Call it what you like; unprecedented, turbulent, topsy turvy or uncertain….there’s a theme running through 2020 and it’s not one of stability and confidence, that’s for sure. And whilst we wouldn’t want to cast a shadow of doom and gloom over the coming months further, as Winter approaches, things look like they might be getting worse, not better.

If only there was a way to put yourself on the front foot, mentally and physically, for what lies ahead. To ensure that you’re strong and stable in the coming months, here are 5 steps to staying strong and healthy during turbulent times.

THE VALUE OF BEING A MORNING PERSON

Sure, catching the worm early doors isn’t for everyone. But during lockdown, working from home, self isolation and the rest, here at IDEAL we’ve really tuned in to the positive lifestyle benefits of an early rise lately.

It’s all about hacking that circadian rhythm, via taking measures for more restorative, rhythmic sleep, so waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed becomes a thrill, not a chore. Once waking up refreshed becomes routine, you can attack each day with a fresh sense of purpose and vigour; ideal for these uncertain times when the urge to roll over and sleep all day is sometimes too strong to fight. 

Use that extra hour in the morning to exercise, meditate, do yoga or complete a gratitude diary; all things which over time can have a marked impact on your mental and physical wellbeing. If this sounds like your sort of thing, check out our advice on 8 expert-approved ways to become a morning person for more!

TAKE A MOMENT TO PROCESS

Working from home, with a laptop on in front of you and a TV on behind, always updating and demanding your attention, bearing bad news upon bad of the most recent developments….well, it can be really tough to take a moment to comprehend what’s going on.

Nevertheless, it’s crucial that you do take a moment to check in with yourself and process recent events. Don’t let anxiety, stress and uncertainty bubble beneath the surface, ready to explode at any moment. Such feelings are generally unconscious, but if not ignored, may worsen into bigger issues.

Instead, try to take proactive steps to take stock of the turbulent situation we find ourselves in. A regular practice of mindful meditation can help you do just that; only ten minutes a day can do wonders in realigning your perspective. If you’re new to the wonderful world of ‘taking a moment’, there are plenty of apps offering guided meditations and mindfulness exercises for a monthly fee. If meditation doesn’t work for you, do still make the time just to sit still for a few minutes each day, enabling space for reflection on what is, for everyone, a really confusing time.

KEEP THOSE VICES IN CHECK

Vibes and vices; there’s only one letter between them but a gaping chasm in their effect on your health. Embracing the healthy, holistic good vibes we’ve been talking about can sometimes be a struggle to maintain every day, but you’ll make things infinitely harder for yourself if you let your vices get the better of you. 

Recent news reports in the UK have warned that the number of ’high risk drinkers has doubled since lockdown’’, and it’s been all too easy to succumb to that extra glass or two in the evenings, or that lunchtime pint you usually turn down, when every around you feels so fraught.

Do be mindful if you feel yourself slipping into a negative behavioural pattern surrounding drinking, smoking gambling and the rest. Employ proactive measures; take yourself for a walk if you feel the onset of a drinking trigger; swap cigarettes for vape pens as per NHS advice on giving up smoking; and activate strict limits on any betting you might be engaging in, via features provided by any responsible gambling platform. Though it’s tempting during this turbulent time to seek solace in your vices, it may only make matters worse in the long run.

HOME GYM HAVEN

The arrival of longer, darker nights and colder temperatures also seems to herald a life more sedentary until Spring rolls around. But parking yourself on the sofa and hibernating isn’t sensible any time, but particularly when it’s particularly important to keep your immune system fighting fit.

Even if you’re not keen on returning to the gym, or if yours hasn’t yet opened again, you can still get the blood pumping at home with some cardio and aerobic exercise, such as star jumps or running on the spot. It’s basic, we know, but these are unprecedented times. You may have heard.

Go further and kit out your home with some simple gym equipment. So, even if the weather is inclement and obstructive to an outdoor workout, you can still get a sweat on, all from the comfort of your living room.

A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH TO DIETING

Colder days and insecure times…who can blame a person for turning to comfort food to nourish the soul? While there’s certainly no harm in the odd takeaway and Netflix binge from time to time, as Autumn and Winter roll around it would be wise to maintain a healthy, varied diet to keep any seasonal ailments at bay.

Take inspiration from the changing state of the land and you might find a little comfort in the less hospitable months ahead. This month sees the arrival of some heartier, darker fruit and vegetables, just ripe for embracing into your diet. Plums, Bramley apples, figs, apricots and pears are all coming into season and are super healthy as part of a balanced meal plan. Vegetables at their peak in early Autumn include butternut squash, celeriac, kale, leeks, pumpkin and more. 

Do remember, though, that this is a really challenging time for everyone, and don’t deny yourself the odd treat. You’re getting by in a global pandemic, and you deserve it! Instead, try to adopt a mindful, sustainable approach to your diet, and you can enjoy the food which gives you pleasure in the healthiest way possible. We’ll see you on the other side!