10 ways to stay healthy and happy in lockdown
1. Set yourself a daily routine
Adapt your usual routine to your current lockdown situation to give your day structure. This will help you feel more accomplished.
Get out of bed at the same time each day and go to be at roughly the same time each night. Aim for 8 hours sleep a night.
Schedule your coffee, lunch, social and family breaks.
Make time for exercise. Walking, on-line classes and gentle stretching are all highly beneficial. Or perhaps try some meditation or breathing exercises.
2. Eat nourishing foods
Eating nourishing foods is important for your physical and mental health.
Aim to eat five cups of vegetables a day and 1-2 pieces of fruit.
Have regular meals and stick to healthy snacks and portion sizes.
Preparing a vegetable grazing platter for everyone to snack on, add hummus, cheese, nuts and seeds.
Make some protein balls and keep them in the freezer.
If you are tempted by junk food or have a weakness for chocolate don't keep it in the house. And look for healthy varies of your favourites eg: Swap potato chips for kale chips and pea nuts for roasted chickpeas.
3. Keep hydrated
Staying hydrated in winder can be challenging.
Keep a jug or drink bottle by your desk or with you all day. Use an app to remind you to take a drink.
If you don't like drinking plain water add some lemon, lime or mint.
Herbal tea counts as water intake and can have added health benefits:
Licorice and cinnamon tea helps balance blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings
Lemon Balm tea helps reduce anxiety
Ginger tea improves digestion and circulation
Chamomile is calming
4. Avoid excess
It can be easy to form bad habits as a way of coping. While these might feel like they are helping you deal with the situation, they often make you feel worse in the long run.
Watch your coffee intake. Limit your coffee intake to 1 or 2 each day, never after 2 pm and when you drink your coffee, drink it mindfully, in a relaxed setting and enjoy every sip.
Watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption during lockdown in 2020 increased by 40%. Excess alcohol impacts your sleep, gut health and weight management.
Ensure you have at least 3 alcohol free nights each week and limit your intake on those other nights.
If you are struggling to reduce your alcohol intake try some alcohol-free drinks to replace your alcoholic version.
Take a magnesium and Vitamin B supplement before sleep when you have alcohol to replenish the nutrients diminished by alcohol consumption.
5. Take time to switch off
It is important to stay informed of the latest news, however, having the revolving news on all day can contribute to anxiety as well as feelings of fear and anger.
Also take some time away from social media and your phone.
Replace these activities with audio books, podcasts or music or find a new hobby with an on-line activity such as a cooking demonstration, learn to knit or a writing class.
6. Spend time outside in sunshine
Take time to be in nature if you can. If you can go outside, then go for a walk or run in a green space. If you can't leave your house, just looking out of your window can help.
Get some sunshine. We need sunshine to make Vitamin D and through winter our vitamin D levels usually decrease. Vitamin D is important for bone health, immune health and cardiovascular health. If you are not able to get sufficient time in the sun during lockdown a Vitamin D supplement may be recommended.
7. Maintain relationships
Many of us have been apart from some of our loved ones for a long time now. This can be very difficult and upsetting. Try to keep in regular contact using phone or video calls if you can. Writing letters or sending cards might also be a nice change if you're feeling tired of video calls.
If you know people who live alone, especially the elderly or those who are vulnerable, keep in touch with them as best you can.
8. Set yourself a goal
Use the lockdown time in a positive way. Set yourself a realistic goal during this time, whether it be to increase your water intake, improve your nutrition, work on stretching, learn to meditate, learn to cook or improve your garden. Make your goal realistic and something you enjoy and schedule it into your daily routine.
9. Be kind
It's natural have ups and downs in times of uncertainty and change. Some days will be better than others. This is a time to be kind to yourself and to those around you.
10. Seek support
For many people, the idea of going into a stricter lockdown may feel overwhelming. You might feel sad, anxious, stressed or angry. How you feel might also change as time goes on. If you are struggling, make sure you reach out to somebody and talk about how you're feeling.
Lifeline and Beyond Blue have help available via phone lines, on-line chats, email and on-line forums. Black Dog Institute runs on-line workshops, forums, support group and more.
Lifeline crisis support is 13 11 14