COVID-19 has undoubtedly hit the reset button on most of our lives. Amidst major lockdowns, curfews and almost ever-present anxiety, there are various habits that all of us have been pushed to adopt to get over this pandemic as quickly as possible.

While some of these habits - like social distancing - are new to us, others like properly washing and sanitizing our hands are things we've known about for a long time. Additionally, while these habits are absolute crucial right now, most of them will continue to be useful even afterwards - once we've defeated this new coronavirus infection.

Here is a list of 10 such habits you should adopt during the COVID-19 pandemic and keep doing even after this COVID-19 threat subsidies:

  1. Wash hands in six steps, for 20 seconds or more
  2. Maintain personal and environmental hygiene
  3. Eat healthy to fight infections
  4. Exercise to keep mind and body fit
  5. Spend time with family and friends
  6. Wash meats separately
  7. Take your health seriously
  8. Give as much importance to your mental health as your physical health
  9. Question every health fact you hear
  10. Learn to take care of sick people

Contaminated hands serve as a carrier for some of the most common pathogenic organisms. These mostly include food-borne pathogens that spread through the faecal-oral route like E.Coli, Salmonella and respiratory pathogens such as the flu virus and SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.

Harmful microbes can also latch onto your palms when you use the toilet or change a baby’s diaper. (As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA, there are about one trillion germs in only a gram of faeces.) And if you touch any surface with contaminated hands - for example, after sneezing or coughing into your hands, or after coming out of the toilet - it would transfer some of the germs to those surfaces too.

If you wash your hands properly with soap and water, you can significantly reduce the risk of all of these conditions and prevent the formation of new fomites (contaminated everyday use things that can spread the infection). 

Read more: The right way to wash your hands to avoid coronavirus infection

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Good hygiene is one of the building blocks of good health. 

Personal hygiene includes everything from washing your hands and bathing to oral hygiene care like brushing your teeth the right way.

On the other hand, environmental hygiene includes cleaning and disinfecting all the surfaces around you. This especially includes all the surfaces that can act as a hub for microbial growth like kitchen shelves, doorknobs, bathrooms and toilets. Also, office desks and all the frequently used instruments like the coffee machine and the photocopier. Studies show that if there is a sick person in the office, he/she will spread the germ to almost every surface in the office by lunchtime.

Clearly, skipping on either your personal or environmental hygiene may make you prone to other infections.

Make sure to bathe daily, brush your teeth twice a day and wash your hands every time you are about to cook or eat, after you've played with a pet and after going to the loo. 

Do not sneeze or cough into your hands. Instead, use a tissue or the bend of your arm. Don’t forget to properly discard the tissue after use.

Read more: How does COVID-19 spread?

A healthy diet plays an important role in maintaining health and immunity. It significantly reduces your risk of non-communicable diseases like obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. And in case of an infection or a disease, your immune system needs more energy and nutrients to be able to function properly. The World Health Organization recommends that you should include a variety of food in your diet to maintain good health. Such as:

  • Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Cereals such as wheat, rye and barley and starch (potatoes and cassava) in your diet.
  • Animal products like eggs, fish and meat

Also, reduce your sugar and salt intake and the intake of saturated and trans fats - in short everything that makes up junk food.

Vitamin C helps to boost immunity. However, it is a myth that vitamin C can prevent COVID-19. Eat fresh seasonal fruits like bananas, mangoes and oranges to get enough of this water-soluble vitamin throughout the year to stay healthy. You can also drink lemon water once a day to get this vitamin.

Read more: Balanced diet chart

When experts said that exercise is a good way to boost your immunity and be safe from COVID-19, everyone was suddenly conscious about their workout routine. However, working out regularly is not a strategy to fight pandemics only, it is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. 

Exercise or physical activity helps maintain weight, keeps your heart healthy and reduces your recovery time from common diseases. It also improves mood, keeps up your energy levels and helps you sleep better.

Make sure to keep up your exercise routine even after this COVID-19 threat subsides.

Read more: Fitness components and benefits

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The COVID-19 lockdown has made most people spend a lot of time with their families and closed ones - something that none of us had enough time for before. Experts say that family time has benefits for people of all ages and it improves communication between family members. 

According to the Harvard Medical School, healthy and strong relations are as effective as a good diet and a healthy lifestyle for your overall health. It reduces your risk of conditions like depression, stress and anxiety and slows down cognitive decline and dementia later in life.

Family time also reduces your risk of heart diseases and increases your life expectancy. 

