With the Covid-19 or Coronavirus pandemic, carrying on as usual in your personal and professional life is simply not possible. Getting used to the new normal isn’t easy, but by maintaining some sort of routine you can keep moving and motivated even when isolating.
You could even use your time in isolation to transform the way you live your life and ultimately find the balance you need to not just survive but thrive long after lockdown comes to an end.
I swear by 10 daily habits and with lockdown in full swing, introducing these into your everyday life has never been so simple and rewarding.
10 servings of goodness
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet isn’t easy at the best of times. With lockdown, you’ll face more challenges than ever, from finding the ingredients you need on sparsely stocked supermarket shelves to curbing the non-stop grazing that can occur when being stuck in the house around the clock. Perseverance is key, after all the benefits of eating well extend to more than just maintaining a healthy weight.
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will protect your heart, prevent diabetes and cancer, give you more energy, aid sleep, boost immunity, and improve skin glow and hair condition. Moreover, it can also work wonders for your mood, particularly during this stressful and uncertain time, as nutritionist Kim Pearson details:
“Most of us have had our normal routines turned upside down. Before the lockdown, we would have had breakfast at a certain time, perhaps so we could leave for work or school, then lunch to fit into the daily routine, and our evening meal when we came home. That need for a fixed time has disappeared… if you don’t eat proper meals, your blood sugar levels go on a rollercoaster, so you keep feeling you need to eat something in order to stay happy.”
Aim to eat 10 servings of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds every day to give your body and mind the boost it needs to deal with lockdown challenges.
9 minutes of meditation
Practising mindfulness and meditation is a must. Daily practice can reduce the stress and anxiety that can so easily have a huge impact on sleep and eating habits.
Just a few minutes of meditation – I go for 9 minutes – can lower the cortisol levels that inspire the fight or flight mentality that puts us on edge during stressful periods.
You can meditate anywhere and at any time. Whether meditating on the floor or in your favourite armchair, make sure you are comfortable and the environment around you quiet to allow complete focus on your breathing and increase awareness of yourself, your surroundings and the wider world.
8 hours of sleep
Make sure you maintain a good routine even when in lockdown by aiming for that coveted 8 hours of sleep every night.
Sleep will boost your mood and your energy levels, keeping you moving and motivated all day long – especially when that afternoon sugar craving hits.
7 glasses of water
Hydration is integral to how we look and feel both inside and out, so make sure you let it glow with a little H2O throughout lockdown and beyond.
You don’t have to stick with just plain old tap water either. Use your time at home to experiment with your hydration options. Herbal teas and fruit or vegetable infused waters all count towards your 7 glass a day target.
I always start the day with a glass of warm water (with added lemon and ginger sometimes), it’s the perfect way to kick-start your digestive system.
6 thousand steps a day
Reaching a 6,000 daily step target without leaving the house won’t be as difficult as you think, particularly if you’re currently spending your days running around the house after your kids!
5 x 5-minute shake it all abouts
Boost movement with five 5-minute bursts of exercise, or ‘shake it all abouts’ as I like to call them. They’re great pick-me-ups and they’re fun to do. They’ll also refocus your mind and give your muscles a stretch, which can help to prevent injuries.
Your five-minute bursts of exercise can consist of tummy exercises, squats, jumping jacks, or bouncing on a trampoline, and you can get all the family involved.
4 tasks to achieve today
You can still accomplish lots of things during lockdown. Aiming for a set number of achievements per day will give a whole new meaning to your new way of life.
Keep all tasks realistic and achievable however. Your to-do list shouldn’t be a daily mountain to climb.
Maintain a routine even when your everyday life isn’t what it was by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times. Regular eating also prevents afternoon energy slumps that lead to cravings for sugary snacks.
2 hours of no blue light before bed
Blue light exposure just before bed can have a huge impact on eye health. It has also been proven to have a negative effect on our skin, with links to premature aging long-term. The blue light emitted from smartphones, television screens, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm or internal clock. This will keep you awake and alert meaning sleep quantity and quality are impaired.
Make sure your house is a blue light free zone during those two hours before bedtime. Alternatively, use a nighttime colour warmer like f.lux or switch on your devices’ blue light filters to keep exposure to a minimum. You’ll feel more energised and motivated the next day as a result.
1 session of outdoor exercise
Getting outside, whether that be in your garden or around the block, is a must during lockdown. As well as boosting fitness, outdoor exercise is the best way to top up vitamin D levels.
Without the right amount of vitamin D, you’ll feel anxious, tired, and irritable. You will also be more susceptible to low immunity, joint pain, muscle cramps and brittle bones.
Use your government recommended one form of daily exercise wisely, not forgetting to practise social distancing to keep yourself safe if you do venture beyond the garden.