So, here we are in Lockdown 3.0 and let’s hope this will be the final in the trilogy!
2020 was certainly a challenging year and it looks as if 2021 has got off to a bumpy start. We do, however, have lots of hope on the horizon and thanks to our amazing scientists, the vaccines have provided us all with light at, what has felt like, a very long, dark tunnel.
I thought it may be useful to share a few tips for “wellbeing through lockdown life”; so, here are my top ten:
1. Start your day the way you mean to go on
Let’s face it, it can be so easy to get into bad habits. The lockdown lifestyle is something we all need to address pretty quickly, before those unhelpful behaviours start to set in and take their grip. Getting up, getting dressed and starting our day the way we want it to go on will help us to feel more motivated, energised and confident. Sprucing ourselves up can be really good for our self-esteem and a positive kick start to the day.
2. Diarise some time for rest and recovery
When it comes to the all-important “me time” and self-care, it may not happen if we don’t plan it in. Time bandits can come along and, before we know it, we reach the end of the day feeling a bit frazzled! Booking in meetings with ourselves for some rest and relaxation will really help us to ensure we recharge our batteries and then we will be much more productive in the long term. Personally, I started my year by factoring in a hot “grated ginger and lemon” tea date with myself, once a day, to just take some time to be a human being, as opposed to a human doing!
3. Chop up some healthy snacks to keep in the fridge
At the beginning of the pandemic and the first lockdown, someone said to me “I really need to social distance from my fridge, let alone people”. I knew exactly how they felt as “fridge gazing” can become a bit of a habitual pastime. So, a good bit of advice is to chop up some crunchy vegetables and delicious fruit and keep them in a tub in the fridge, so we have convenient and healthy snacks readily available when the munchies strike!
4. Keep hydrated
Water may not be the drink of choice; however, keeping hydrated is one of the best things that we can do to keep healthy and it is vital for all our bodily functions. An important part of flushing out bacteria is the actual flushing! It’s easy to get dehydrated, without even being aware of it and keeping hydrated helps us feel more alert and energised. In the winter, delicious herbal teas can be a great way to get our water quota too and there are some delicious flavours about to experiment with.
5. Get outside at least once a day
Exercise is highly beneficial for our mental health and overall mood. Even on a cold day, it is so important to wrap up and go for an energising walk. Even if we only walk around the block, it can make us feel so much better. Breathing in fresh air and absorbing natural daylight is especially important in the winter months. The cooler weather is great for invigorating and stimulating the senses and wrapping up in lots of warm soft fabrics can make us feel really comforted against the cold air too.
6. Get moving
“Motion is the lotion” and movement provides us all with healthy joints, strong bones, good circulation, coordination and reflex reactivity, as well as cognitive agility and concentration. It is also really important for our emotional wellbeing. Getting into the habit of getting up and moving about is really important.
Stretching is an excellent mood-boosting activity. Apart from the physiological benefits, such as increased flexibility and the reduced chance of injury, stretching has other benefits too. It helps release neurochemicals in the brain, like serotonin, which is the primary chemical associated with joy and elation. Putting on some music and dancing about to your favourite track can be a great way to incorporate more physical activity into your day and is such fun.
I have recently got into rebounding on a mini trampoline and can’t recommend it highly enough! There are so many health benefits and it’s great for stress relief. My dog Elvis however has also decided it make a great bed!
7. Create little islands of sanctuary in your day
A little bit of pampering and treating ourselves to something that we really enjoy can be a great way to lift our spirits. This could be anything from cooking ourselves a delicious meal with a new recipe, snuggling up in front of our favourite TV programme or reading a good book. Personally, I love a relaxing soak in the bath with some scented bath oil and candles, with Alexis Ffrench (my favourite composer) playing in the background and a glass of wine (weekends only!)
8. Check in with friends and family
We are social creatures and having interaction with others is important so that we stay and feel connected. Just picking up the phone and having a quick chat can boost our energy. Whilst we may not be able to do some of the things we love doing at the moment, reliving a fun memory with someone, or chatting about something we may like to do in the future, can lift our spirits and make us feel better.
9. Do not believe everything that is out there!
We live in the era of information explosion and the terms “information overload” and “information anxiety” are both something I hear being used more and more. There is so much being thrown at us, especially via various media channels and it can be totally confusing and create a great deal of unwanted anxiety and stress, if we allow it to overwhelm us.
Social media can also be a playground for gossip and fact distortion, so it’s wise to adopt the mantra of “I am not going to believe everything I read, hear, or even watch” as deep fake images have proven. Avoid taking things at face value, challenge fake news, apply your critical thinking skills and avoid getting involved with gossipmongers and doom goblins!
10. Let the laughter in
Laughter is one of the best stress relievers and it’s free! Having a good laugh can decrease stress hormones and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Even in really challenging times, it helps us to seek out humour, whether it’s chatting with someone who makes us laugh, watching our favourite funny programme or reading a light-hearted book. Laughter has so many benefits and can be such a great tonic, as well as help us to relax.
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