StoriesStartups22 April 20207 min

5 ways to boost your mental wellbeing during lockdown #WisdomWednesday

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We’re back with another dose of Wednesday wisdom to help get you through the corona crisis! Lockdown has been a challenging time for all of us, whether we’re cooped up alone or with others. That’s why this week we want to share some tips for taking care of your mental wellbeing. We’ll go over some mental health basics, and also share how Start it @KBC startups are supporting our quest to stay sane during this crazy time.

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#1 Move your body with 6Wolves

Everyone knows that exercise is essential for your health. To begin with, it strengthens your immune system: did you know that 150 minutes of exercise a week reduces your chance of catching the flu by 20%? Early studies also indicate that it could also reduce your chance of falling ill with COVID-19. But moving your body doesn’t just bring physical benefits: it can give your mood a huge boost as well. Physical movement creates a rush of good brain chemicals, including endorphins, which help reduce anxiety and depression. It also helps clear your head and burn off stress. All good reasons to exercise your way to happiness by creating small blocks of time every day to get moving.

That’s where 6Wolves comes in. The Belgian health and sports tech startup’s main mission is developing a wearable product to measure the quality of physical exercise. Right now however, they’re putting all their “business as usual” aside to throw themselves into the challenges of the moment. They wholeheartedly believe that sport and movement are crucial for getting through this tough period. They also get that working out is a little more difficult than usual for most people, with gyms closed and limited outdoor options. That’s where they want to lend a helping hand. With their pro bono project “MoveOut”, the three founders are offering people a tool that helps keep them moving during this lockdown period. Exercise can help relieve the mental pressure we’re currently experiencing!

#2 Eat healthy with Mealhero

Just as important as working out is a balanced diet. We know how tempting it is to snack a lot during lockdown (we see you stress eaters!) and order fast food through delivery apps. Soothing yourself with pizza and burgers may give you a bit of comfort during this crisis, but they can also wreak havoc on your body. Foods high in fat and sugar mess with your brain chemistry, cause inflammation and damage your gut. This can lead you to feel sluggish, moody and depressed, besides being linked to other psychological problems.

So how do you turn your diet around to power you through this crisis? First of all, get rid of processed foods and indulge in plenty of fresh produce instead. A daily dose of fresh fruits and veggies works wonders for your immune systems by pumping you full of vitamins and antioxidants. Healthy fats, or “brain foods” are also good: nuts, avocado and fatty fish for example. Finally, ditch fast-burning “white carbs” and replace them with high-fibre complex carbohydrates like quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes to give you energy without crashing afterwards.

We know, we know: how are you supposed to find time for preparing fresh meals between teleworking, home-schooled kids and needy pets? Luckily Mealhero is there to save the day. They give you a hand by making delicious healthy food a no-brainer: all you have to do is pick out your frozen fresh meals and ingredients. They deliver them to your door, along with a smart steamer that cooks your meals to perfection all by itself.

#3 Just breathe with moonbird

Meditation and breathing techniques are age-old methods to balance out your mind and spirit. Today they’re more relevant than ever, as lockdown has unleashed a torrent of anxiety and other negative emotions. But even though meditation has become part of mainstream culture, not everyone knows how to breathe properly to get the maximum benefits.

That’s why startup moonbird developed a device that calculates and indicates everyone's highly personal breathing rhythm. The moonbird is a compact device that guides personalised breathing exercises to help people relax, calm down and fall asleep faster. Even more good news: moonbird has organised a series of free webinars bursting with exercises and interesting insights. Watch it here!

#4 Sleep easy with Sleepability

Anxiety caused by the corona crisis means we’re not sleeping as well as we normally do. Various studies have found that we’re having trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night, as well as having more intense dreams. We need quality sleep to get us through this difficult time. It gives us a much-needed immune system boost and helps our body recover so we can take on a new day.

So how do we go about catching more z’s? Start out by practising good sleep hygiene. This means setting up some good evening habits: turn off your screens a good hour before hitting the hay, and take time to wind down by reading a book, drinking some herbal tea or taking a bath (which helps you fall asleep at least 7 minutes faster). Also a perfect time to get in your moonbird exercises! Then turn off the lights around the same time every evening. Want more tips for getting some quality slumber? Sleepability is coming to the rescue. This startup offers a range of sleep coaching services designed by experts. Over the next three weeks, they are going to help us all sleep better by sharing a new way to improve sleep during confinement each week. Check out their advice here.

#5 Stay connected with Beego

Another essential way to stay in good spirits throughout this ordeal is by leaning on friends and family. While some of us are more outgoing than others, we all need human connection to stay mentally well. Chatting with your peeps isn’t just for fun: it can lower anxiety and depression, help us regulate our emotions, and even improve our immune systems. While some of us are squeezed into confinement with our whole families, others are home alone. It’s important to reach out and make time for contact with others to get through lockdown with your mental health intact. Zooming with loved ones can be therapeutic, but even connecting with others that have similar hobbies or interests through social media can give us a sense that we’re part of a bigger whole.

Start it @KBC startup Beego is doing their part to keep us all connected: their service puts people in touch with students who can provide support for IT related problems. During the corona crisis they are offering their service remotely and completely for free!

What’s helping you stay mentally healthy during this challenging time? Share your tips!