Since the Wuhan meat and seafood market was considered to be a possible source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the causative agent of COVID-19, a lot of people quit eating meat altogether or started to follow all the precautions to prevent the infection from animal meat. 

It is not known whether COVID-19 spreads through meat - the European Food Safety Authority has said that there is no evidence on whether the disease spreads through food or not. However, it is important to understand that there are a lot of other pathogens that can spread through contaminated meat and animal products in general. These include Salmonella, E.coli, and viruses like norovirus. These pathogens can cause gastrointestinal problems including diarrhoea.  

So, it is best to wash, chop and store all kinds of meats separately and keep them away from fresh fruits and vegetables at all times.

One of the most important things that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught everyone is one should always take their health seriously and not ignore any signs of distress or unease. 

Sure, you can always take medications and live a seemingly healthy life even when you have a disease but that is not equivalent to an actually healthy body. Besides, your health affects everyone in your immediate family and your dear ones. Chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension increase the financial burden on families.

So, make sure you get all your regular medical checkups done on time and don’t miss a doctor’s appointment, especially if you are already suffering from a chronic disease.

Have your clinical history with you and know the clinical history of your family. The latter because a lot of diseases travel in families, if someone in your family has a history of any disease, your doctor would know what to look for and how to keep you safe from it or delay it, whichever is possible.

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Most of us talk about anxiety and depression and the importance of focusing on our mental health - but a lot of this talk is only theoretical.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, constant news and updates about the virus, the rising number of cases and the delay in finding an appropriate treatment made a lot of us very anxious - some of us even made a conscious effort to look for mental health tips during self-quarantine. In short, the pandemic made us realise that we need to actively take care of our mental health - we can't just take it for granted.

Mental health is not just about avoiding stress, it includes your psychological, social and emotional well being. Stress is just a sign of deteriorating mental health - like reduced immunity is a sign of deteriorating physical health.

A good or positive mental health helps improve your productivity and realise your full potential. 

So, look for all the signs of mental distress including an inability to sleep, low energy, feeling isolated or isolating oneself, and sadness. And act on them before they turn into a health condition - most mental health conditions ultimately affect your physical health.  

Even after the pandemic, try and take out some me-time every day - just a few minutes would work.

If we have learnt one thing from this pandemic, it is that the myth-machine is only too happy to fuel panic. Don’t blindly trust anything you read on social media, see on TV or hear from random people and absolutely do not share any arbitrary information with anyone unless you are sure it is true. Do your own research and form an opinion. Find credible sources and spread correct information whenever you can.

Read more: Coronavirus myths busted

One of the most important things that a lot of us would have realised in this pandemic is how helpless we are when told to take care of someone who is sick - often, we don’t know a single thing about it. Sure, timely medications and doctor visits are important but the comfort of the patient and home-based care are also important to promote a speedy recovery. Experts suggest the following pointers that you should keep in mind while taking care of a sick person:

  • Make sure that the patient can take ample rest in a quiet and comfortable place which has enough air circulation.
  • The patient should take a bath or be bathed every day since cleanliness is important to avoid microbial growth.
  • In most diseases, patients are asked to maintain their fluid balance by taking enough water and liquids including tea, broths and juices.
  • The patient should take healthy food and do some exercise (if they can).

Read more: Tips on taking care of a COVID-19 patient at home

Medicines / Products that contain 10 lifelong habits to adopt during the COVID-19 pandemic


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [internet]. Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Show Me the Science - Why Wash Your Hands?
  2. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Handwashing - why it's important
  3. Health direct [internet]: Department of Health: Australian government; Personal hygiene
  4. Vikaspedia [Internet]. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology: Government of India. India; Environmental hygiene.
  5. Childs Caroline E.,Calder Philip C., Miles Elizabeth A. Diet and Immune Function. Nutrients. 2019 Aug; 11(8): 1933. PMID: 31426423.
  6. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; Healthy diet
  7. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. US National Library of Medicine. Bethesda. Maryland. USA; Benefits of Exercise
  8. South University [Internet]. Savannah. Georgia. US; The Advantages of Family Time
  9. Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School [internet]: Harvard University; The health benefits of strong relationships
  10. European Food Safety Authority [Internet]. Parma. Italy; Coronavirus: no evidence that food is a source or transmission route
  11. John Hopkins All Children's Hospital [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System; One Body in this Life. So You better take care of it!
  12. John Hopkins All Children's Hospital [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System; One Body in this Life. So You better take care of it!
  13. Mental [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Washington, D.C. US; What Is Mental Health?
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