances of becoming ill.

Think critically about supplements

If you think for taking vitamins and minerals supplements to boost up your immune system, consult your doctor first. Taking supplements without consultation won’t do anything more than costing you some money. So talk to experts first.

If you are looking for ways to boost your immunity, you may consider the strategies discussed above, rather than relying on supplement labels.

6 best ways to cope with anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic

By: Papri Mukhopadhyay

The glimpses of oxygen crisis, heap of dead bodies, mass funerals are indeed choking our throats, making us scared and shaking our minds regularly. Do you ever feel like that you can’t concentrate properly on the book of your favorite writer like before? Are you frequently feeling a suppressed fear of losing your loved ones in the inner apartment of your mind?

If your answer is ‘yes’, then it’s the right time to nurture your soul and pamper yourself a little more. Because most probably you are suffering from anxiety disorders.

Anxiety is a part of our human life. We all experience it. Anxiety is generally characterized by feeling nervous, fearful, panicky and worrying about what might happen. Anxiety has a close relationship with fear. Fear is supposed to be a natural, powerful response to something which is threat to our physical safety. Fear is said to be triggered by the perception of danger; real or imaginary.

Nowadays all of us are acquainted with the term “depression”. Today depression or anxiety disorders are very common to us. 150 – 200 years back there were anxiety disorders too. People of that era must have gone through this disorders, but the proper diagnosis was beyond imagination of people at that time. If we discuss about some of the famous personalities who have suffered from anxiety related psychological issues, the names such as Abraham Lincoln, Vincent Van Gogh and Winston Churchill would worth mentioning.

Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth president of the United States, the real hero and savior of the Union during the US civil war and emancipator of enslaved people had also gone through anxiety and depression. Losing his mother at 9, elder sister at 18 and fiance Anne Rutledge at 28 he became totally devastated. Lincoln had lost 10 out of his 12 children also. These losses and his own feeling of inadequacy resulted in deep anxiety throughout his life. Psychiatric researchers and history researchers have considered that he had suffered from severe generalized anxiety disorder.

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh had experienced similar phase in his life. He had to spend some time in an asylum. As his brother committed suicide and his sister had schizophrenia he has been considered as a topic in genetic studies.

One of the most powerful prime minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill had written about his suffering from severe depression which he termed as “Black dog”.

To manage your anxiety in this pandemic situation what you need first is self-care. In addition to self-nurturing there are few more ways to cope with the anxiety during pandemic days.

Now, we are going to highlight six best ways to manage anxiety in these challenging days.

Interaction: Interact openly with people who you think understand you. Through interaction you express your state of mind which lowers your stress-level and anxiety. In order to interact you can choose your siblings, partner, parents and friends. But you should be careful in choosing your companion who should be someone whom you can trust, to whom you can be the real you, who would never judge you and most importantly who accepts you as you are. As in this present scenario, physical meeting with your friends or near ones may not be possible, you can opt for virtual mode of communication to interact with them.

Healthy and active lifestyle: Being active helps you to release the feel-good hormones (Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin etc.) in your body which helps to release stress. Try to be active as much as possible. Give yourself at least 40 minutes daily to become active. There are handful of ways to be active such as walking, cycling, jogging, exercising, gardening, doing household chores and playing a sport like cricket, football etc as per your choice and feasibility.

Apart from being active you must keep healthy stuffs in you daily diet as well. A healthy and balanced diet consists of fresh vegetables, fruits, cereals, lentils, egg, lean meat, nuts and dairy products. You need to drink a lots of water to stay hydrated throughout the day. In your daily diet try to add some fruits which induce happy-hormones and help to combat with stress. You can choose spinach, dark chocolate, avocado and fresh fruits as they play a crucial role in making you happy.

Be creative: Creating things in your own is a fascinating way to express yourself. You can stimulate your creativity through drawing, painting, sculpting, singing, dancing, writing, cooking, playing any musical instrument and decorating your space etc. You can utilize your leisure time to follow your passion and interest to satisfy your mind.

Relaxation: Try to allot a window of 20 minutes regularly for relaxation. You can choose some of the breathing exercises. Breadth deeply and try to feel your surroundings: what you see, hear, smell and feel. Practicing this technique you can enhance your level of mindfulness. You can either perform yoga at your home or join yoga classes. Make a habit of meditation for at least 2 – 5 minutes a day. A sound sleep of 6 -8 hours is very much important for a good mental as well as physical health. Try to maintain good sleep habits such as properly scheduled bed-time, avoiding caffeine late in a day and sincerely keeping aside the electronic gadgets at least one hour before your regular bed-time.

Avoid negativity: Try to maintain a balance between being informed by the print, electronic or social media and not becoming addicted to them. Consuming the news with negative information causes our body to release stress hormones like adrenaline. So, read or watch the news to gain valuable and necessary information so that you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Family time: Due to the present situation we are staying in home throughout the day. So, try to spend quality time with your family members. With all of your family members you can play some indoor games or you can cook for your loved ones. Allot much more time for the children of your home and pets as they have the capability to magically reduce all your stresses.

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