Lockdown has provided most of us with important lessons. The last year has been unpredictable, scary and stressful for many of us. A lot of people have experienced feelings of depression, anxiety, and not to mention imposter syndrome. However, there have also been silver linings. One of the most beneficial lessons we can learn from the pandemic is putting health and wellbeing first. In this guide, we’ll explore some simple ways you can take better care of your body and mind.
Embracing exercise and fresh air
You may not be one of those people who share home workouts every day or walk for miles every weekend, but you may have discovered the benefits of doing an exercise session or getting away from your desk or home schooling for an hour to get some fresh air and stretch your legs. Lockdown has been tough for most, but many of us have been proactive in trying to keep moving. Daily walks have become part and parcel of life and we’ve swapped going to the cinema or going shopping for long bike rides or adventures in the great outdoors. Moving more is not just beneficial for physical health. It also helps to reduce stress, to increase energy levels and to boost confidence. As we look forward to restrictions lifting, try and embrace a more active lifestyle and keep up with exercise routines that you’ve established in the last year.
Preventing health problems
It’s not possible to prevent every infection, illness or injury, but there are ways to reduce risks. Often, making simple changes to your lifestyle can make a positive difference. As well as moving more, you can also lower risks by eating well and prioritising nutrition, keeping up to date with health checks and seeking advice if you’re in pain or you notice unusual or abnormal symptoms. Many of us are reluctant to seek help if we’re struggling with pain or we’re experiencing anxiety. Don’t hesitate to reach out. It’s usually beneficial to intervene early. If you suffer from back pain and being at home has exacerbated symptoms, for example, there are solutions. You can contact your GP and you could also explore options like seeing a chiropractor. Working from the kitchen table or trying to type with a laptop balanced on your knee on the sofa can take its toll. It’s also essential to keep up to date with routine tests and to make an appointment if you’re worried about symptoms such as pain that has got worse, new pain, unexplained weight gain or loss, changes in your bowel habits, constant fatigue or prolonged periods of feeling low.
Prioritising mental wellbeing
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us it is that many of us were living our lives at a hundred miles per hour before we were encouraged to stay at home. While many have continued to be busy during lockdowns, most have had time to reflect, to enjoy spending time with family at home and to think about what matters most. Homeschooling and working from home may have been tough at times, but there are advantages and you can learn from lessons moving forward. Put your health first, slow down if you feel like you need time out and be proactive in looking after yourself. Just as you look after your body by exercising and eating well, you can also nourish and protect your mental health. Devote time to activities that make you feel good, surround yourself with people who lift you up and be kind to yourself. We tend to pile pressure on ourselves and we are often harsh critics when it comes to the way we look, the way we parent our kids or what we accomplish on a daily basis. Give yourself a break and focus on the positives. Nobody is superhuman.
For many of us, lockdown has been a learning curve. If you’re keen to take better care of your body and mind, now is the time to start putting your health and wellbeing first.