5 Healthy Habits for Lockdown and Beyond
With the news coming out this week that lockdown is still in place, albeit with a few small changes. Our stay at home message and social distancing is set to be part of our lives for a little while longer. Fast becoming our new norm. This brings continued disruption to how we live our lives and finding a new routine can be challenging. Even more so for those who live alone, who are caring for others and who can't work.
Sometimes it feels like I am still going through an adjustment period (even though we are well into week 7 of lockdown) and for me, creating a routine for the working week has helped both my mental and physical health. It took some time to stick to it and there is the odd day when I definitely don't check all the boxes on my list, but that’s ok. Creating new habits takes time and patience.
Here are 5 things that I’ve found useful to create healthy habits in lockdown and beyond
1. Write up your meal and snack plan for the week
Whether you live alone, in a flat share or are looking after young ones, creating a meal plan for the week can remove a lot of the day to day anxiety that comes with planning and cooking meals. Batch cooking can help give you a break from preparing every meal from scratch and using up leftovers to form new meals is a life saver. So, next time before you do the food shop take 15 minutes to plan out your weekly meals. You will notice a difference pretty quickly. 2. Write up a list Write a list as and when those important things pop into your head. Personally I have a note book but some prefer using a notes app on their phone. Cross things off as you go is the most important part to give yourself that feeling of progress. Make sure to include your meal times (skipping meals or all day grazing wont leave you feeling great) and slot in some relaxation time whether it be reading a book, going for a walk or listening to your favourite podcast. 3. Set yourself up with a sleep routine
Anxiety and restless nights are common place in times of stress, and sleep is vital to allow our mind and body to rest and rejuvenate. Alcohol has a big impact on sleep quality so try going booze free for weeknights. If this is a stretch, limiting alcohol with or after dinner is a great first step. Create a bedtime routine that allows you to shut off from social media, try reducing your light exposure and practice some calming activities such as gentle yoga or deep breathing before heading off to sleep. 4. Drink more water
This may sound simple but is something that can have a big impact if you skip out on drinking water especially when you’re spending a lot of time at home. Dehydration can make you feel light headed, cause brain fog, increase tiredness, cause slow bowel movements (or constipation) or cause a dry mouth, lips and eyes. Best way to remind yourself is to always keep water with you. Get a large glass and refill throughout the day or carry around a reusable water bottle. If you don’t like the taste of water, try adding some citrus fruit, mint or you can indulge in caffeine free herbal teas. 5. Be kind to yourself
The uncertainty and disruption over the past few months has caused a huge upheaval of our normal lives. There is no one right way to manage life through a global health crisis and everyone will have different experiences and stories to tell. Setting huge goals may work for some, but not for others. Do what is right for you, encourage yourself the way you would your friends and listen to your needs. This puts you in the best position to support others when they need it.
Whether you can pick up one of these or all of them. Creating a new habit is not about drastic change. It's about making room in your daily schedule, following small and manageable steps that eventually leads to second nature. Stay consistent with your new habits, and if you forget one day - just pick it back up the next. Above all, cut yourself some slack. We are working through a very uncertain time and doing your best is all that you can ask for.