COVID-19: WHO offers physical and mental health advice

'During this difficult time, it's important to continue looking after your health'

COVID-19: WHO offers physical and mental health advice

In a media briefing last week (20 March), the World Health Organisation’s Director General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, shared tips on how to stay healthy amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

As WHO and governments globally work to manage the ongoing pandemic and prepare for its impact, Ghebreyesus believed it’s vital to also offer advice “for individuals around the world, especially those who are now adjusting to a new reality”.

“We know that for many people, life is changing dramatically,” he said. “My family is no different – my daughter is now taking her classes online from home because her school is closed.

“During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.”

Some health tips:

  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet to boost your immune system.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and avoid sugary drinks.
  • Don’t smoke. “Smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected.”
  • Adults should exercise 30min a day. Children, an hour.
  • If you’re working from home, get up and take a 3min break every 30min.
  • Look after your mental health.
  • Try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious.

READ MORE: COVID-19: How to safeguard mental health

“If your local or national guidelines allow it, go outside for a walk, a run or a ride, and keep a safe distance from others,” he said. “If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.”

He added it’s normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis, so talking to people “you know and trust” can help.

Showing compassion can also “help you as much as it does them” in this time of need. Ways you can do so involved supporting your community, checking in on neighbours, family and friends.

“COVID-19 is taking so much from us,” he said. “But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together.”


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