Top Tips for a Healthier Lockdown

Lockdown has been quite tricky and stressful for a lot of people, to help you and your colleagues cope with it as best as you can here are our tips for a healthier lockdown.

Try and Follow a Regular Routine

When you’re at home, whether you are working or not, it’s important to try to follow a regular routine as much as you can.Try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day, aiming for 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Schedule in lunch breaks, movement breaks, and time for relaxation even if your day is busy - these will help you be more productive in the long run.

Build Exercise into Every Day

Now is the time for the regular home workout that you have been promising yourself to get started on since January 1st! We know from plenty of research that regular exercise helps to manage anxiety and stress levels so it is bound to help you feel better in the long run.There are plenty of on-line exercise videos and websites available for every type of activity from yoga to weight lifting. Dust down the exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill and put it to good use. Plenty of people have taken up regular running and/or cycling during lockdown - join them and perhaps upload your efforts to Strava or similar to keep you motivated. You could even do some squats while waiting for the kettle to boil. It all helps. Aim for one hours exercise daily if you can.

Eat Well to Boost Your Immune System and Your Mood

Try not to turn to or rely on comfort and convenience foods too much – there are likely to be lots of ingredients in your cupboards to help you create some really tasty and wholesome meals. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to make sure you’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals. Remember fresh, frozen, dried and tinned options all count. Have regular meals at your usual meal time and limit snacking if you can. If you need to snack do so with things such as fruit and veggie sticks, unsalted nuts and seeds. You could consider taking a daily supplement of Vitamin D (10 micrograms). This is usually recommended in the winter months but as we are all indoors more it may be worthwhile.

Keep Hydrated

Getting enough fluids helps your body function properly and it is essential to maintain your hydration. If you are spending more time indoors central heating can dehydrate you. Recommendations usually advise you have about 6–8 glasses of fluid a day - preferably water. But drink a bit more if you’re exercising.

Avoid Excess

Worryingly, reports have suggested since lockdown started people are drinking alcohol considerably more than we usually do. It is tempting to use alcohol, caffeine, smoking or even recreational drugs as coping strategies to manage stress. These things will doubtless affect your sleep and in the long-run are likely to make your stress levels worse!

Slow Down - Take Time to Relax

You could consider utilising some aspects of 'mindfulness' to manage stress levels. Taking some slow deep breaths can help reduce anxiety levels and help you reset. Try breathing in for four counts, then hold your breath for four counts and breathe out for five counts. Take a moment to focus on the present moment, if you can go outside and spend a bit of time in nature - in your garden, or a local park. Listening to birdsong, looking at cloud patterns, hearing the rain or feeling the sun on your face are all known to be good for lowering your stress levels. If being outside isn't an option take five minutes to look at your houseplants or smell fresh herbs on your windowsill.

Stay Connected

There are still lots of ways you can stay connected with friends and family members try and call them regularly, using video call where possible. Losing contact with key people in your life at this time may well be detrimental to your mental health.If you know people who live alone, especially the elderly or those who are vulnerable, keep in touch with them by giving them a call.

Be Kind to Yourself

It’s natural to feel a whole range of feelings during such a time of uncertainty and change. Some days will be better than others. This is a time to be kind to yourself and others around you at these uncertain times. Be patient with yourself and hang in there!

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