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Mind That Body: How to Take Care of Your Whole Self When You Can’t Leave the House

When your usual routines are disrupted and your only commute is from the living room to the fridge, it can be easy to let taking care of your health fall by the wayside.
by Rosie Allabarton | Apr 22 2020

With shelter-in-place orders extending in several states, a lot of us are staring at our own four walls a great deal more than we would like. Whether we’re working from home or caring for family members, tension and stress can quickly build up when there is nowhere to go, taking a significant toll on our mental and physical well-being. A coffee with friends to let off steam, or a trip to the movies to get some much-needed escapism are now simply out of the question for most of us.

Want to learn more about how to take care of your health and happiness during lockdown? Dr. Rupy Aujla of The Doctor’s Kitchen shared his top tips for keeping your spirits high through food in a recent episode of our new show, Checking In. Listen now on the Blinkist app and stay tuned for new episodes every weekday.

Although it’s easy to focus on the negative impact that our various states of lockdown are having on our lives, it’s important to recognize the positive aspects of this unique situation. Having a lot more time to ourselves gives us a rare opportunity to take a look at our physical and mental health and begin taking small steps to ensure we come out the other side of this pandemic with a nourished mind and body. If we do it right, we can put into place good habits today that will last long after lockdown is over.

In this article we’re going to be taking a look at some of the books available on Blinkist which offer you guidance on the different ways you can keep your mind and body healthy, so that you can come out of lockdown without a large toll having been taken on you physically or mentally.

Fight It Off

We’ve all become more conscious of the importance of our immune systems in recent weeks. If it wasn’t clear to us before, it certainly is now: a strong immune system is the crucial ingredient in fighting infection and disease. Without it, as we have seen across the globe, we are left vulnerable and therefore easy targets when a virus strikes. Super Immunity by Joel Fuhrmann seeks to unveil the secrets to a stronger immune system and healthier body using superfoods. Fuhrmann discusses some of the shortcomings found in modern medicine and how, with a diet loaded with rich-in-nutrients plant-based foods, we can naturally increase our defenses against viruses and disease.

Reboot Camp

For some of us, the pandemic has put a hold on our working lives completely, be that temporarily or permanently. With all this unexpected time on our hands, now could be a great time to make changes to your fitness routine, or starting one if you’ve never had one to begin with. Author of 30 Ways to Reboot your Body, Ben Greenfield teaches us that with just a few small changes we could all see our fitness levels increase. Greenfield begins by breaking down the damage we do to ourselves via the foods we choose to eat and the stress we accept as part of our work or lives. He then reveals that, rather than maintaining an intensive or exhausting fitness routine that many of us are unlikely to stick to, it is actually regular, light exercise that will bring about the biggest changes in our fitness and overall well-being.

Spring Clean

Clean lays out the argument for detoxifying our bodies. Backed by scientific research and influenced by proven ancient practices from China and India, authors Alejandro Junger and Amely Greeven unveil the benefits of avoiding toxins which can be found in every walk of life. The authors cover the whole spectrum of the clean living debate: not only which foods and emissions we need to avoid if we are to reduce our chances of developing numerous cancers and diseases, but also why they are so harmful to us to begin with. Finally, we learn about the body’s natural ability to heal and cleanse itself and are given step-by-step guidance on how we can successfully enhance that process in a natural way.

Take It Down a Notch

Scott Eblin’s Overworked and Overwhelmed puts the chaos and stress of modern life under the microscope. He examines the impact of the financial crisis of 2008, how technology like the iPhone is keeping us all permanently on ‘standby’ and the effect all of this accumulated stress is having on our collective mental and physical health. However, the author doesn’t just tell us why we’re all suffering at the hands of our hectic working lives; he provides practical advice on how to reduce stress and implement routines that lead to calmer periods of ‘downtime’ when work is over.

Time’s Up for Overtime

Rest by Silicon Valley strategist Alex Soojung-Kim Pang puts forward the idea that our best work is done when we are not actually working, busting the myth that the more time spent chained to our desks, the more productive we are. Having come close to burnout himself, Soojung-Kim Pang discovered it was only when he took an extended break from work that he began to naturally reach his goals and have his most inspired ideas. This prompted him to question the modern day work ethic, and come up with a list of his own requirements for productivity—good sleep, exercise, time for hobbies—that lead to a far greater output and a calmer state of mind.

