The best practices for improving your health without having to try too hard.
Back in March 2020, The virus that-shall-not-be-named was a mysterious new infection that nobody understood. It felt like an exotic food item whose aroma just seemed to waft to our respective countries, piquing everyone’s curiosity: Ooh what is this?
All the leaders around the world were urging their people to increase their immunity to lower their chances of catching this virus.
So that’s what we did. “We” in this article refers to my family. The practices listed below are simple techniques and practices to follow. The hard part is showing up and doing it every day.
Don’t discount the small, easy, and do-able self-help practices. They’re the most important ones if done continuously over time.
“Most people need consistency more than intensity. Intensity makes a good story. Consistency makes good progress.”
1. Gargling with salt water
Medical professionals suggested this to avoid drying of the throat, which would only accelerate the virus. salt-water brings the water out of the tissues, which prevents dry throat, and also works like magic for cold and cough. It is said to flush out bacteria and viruses as well.
Researchers found that people who gargled with water several times a day were more than one-third less likely to catch a cold.
I absolutely hated everything about it. I felt like an old man in a village, holding a pot of warm water and gargling outside my hut before sunrise.
I wouldn’t have done this one, if not for my mother. She would ask me if I gargled every day, and there’s only so many times one can feel okay with fibbing to their mother.
How we do it:
We dissolve a spoonful of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle on an empty stomach first thing in the morning every day.
That’s all. 15 days or so and it becomes a habit.
2. Cooking the junk at home
Since the nation-wide lockdown, most food joints closed. A few, like dominoes and cream-stone were open, but we had clear instructions from my father that we were not to order any outside ready-to-eat-food.
So what did we do every time the craving for ice creams, pizza, or cake arose? Suck it up and learn to make it ourselves.
How we do it:
We’d go through cooking tutorials on youtube, make a list of ingredients required, and order them. Once they arrived, they’d be quarantined for three days after which we took them into the kitchen to start cooking.
Cooking junk food at home does not make it healthy, but it definitely makes it less trashy.
We also used a lot of healthy alternatives so that worked in our benefit too.
I can proudly say that I can now prepare a sweet dish or two without having to refer any guide or tutorial.
3. Drinking herbal tea
It’s a known fact that while regular milk tea can be harmful, drinking herbal tea reduces anxiety and boosts immunity.
During the lockdown, a lot of healthy tea recipes were popping up in everyone’s feed on social media. Again, there are many versions of the same herbal tea, but the important thing is to choose one and stick with it.
How we do it:
We fill two bottles worth of water in a vessel, add all the necessary ingredients, and put it on the back burner, while we focus on cooking meals for the day.
After approximately 25–30 minutes (yeah it takes some time), we simply sieve it and transfer it in a hot-cold bottle, and everyone drinks it at their own convenience.
What does meditation not help with? Some things don’t have a tangible link to immunity, like meditation. It’s all a process. You meditate, your stress reduces, you feel energetic, you are at peace, and Voila! your immunity improves all by itself!
How we do it:
All my family members gather in the hall for a 30-minute meditation session, twice a day.
Everybody assembles on time since we tune into live mediation sessions on The Art Of Living’s Youtube Channel, where Gurudev takes guided mediations every day.
These sessions are a lot of fun. Initially, Gurudev would also broadcast his zoom calls with prominent personalities from various fields of work, from government officials to corporate leaders, and movie stars to comedians which were very interesting and informative.
I, personally also tuned in to live guided meditation sessions by Jay Shetty and Sadhguru (The Isha Foundation) here and there.
Apart from this, I practice my Vipassana meditation technique at least 30 minutes a day.
(Wow. After typing this down I’m realizing I meditate quite a lot??)
5. Intermittent fasting
I swear by this one. You may or may not see the results of it soon, but there are definitely long term benefits of practicing intermittent fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting? It’s an eating pattern that oscillates between eating and fasting, or building and resting. There are many versions of this, but the most popular one is the 16:8 window, where you fast for 16 hours, and only consume food anytime within the 8hr window.
Intermittent Fasting has a multifold of benefits, but in regards to immunity; it works in a peculiar way. Fasting lowers one’s White Blood Cells, which triggers the immune system to produce more White Blood Cells.
Some people practice Intermittent fasting once a month, some twice a week, but for me, it’s a lifestyle. There are various time windows that you can choose from, you can even make one suiting your own needs and timings, which makes intermittent fasting the most fun and easy way to a healthy diet.
How we do it:
I follow the 16/8 version of this fast, more or less. My 16-hour window of fasting starts at 7:30 pm and ends around 12:00 pm.
I skip breakfast, simply because I’m not hungry in the mornings.
I open my fast with dates or some dry fruits and proceed to eat a crazy lunch fit for a king after fifteen minutes.
A small snack around 4 pm, dinner at 7:30 pm, start fast again, rinse and repeat.
To be able to achieve anything in life, you will require great health.
Without a healthy body, it is not only difficult to work towards our goals, but we cannot even be of service to the community we live in.
It’s important to prioritize your health and immunity, and although there is a multitude of options out there, it’s important to choose a few and stick to it with utmost dedication.
Nothing works unless we do, like a great man once said.