When the UK first entered a lockdown, working from your sofa seemed pretty appealing. No more hectic commute to and from the office, the lunchtime dash to Pret will now be replaced with freshly cooked meals and if you need a snack, of course, your fruit bowl will be filled with organic goodness.
However, if after almost 10 weeks, your motivation to stay productive and healthy throughout lockdown is waning, we understand! Which is why we’re here to tell you, don’t stress! We are living through a pandemic and uncertain times won’t get easier if you’re adding pressure to eat and behave a certain way.
As a starting point, we suggest focusing on simply balancing out the physical and mental effects of being confined to our homes. With some simple changes, you could feel a lot more like your old self and immediately less stressed about not getting up for your 7 am meditation alarm (extra sleep will do wonders too!). Plus, when the time comes to return to our pre-COVID-19 routine, you won’t feel like you’ve taken 10 steps back with your health and fitness goals. Here are our ideas for helping you feel more like you…
1. Find a window for calm
Finding 10 minutes to sit in peace and focus on quieting your thoughts, could leave you feeling energised and more clear-minded. But don’t feel guilty if your head is feeling too jumbled to sit alone with your thoughts, just find calm another way.
Whether it’s getting off your phone before bed and spending 20 minutes reading or listening to a feel-good podcast, booking in a non-negotiable moment for yourself will help soothe the mind and eliminate the negative vibes, which, ultimately, will support your ability to sift out the panicky thoughts causing you to feel stressed while in lockdown.
2. Don’t let your digestion get lazy
Physical activity helps your digestive system move optimally and its ability to absorb the maximum micronutrients from the food we eat, which is why sitting still for too long can cause problems like bloating. Make a habit of not sitting down again immediately after you’ve eaten – your body needs time to digest, so why not factor in any calls you need to make post-lunch and take them standing up or aim for a walk-and-talk session, even if it’s just meandering around your lounge.
3. Reach for the stars
With your arms of course…Regular movement will do wonders for maintaining muscle mass, ensuring your metabolism is fired up and joints stay agile and flexible. While gyms are shut it’s time to get inventive; you can utilise your stairs or balcony for Pilates, Yoga and exercises like lunges, squats and HIIT can all be done at home. Start from 15-20 minutes and increase time slowly up to an hour, this will help immensely with balancing the mental and physical effects of staying home.
If your activity levels have dropped drastically, you may be feeling quite sluggish and weaker already, introducing daily stretches will help muscles to loosen up and become better able to withstand the impact of activity and reduce the chances of you getting injured when you choose to increase activity levels again.
4. Choose activities to make you smile
It’s rare to wake up dying to go for a run, because, put simply, running is annoyingly hard. Yes, we feel a sense of achievement once we’ve done a session we didn’t want to do, but the lack of fun means you’re much more likely to skip it altogether. Which is why finding activities that make you feel happy will help you stay active during the lockdown, now isn’t the time to slog out a session you’ve been dreading!
Try going super slow on your next run, you’re not in a race so take it down a few notches, enjoy the spring blooms in the park and the beautiful weather. A leisurely pace will do wonders for making a jog enjoyable.
Alternatively, turn the radio on and spend 20 mins dancing like no one’s watching, throw in a few squats for good luck and you’ll be surprised how quickly the time flies. Whatever you wake up in the mood for, do that.
5. Take note of energy in VS energy out
We want to go easy on ourselves during an already difficult period, but we do need some awareness of daily energy expenditure. If you’re not matching your pre-COVID-19 step count and activity levels then you will be burning fewer calories than you ordinarily would in your more active daily routine. It is also thought that excessive sitting can impact on your ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure and to metabolise fat.
To combat this, try planning your meals at the start of the week so you don’t grab unnecessary snacks on impulse, and make sure you’re taking regular activity, even if it’s just to put the kettle on. Importantly, please cut yourself some slack, the last thing you want is to be agonising over numbers and causing yourself more stress in lockdown.
6. Book an outdoor PT session
Even if you’ve been attempting YouTube home workouts, there is nothing like a dedicated professional to steer you in the right direction!
Our app houses 1000+ PT profiles, many of which are now offering outdoor PT sessions. With the sun shining, it’s the perfect time for a check-in with a PT, who will be able to assess where you’re at physically after the last 10 weeks at home. They’ll build you a bespoke plan, based on your fitness ability and goals, which means you could find yourself taking huge leaps forward even before gyms open again.
The best part of all is that a PT will be a friend and shoulder to lean on. Everyone is going through a lot of change at the moment, but a PT is there to dedicate themselves to helping you, which will be amazing for both your physical and mental motivation. As you build a relationship and keep in regular contact with your PT, they’ll be there to provide advice and support whenever needed. Who doesn’t need a cheerleader like that right now!?