Health And Well-Being Tips For The Coronavirus Lockdown
The Coronavirus lockdown is a very challenging time for many. However, there are ways in which we can try to turn it to our advantage if we’re mindful of how we spend it, whilst the weeks roll on. Here are some health and well-being tips for the coronavirus lockdown to help you look after yourself, have some fun, help others to get through this time, ensure you have adequate rest whilst using your time constructively. It’s very much about looking after ourselves and those around us both physically and mentally.
Tip 1: Comfort eating happens! We’re only human. Sometimes we feel it’s all we have when we’re going through a difficult time, and food is all around us. Try to get curious about what’s going on for you in the moment though- is there something else you specifically need to support yourself emotionally? Ask yourself: “What do I need right now?” Emotional eating (and drinking) can be telling you that you need something (other than food/drink).
Tip 2: If you’re feeling unmotivated, be kind to yourself and do something you feel like doing. Get that balance between doing things you SHOULD be doing and doing things you WANT to do. Also make sure you don’t work long hours to feel ‘normal’- schedule in some rest time too to avoid feeling stale or exhausted. If you’re the type that feels guilty doing nothing, tell yourself that time doesn’t always need to be filled. Try ‘being’, rather than ‘doing’.
Tip 3: Create a new routine for yourself if you’re not normally at home much- compartmentalise your day if you like to break things up. If you like variety, then vary your new routine too!
Tip 4: Feeling unproductive? If you’re the proactive, ‘loves-to-be-doing’ type, perhaps you feel your days are lacking structure and are unfulfilling. If you want to get more done, try getting up earlier a few days of the week, if it helps to give you a sense of normality, and plan each day to help you get things done. By setting your alarm a few days a week it may help you to achieve more of what you need to do (whilst others in the house are still asleep). Maybe tackle those things you don’t normally have time to do.
Tip 5: Create structure in your day, as well as some daily goals- when we set intentions in advance we’re more likely to do them. What do you need to specifically do today for both your mental and physical well-being? If you find your days are becoming consumed by TV or social media, try limiting TV viewing to evenings only and have breaks from social media by leaving your phone in another room.
Tip 6: If you’re feeling the urge to nibble on food, try to structure your eating with 3 meals and 1-2 snacks- plan your food for the day rather than leaving what you eat to chance. Putting a specific amount of food on a plate rather than grabbing food here and there can help you to track your eating. Don’t kid yourself that you’re eating less food if you skip meals and graze all day- mouthfuls here and there really add up! Also try to eat a balanced, varied diet, as a diet high in sugar and saturated fat and low in nutrients can have a negative impact not just on how we feel physically but mentally too, affecting mood and brain function.
Tip 7: At this challenging time, perhaps you need to lower your expectations of yourself. Perhaps modify your goals to take the pressure off yourself. On the other hand, you might find this current time is a great opportunity to create and achieve new goals. Whatever works for YOU.
Tip 8: Balance any necessary tasks/chores with enjoyable activities to help you feel a sense of achievement as well as pleasure. This is a great time to do some gardening or have a major throwing-out session (loft, rooms, garage, garden shed).
Tip 9 The fun factor: laughter and silliness are good for the soul! Board games with family, online fun with others, online gaming, share funny photos or videos via social media, play some games in your garden, watch a funny film or watch funny videos on YouTube.
Tip 10: If you’re the sociable type, stay in touch as much as you can with people- for example, online catch ups or video chats, have a socially distant glass of wine with your neighbour sitting at a sensible distance in your own gardens (within earshot)!
Tip 11: As well as supporting yourself through this time, how can you help someone else? For example, helping kids with schooling, doing some voluntary work, doing some long-awaited DIY project for your partner, phoning a lonely person, cooking a tasty meal for members of your household, spending some quality time with someone who needs some fun or company (household member or a friend online).
Tip 12: Home cooking- try out some new recipes, or cook more of what you don’t normally have time to cook. If you’re finding yourself doing more baking, enjoy making a few treats but try not to use it as an excuse to overindulge on baked goods, if you don’t want to gain excessive weight during this period.
Tip 13: Use your brain- stimulate that mind (eg puzzles, (online) trivia quizzes, learn something new, plan, design or create something new, watch some educational programmes or YouTube videos).
Tip 14: To help you stay positive, it can help to do a gratitude exercise: What 3 things are you grateful for today? What’s been really good about today?
Tip 15: If you’re more sedentary than usual, take advantage of your daily quota of exercise. Regular movement and stretching benefits both body and mind.
Tip 16: You may not need to set your alarm, but avoid too many late nights as lack of sleep can affect mood and increase appetite and sugar cravings.
Tip 17: You may not be able to control the current situation, but remember that you can control your thoughts about it and your attitude towards it. Let the situation BE- don’t fight it. Use it to your advantage.
Tip 18: See lockdown as ‘slowdown’- this is an opportunity for you to pause, reflect, get some insight and clarity about yourself and your life. Is there anything you’d like to change about your life, whether it’s aspects of your lifestyle, starting projects or making time for hobbies, assessing your relationships with others, considering career changes or your attitude towards life in general? Most of us are normally running around leading hectic lives, operating on ‘autopilot’ with very little time to pause and reflect, so maybe this is a real chance to take stock, start thinking in new ways and perhaps make some plans for yourself in preparation for when this period is over.
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