As you may be aware, I have been absent from social media for quite a few weeks now and the main reason was to work on staying healthy and sane during this pandemic.
I’m someone who really struggles with my mental health, no matter how hard I work on it, I’ll always be prone to depression and anxiety. All the conversations, the news, the uncertainty has everyone feeling on edge and I wanted to protect myself from all that is going on. I have been keeping myself busy and working even more closely with my clients as well as working on my new business venture with Alex – Pawshtails.
I now feel like I am in a better position for a comeback on social media and I firstly wanted to share with you my top tips for staying healthy and sane during this pandemic!
Eat a variety of foods
Many of us felt the need to purchase large amounts of foods when this pandemic started, mostly long-life products which aren’t necessarily the healthiest (I’m talking cookies, crisps, high-sugar cereals, ready meals, etc). This has resulted in many people firstly eating unhealthy foods and secondly overeating out of boredom and the convenience of having something ready.
My recommendations to you are to make a plan for the week/month so you know what you need to purchase when doing your shop.
Try and mix it up as much as you can as it can be easy to get into a routine of alternating between 2-3 dishes.
Once you have your items, try to be strategic about the use of ingredients you use first to ensure nothing goes to waste. I have been freezing a lot of things to make sure it lasts and doesn’t end up going off before using.
Another important one to mention here is that one of the biggest excuses people make is that they don’t have time to eat healthy. Well now is your chance.
Whether you’re working from home or whether you’ve been furloughed, you’re not spending time travelling, you’re spending your lunchtimes at home rather than at work.
Now is the time to experiment. In my Body & Mind Programme, I provide hundreds of recipes, most of which take no longer than 30 minutes which have been a great help to my clients.
I like to prepare my ingredients either in the morning before my working day or during my lunch break so all I have to do at dinner time is cook and eat – and wash the dishes of course but it does make dinner time a lot quicker.
Move your body all day, every day
Physical activity benefits both the body and mind. We should aim for at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Whether it’s a walk outside or a home workout be sure to get it in!
For your home workouts, you don’t need any equipment, you’re able to create resistance with your own body weight by doing squats, lunges, planks, and push-ups or you could invest in some dumbbells, kettlebells or my most favourite piece of equipment – resistance bands! I use resistance bands a lot with my 1-1 clients as they take up no space, they can travel with them and they can give you one hell of a workout. Whichever form of exercise you choose, be sure to plan time in your day for it.
If you spend most of your time sitting down, be sure to stand up and move about every hour for at least 5 minutes. I usually spend most of my day standing up at my desk, window sill or kitchen cupboard as it’s the perfect height for me.
I also ensure that when I’m doing calls where I don’t need to write or be at my laptop that I do it walking about the house or with the glorious weather we’ve had, the garden.
Try and keep your body moving as much as you can and perhaps even fit in some time for stretching, especially if you are sat for most of the time.
Hydration means you need to drink plenty; however, I’ve been speaking with many people who have been drinking more coke, lemonade, tons of coffee etc instead of water. Be sure that your fluid intake consists of mostly water as it’s a simple way to limit your intake of sugar and excess calories.
On that note, I don’t know about you, but when I’ve had a hard day the first thing I say is “I need a wine”.
Again, I have spoken to many people that have been drinking way more alcohol than they usually do which isn’t ideal in these circumstances.
Alcohol affects your mental state and decision-making. It’s known to increase symptoms of depression, anxiety, fear and panic – symptoms that can intensify during isolation and self-quarantine.
Although it may seem like it, consuming alcohol is not a good coping mechanism, neither in the short nor long term, so try to keep alcohol to an absolute minimum.
Get into a routine
Many of us have had their life disrupted in more ways than we can imagine which is incredibly difficult to stay in our usual routine. We don’t have to wake up as early to drive to work, we don’t even need to get dressed or make an effort to do our hair or makeup, we don’t know what the hell is going on and we are taking each day as it comes.
Although there are a lot of uncertainties, we are still capable of getting into a routine. We still need to shower, eat, walk the dog, entertain the kids and some of us are still working and juggling it all.
Whatever it is, we can definitely put a plan in place and get into a routine.
I’ve been encouraging my clients to still wake up at the same time they usually would to go to work. This is the time you have to work on your exercise, preparing dinner, do your meditation, online shopping, clean the house or whatever it is that you need to do instead of getting ready and commuting to work. I guarantee that you’ll feel productive and in return this will have a huge impact on your mental state.
Reduce your stress and anxiety levels
Stress and anxiety are my biggest struggles. I thought I was alone in this until I started talking about it. This pandemic has caused pretty much every single person in the world to be stressed and anxious which is why I believe it is vital to talk about.
So here are a few things to help you out.
At the top of the list, we have to switch off the news. All we’ve been hearing about all day every day for the past two months is the death toll. People of all ages dying here there and everywhere. It’s happening and it’s depressing, but if that’s all you consume then you’re not helping yourself. I’ve found that listening to the 7 pm news and the prime minsters updates is just about enough. We need to know what’s going on in the world, but we don’t need to listen to it all day.
Another important note here is that if you are working from home and find it hard to switch off your work mind then try to dedicate an area for work, such as the spare bedroom and once you’ve finished work, close the door and leave it behind. If you don’t have a specific area try to remake a chill space for yourself by adding or moving house plants and lighting some candles. Alex and I have absolutely fallen in love with candles from Poshburn. They smell absolutely amazing and have become a regular for us to light on an evening.
Meditate, take 5-30 minutes to yourself to sit with your breathing and mind. Using apps such as Headspace or Calm can help guide you through a meditation practice which can massively improve the psychological, emotional, and physical quality of your life if practised regularly.
Last but not least, make time to connect with your family and friends. Human connection is more important than ever and it will help your mental health massively.
Get plenty of sleep
As most of us are not in our usual routine it is most important to ensure we get enough sleep as a lack of quality sleep can negatively affect both our physical and mental health as well as reduce our immune system’s ability to fight off infections.
It’s very tempting to stay up till 3 am watching Netflix series – I’ll hold my hands up and admit that I did this a couple of times during lockdown and paid for it the next day. But I highly recommend trying your absolute best not to do this and stick to your routine.
The tips mentioned above such as hydration, keeping active, meditation getting into a routine etc will absolutely help your improve your sleeping pattern.
So there we have it, I didn’t think this post would be so long, but I truly hope that it helps you.
Stay safe everyone!