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  • Writer's pictureKaye Cheong

Healthy Habits in a Pandemic by Physio Bernadette Emuang

Healthy Habits in a Pandemic by Physio Bernadette Emuang

Things in Malaysia have been pretty bleak due to the COVID-19 pandemic that started off in March 2020. Staying at home and even working from home for months on end can get many people down in the dumps, feeling both exhausted and unmotivated due to lack of mobility and lack of change. The four walls can sometimes feel like they’re caving in.

We at Relief Chiropractic hear you, and are here to support you during this pandemic both mentally and physically! We’ve curated for you a list of tips and healthy actions you can pick up from home - with some good ol’ science based evidence to help motivate you to take these steps.

1. Ease your anxiety with some breathing exercises

Breathing exercises are a common treatment intervention that we use at our clinic, because of their well known ability to ease anxiety (University of Michigan, 2020) and improve sleep quality (Fadl et al., 2020) Breathing exercises should be performed slowly, and can be done anytime, anywhere, everyday for about 10-15 breaths.

Here’s a simple technique you can try at home.

  • Sit or lie flat with knees bent, feet flat on the surface.

  • Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs.

  • Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out. Your chest should not move much.

  • Once your belly feels full, breathe out through pursed lips as if you were whistling.

  • Do this for five breaths. Take your time with each breath.

  • Notice how you feel, and repeat for another 1-2 rounds.

2. Nourish in the morning sun

The sunshine vitamin, also known as Vitamin D has some great benefits including regulating absorption of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus (that are key to having and keeping strong bones!) and facilitating normal immune function - ie against fighting diseases.

A study from the Journal of Internal Medicine also suggests a relationship between vitamin D supplementation and reduced markers of depression. (Jorde et al., 2008)

During this pandemic, where it is both a mental and physical fight against illness, we advise you to get some sunlight, either through your windows, garden or even through a short, safe walk around your neighbourhood! Don't forget to put on some sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays.

3. Stretch it out

If you are constantly working in this pandemic, a stretching routine is a great option for you! The implementation of regular stretching has been shown to be effective for reducing levels of anxiety, bodily pain and exhaustion, and for raising levels of vitality, mental health, general health and flexibility.

This type of intervention could be seen as a low-cost strategy for improving the well-being of workers (Montero-Marin et al., 2013) - perfect for you and your colleagues to do through FaceTime after a long day working from home.

With these tips, we at Relief Chiropractic aim to promote mobility and also steps in maintaining or improving mental health - in a safe and responsible way.

Do consult a healthcare professional such as a chiropractor or physiotherapist if you need further support or assistance in your healthcare journey!


Fadl Abd El Khalik, E., Mohammad Abd Elbaky, M., Ahmed Ahmed, N., & Hamza Taha Moursy, S. (2020). The Effectiveness of Using Breathing Exercise on Sleep Quality Among Hospitalized Patients. American Journal of Nursing Science, 9(4), 272.

Jorde, R., Sneve, M., Figenschau, Y., Svartberg, J., & Waterloo, K. (2008). Effects of vitamin D supplementation on symptoms of depression in overweight and obese subjects: randomized double blind trial. Journal of Internal Medicine, 264(6), 599–609.

Montero-Marín, J., Asún, S., Estrada-Marcén, N., Romero, R., & Asún, R. (2013). Efectividad de un programa de estiramientos sobre los niveles de ansiedad de los trabajadores de una plataforma logística: un estudio controlado aleatorizado. Atención Primaria, 45(7), 376–383.

Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation. Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation | Michigan Medicine. (n.d.).,to%20calm%20down%20and%20relax.

Facts about vitamin D. (2010).

Vitamin D and health. (n.d.).

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