Street scene during lockdown 2.0

How to look after your mental and physical health

After lots of governmental procrastination, we now all have to live with tighter restrictions again until at least the 2nd December. In the spring we were lucky with the beautiful weather, but now we’re faced with the dull, grey, damp days of winter. So now, more than ever, it is really important to look after ourselves both mentally and physically, and how do we do that?

1. Structure and routine

The certainty in our lives pre-COVID has now gone. Our worlds have shrunk, we can’t travel or physically see the people who matter in our lives. In some ways we are literally having to take one week at a time, or a day at time for some. Structure will give more certainty, familiarity and framework to create a healthy routine. Create a plan of how you want your weekdays and weekend days to look like. What you want to do when.

2. Healthy eating with treats

Now more than ever it’s really important to eat a healthy diet. Make sure you’re eating lots of healthy proteins: meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, dairy and plant-based dairy. If you don’t eat many veggies at the moment, eat more and eat a variety of colours and have no more than 3 pieces of fruit per day. Watch your sugar, processed food, and alcohol intake, maybe save these for the weekend – everything in moderation. Now it’s winter and we want to eat more carb, it is so easy to get into the emotional eating and drinking cycle. We feel the need to treat ourselves more to feel better, but this is where the ‘pandemic pounds’ slowly creep on. Plan your meals to make sure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet.

3. Exercise

With gyms closing for the immediate future if you hate exercising outdoors then go online. Many personal trainers and fitness teachers have pivoted to offering sessions and classes by Zoom. Or just go on YouTube – there are loads of free workouts for you to try, anything from Joe Wicks to Yoga with Adriene. It’s really important to make sure you keep active, not just to keep fit but it also benefits your mental health. Try standing up to work, if you haven’t got a standing desk, use the kitchen counter or even your ironing board.

4. Get outside

Get out in the fresh air during the day for either a walk or run. Being out in the daylight and in green space such as a park or in the countryside is again good for your mental health. It gets you out of the house, gives you a change of environment, and keeps your steps up.

5. Sleep

Make sure you’re getting enough shut eye because sleep is the foundation to your health, so you need to prioritise it. Have a good bedtime routine. Relax before bedtime remembering to stop using your tech at least 90 minutes before going to sleep. Go to bed more or less at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, even at weekends. Also, please don’t use your tech devices in the bedroom!

6. Connection

It’s time to reconnect with those people you haven’t managed to see for a while. Check in with them and make sure they’re alright. Whether it’s by phone, video call or even in writing. If they’re local, you can still meet outside as long as you are socially distanced.

The world has gone a bit crazy and has touched all of our lives to varying degrees of severity. We can only control we can control, the rest we have to let go. If you’re struggling, make sure you talk to someone, whether it’s a family member, friend or colleague or someone independent. Do not suffer alone in silence.

7. Media detox

Try and avoid getting hooked into the news at the moment. If you feel it’s having an adverse effect on you, just keep up to date with headlines on a need to know basis. It’s easy to get sucked into the negativity of what’s going on in the world. If social media is doing the same, cut back on your consumption or be selective on what you’re looking at. Instead watch or listen to something more upbeat and inspiring such TED Talks, podcasts or music.

8. Get inspired

Out of bad comes good, there are lots of resources for us to tap into to make sure we get through Lockdown 2.0.

Here are a few of our favourites which are all free:

  • Action for Happiness – they produce a monthly themed calendar to help us focus on the more positive things within our lives.
  • Frindow – a platform for making friends whether you’re a parent, under 25, a singleton, living alone or retired. It’s a great way to connect with loads of new people and combat loneliness.
  • Joe Wicks – The Body Coach – love him or hate him – but we love him! He has loads of free workouts on his YouTube channel for all levels of fitness. You could do a different workout every day for a few months with the amount of content he has. His workouts range from 7 minutes to 30 minutes.

At Wake Up With Zest we are here to help you and your staff navigate through the lockdown and pandemic by looking after your mental and physical wellbeing.

Ask about our latest webinars and our monthly wellbeing resource, the Zest Wellbeing Hub.