Sleep it Off

Have you ever considered the impact of sleep on your physical and mental health? It seems obvious, but increasing numbers of us are not getting the shut-eye we need. In The Sleep Revolution, Arianna Huffington cites a rise in workaholism as one of the main contributors to sleep deprivation, with the working poor hit hardest. Not only do lower-class workers often have to work several jobs to make ends meet, reports show that poorer communities have a tendency to be noisier, making a good night’s sleep even harder to come by.

Wholly Mole

Your diet is responsible for so much more than what you give it credit for. With many of us cooking for ourselves at home more than ever before, now’s a great time to take a hard look at what we’re eating and the effect that different foods are having on our health. In The Whole30, we learn how to eliminate potentially problematic ingredients like sugar, dairy and alcohol and monitor the differences these food groups make to our mood, gut, levels of fatigue and energy, our skin and even our sleep patterns.

Power Down

In the last few years, meditation and mindfulness have become serious buzzwords. But there’s a reason for this recent increase in the popularity of finding inner calm. With lives overwhelmed by technology it’s harder than ever to get a bit quiet in our own minds, in particular when the line between work and free time is becoming increasingly blurred. Many have found that mindfulness is a route to decreasing anxiety, and, when practiced over time studies have shown that brain function improves and feelings of contentment increase. In Unplug, you’ll learn not only the short and long term benefits of fitting a short meditation into each day but also step by step guidance on getting started, so you can really ‘switch off’ at the end of a long day.

Get the Basics Right

In his book, Eat Move Sleep, author Tom Rath is all about the small changes we can make in our lives that will make significant and long-lasting improvements to how we feel physically and emotionally. Having personally battled a long-term serious illness to become a healthy and prosperous individual, Rath has a great deal of personal experience to draw from in terms of using diet and exercise to improve health. He argues that regardless of our genes, the healthy habits we adopt in life contribute hugely to our quality of life and overall life-expectancy.

Give Your Partner Presence

Problems in the bedroom are more common than we might think. In her book, Better Sex Through Mindfulness, Lori A. Brotto, PhD explores why stress and depression and a lack of attentiveness from a partner are the root causes of sexual problems for many people.
Her research has found that if a couple can learn to stay in the moment and not become distracted, they can make significant steps toward a more satisfying sex life. Using mindfulness as a tool to focus on the present, Brotto teaches readers to observe passing thoughts and enjoy physical sensations without getting distracted.

Mindful Munchies

In Mindless Eating, Brian Wansink seeks to expose some of the marketing and psychological tricks retailers and restaurateurs play on us which encourage us to spend more money or shop differently without our even knowing it. He then turns the tables to teach us how to harness these same tricks to use on ourselves, so we can enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet without feeling we are missing out. For example, we are more likely to feel full after eating a large meal, even if it has fewer calories in it. Armed with this knowledge, we can simply make our meals visibly larger using low-calorie ingredients and feel fuller, but not fatter, as a result.

Smoke Test

Many of us are reassessing our lives and health during this unique pause in our modern lives. One way this might manifest itself, along with vows of a healthier diet and taking more exercise, is to try to give up smoking. As any ex-smoker will tell you this is no easy feat, but Allen Carr has become famous worldwide for his unique approach to quitting smoking that has been proven time and again to help smokers give up for good. Carr’s The Easy Way to Stop Smoking dispels the illusions around cigarettes and smoking and by doing so he enables smokers to break the cycle of addiction permanently.

Are you feeling inspired to overhaul your diet or learn more about mindfulness and meditation? Perhaps all of this time at home has left you itching to get back into exercise and reap the physical and mental benefits of a rebooted body. Or maybe, you just want to get through lockdown without feeling any negative effects. However you decide to use this period of downtime, here at Blinkist we can highly recommend these books for guidance on getting through lockdown, and life in general, feeling fitter, calmer and more well-rested than ever before.

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