As we celebrate World Health Day on 7th April, here are our top tips for staying healthy during the Coronavirus lockdown
This week we will be celebrating World Health Day at a time when our health has never seemed more important. With Coronavirus dominating the headlines, it’s no wonder we may be feeling more anxious and stressed.
Currently a quarter of the world’s population is on some sort of lockdown because of the virus. In the UK, we have been told to remain at home at all times and only leave for essential shopping, key jobs or to care for dependents. This can take its toll on mental health and has the potential to have a knock on impact on our physical health if we stop exercising.
Our top tips for staying healthy:
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Exercise regularly
- Stick to your daily routine
- Keep yourself busy
- Separate your work space, from your relaxation space
- Stay connected
- Limit the time you spend watching the news or researching COVID-19 online
- Don’t think too far ahead
Most of our advice for staying healthy during this time is the same advice we would give you on any other day. We all know what is good for us, and what we should limit to stay healthy, however, under stressful circumstances we may feel like we want to let this slide. The truth is that preserving our health is more important now than ever, and with a few simple changes – you can make your household a healthy haven.
Here are our top tips for staying healthy during the lockdown:
1. Stick to the plan to stay away from alcohol
The World Health Organisation says relying on booze is an ‘unhelpful coping strategy’. It recommends that people should be minimising the use of alcohol in times of stress.
The recommendation comes after off-licences were added to the Government's list of UK retailers allowed to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Aiysha Malik, technical officer for the WHO's department of mental health, said: ‘For people without addictions, using substances will not help to manage the stress of self-isolation. They can make things worse.' She said that the WHO wanted to ensure people look after their mental wellbeing by eating healthily, exercising and sleeping properly.
Take the time to look back over your list of “whys” for why you signed up to OYNB. Sticking to your goals will make you feel so much better in the long run.
2. Exercise regularly
It’s important to continue with some sort of exercise regime during the lockdown. Although gyms and leisure centres are now closed, lots of gyms and personal trainers have been offering online sessions for those wanting to exercise. There are also a wealth of online classes or video tutorials you could try, including low impact practises such as Yoga and Pilates.
The Prime Minister has also said one trip outside for exercise is permitted, so going for a run, cycle or walk – while still maintaining social distancing – is an opportunity to get some fresh air, and maintain your daily step count.
3. Stick to a daily routine
Being at home all the time can result in falling into some bad habits, such as avoiding exercise, working longer hours, and not taking regular screen breaks if you are working from home (or from watching TV!).
To avoid falling into a slump, try to establish a daily routine and stick to it. It can help to plan out your days in a diary to ensure you are allotting time for exercise and getting any tasks around the house done.
Start your day at the same time that you’d usually get up for work or a weekend and get dressed as if you were going to leave the house. If you would usually take a break from work at a certain time each day, continue to enforce this break at home – get up from your desk and distract yourself for a few minutes before getting back to work.
Remember to eat, exercise and finish working at the usual times, and encourage yourself to switch off from your working day by tidying away your work laptop or anything else you use until you need it again the following day. Try not to check any workplace communication channels or continue to work past your usual finish time.
If working from home has not been a possibility for you, then trying to establish a new healthy routine filled with exercise, cooking healthy meals and creating a happy and healthy environment at home to thrive in is a great way to create a new productive routine.
4. Fight the boredom
As tempting as it is to binge on the latest TV shows, it’s important to have some variety in the activities you do throughout the day. You could try writing, painting, cleaning out cupboards, or even learning a new language. By learning new skills, you are likely to build your self-confidence which in turn can help to protect your mental health.
Having a fun project to focus on will not only help to keep you busy every day, but it will also serve as a welcomed distraction from our current climate.
Set aside some time to delve into a favourite hobby, such as cooking or baking, or make a start on a project you’ve always wanted to do, like writing a story, learning how to make your own bread or tending to your garden.
5. Change your surroundings
It can be a useful tip to establish ‘zones’ in your house or flat. Designate certain areas as work spaces and relaxation spaces to avoid your working day from bleeding into your private life. It is especially important to avoid working in the same space as where you go to sleep, as this may mean your brain struggles to switch off properly at the end of the day, leading to a less restful night's sleep.
It can also be useful to set up a specific place for you to exercise, to remind yourself how important it is to keep moving even when spending your whole day at home. And, if you can, move around your living space and mix up where you sit, exercise and work to give yourself a change of scene!
6. Stay connected with people
You may be physically confined but this doesn’t mean you should isolate yourself mentally. Many of us may be fond of text messaging, but you can’t beat having a face-to-face conversation with someone.
While that may not be possible for most of us at the moment, you can still keep in contact with your friends and family by alternative means – so ditch the texts in favour of video calls.
Make the most of services like FaceTime, House Party, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts to keep in touch with those you love.
7. Limit the time you spend watching the news
Don’t get consumed by the COVID-19 coverage plastering the news.
Having long periods away from news websites and social media will help you to manage your anxiety. It’s a good idea to decide on a specific time each day to check the news instead. There is also a lot of misinformation swirling around – particularly on social media – stay informed by sticking to trusted sources of information such as government or NHS websites.
8. Take one day at a time
Try to focus on the immediate future – the next few hours and days – rather than looking too far into the future to help maintain a positive attitude.
The measures that are in place are only for the time being, not forever, so while it may be hard while this is going on, remember there will be better times on the horizon.