There’s no doubt that during the difficult and challenging time we’re all facing, our stress levels will most likely be far higher than usual. As a result of the Government’s strict Coronavirus self-isolation directive, many of us will have to rapidly adapt to the dramatic changes in our usual routine. Since a large percentage of the UK population is now required to stay indoors for several weeks, finding constructive ways to motivate ourselves while keeping our bodies (and minds!) healthy and active is crucial..
Whether you live alone or with other family members, self-isolating can be a daunting and somewhat scary prospect so it’s important to develop a routine that works well for you and keeps your mind in a positive state. As such, viewing the increased time you’re spending at home as a positive opportunity to be more creative and productive is far better than focussing on the more restrictive aspects of isolation.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a brief list of our top 5 tips to keep you feeling on top of the world.
1. Who says housework sucks? Let’s get stuff done!
Developing an active routine is our number one tip to help alleviate stress and worry. If you set yourself tasks for each day that keep you busy, active and moving, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve achieved when the isolation is over. For example, reaching for the duster or vacuum cleaner isn’t everyone’s idea of fun but what better time to give the place a good going over? We always recommend that our clients keep themselves active as much as possible and since Spring is in the air, now is the perfect time to give your home a good old fashioned ‘spring clean’. Go on, put some music on, grab the hoover and get cracking…no excuses now!
Not only will a top to bottom clean up burner off plenty of calories, you’ll have the satisfaction that you’ve got the job done and can now tick it off your “to-do” list. If cleaning isn’t your thing and it’s warm and sunny outside, put the cleaning off for a rainy day and nip outside into the garden (if you have one) and give the grass its first cut of the summer, pull up some weeds and trim a few branches. Alternatively, things like sorting out the loft, tidying the garage, painting and decorating are excellent alternatives. Whatever it is, we really can’t emphasise enough the benefits of staying active during these tough times so, try and set aside time each day for any activity that will keep you busy and on the move.
2. Avoid overeating due to stress or boredom
In our previous emotional eating post, we highlighted stress and boredom as two of the prime candidates that can lead to overeating. During the difficult time of isolation we’re all facing, it’s tempting to use food as a comfort blanket to alleviate either one or both of these factors. If you haven’t read the post then you may not be aware that heightened levels of stress cause very real changes to take place within our bodies. This can manifest itself in an increase in cortisol a steroid hormone) that, when released into the bloodstream, can help us deal more effectively with stress and potential danger by increasing the body’s metabolism of glucose, controlling blood pressure and reducing inflammation. The net result is often a craving for sugary and/or fatty foods in order to give us an instant “hit” and boost our energy levels.
Similarly, boredom can often lead us to grab a snack just to pass the time. It’s an easy habit to develop but a difficult one to break so avoiding buying tasty, high-calorie snacks in the first place is a good way to start. If you need to make an essential trip to the shops during the current “lockdown”, make sure to avoid the sections of your local store that contain unhealthy foods.
3. Experiment in the kitchen
Our previous tip dovetails perfectly into number 3 in our list; getting creative in the kitchen. Although your local supermarket may have been plundered by worried shoppers concerned about having enough food in the house, most stores take regular deliveries of fresh fruit and veg so will usually have a constant supply of high-quality food available. Who cares if there’s no pasta or tinned tomatoes when you can rustle up are seriously healthy stew packed with fresh ingredients that will last you several days? So why not grab yourself an untried and appealing recipe online and get cracking in the kitchen?
4. Take advantage of the opportunity to exercise
As you’ll probably already know, exercising regularly is good for you in so many different ways. Even moderate exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes and even cancer by up to 50% and also reduce your risk of an early death by up to 30%. Regular physical activity can help boost your self-esteem, improve your mood and your sleep quality as well as helping you feel more energetic. It can also help reduce your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Since being stuck indoors, day-in and day-out for the immediate future is the reality of the here and now, why not seize the opportunity and opt for some form of exercise either indoors, in your garden or by taking advantage nipping outside for one long stroll every day? Whichever option is right for you, you’ll almost certainly feel better for it.
If you prefer, there are plenty of alternative ways to exercise that are available via the internet. Many fitness instructors are now doing live workouts at the moment on social platforms such as Facebook and Youtube and you can take part, knowing that thousands of other viewers around the world will be working out alongside you right there and then. These are quite often scheduled at a set time throughout the day, allowing you to make the most of developing a daily fitness routine.
5. Keep your mind active
Although not directly related to staying fit, active and healthy physically, it’s worth noting that giving your brain a good workout is also enormously beneficial to your overall wellbeing. Staying inside for extended periods can be tough to deal with psychologically so it’s vital to keep on top of how you’re feeling mentally as well as physically. Mental stimulation can come in any number of ways, from jigsaws, crosswords, quizzes and so on, but there are also platforms such as Facebook that can provide multiple opportunities to interact with friends and loved ones by playing quizzes and games against each other. If quizzes aren’t your thing or you’re not on Facebook, there are a whole heap of mobile phone apps to keep your mind occupied. From pool, archery, driving games or chess, the list is almost endless and you’ll be able to play against other players from all over the planet – many of them in the same situation we’re all finding ourselves in now!
So there you have it, being stuck indoors needn’t be gloomy or depressing if you fill your spare time with activities that you wouldn’t normally do. In fact, you may even discover that it can actually be quite enjoyable.