These are strange times indeed. The mix of existential dread and the disruption to our work/life and bank balance is leading to an anxious, sleepless nation. The temptation to succumb to it all, to retire to the sofa with a stack of takeaway pizzas, Netflix and some cans is strong, we can’t lie.

We wouldn’t blame you for following suit, and taking a seat next to us. But in all honestly, it might be sensible to ignore that little voice in your ear tempting you to the dark side. Instead, to keep fighting fit, both mentally and physically, lockdown should be a time of prioritising health and fitness, to set you up for the difficult months ahead. Here’s how; our 5 ways to look after yourself during lockdown.

LET GO OF THAT LOCKDOWN GUILT

Should have, could have, would have. First things first, try to let go of any lockdown guilt you’ve been suffering from. 

What’s this fresh term you’ve just thrown out there, we hear you ask? Is it something the kids are saying? Well, lockdown guilt is a new phenomenon which sees our inner critics imploring, louder than ever, that we should be constantly doing something to improve ourselves. Bake more sourdough, learn Japanese, do DIY…you know the drill by now.

Don’t succumb to that self-pressure unless you want to; there really is no shame in simply getting through this turbulent time in one piece.

GET MOVING  

That said, if you’re uncharacteristically low on motivation and do fancy being more productive, the best thing you can do boost your energy is to get moving. 

One of the reasons we’re all feeling a little lethargic and lazy at the moment is because doing nothing makes us feel more tired and it can become a cycle. However, the good news that we can boost our energy levels during lockdown by simply pledging to live a life less sedentary. 

So, if you’re working from home, a standing desk can stop you from feeling sluggish. Or, setting a timer for every 15 minutes to prompt a quick stretch. Go further, and commit to regular breaks from your home office (we all know how the hours can slip away when staying at home all day) and take frequent walks, either around the house or better still, out and about. You may find that lethargy lessens significantly if you force yourself to get moving.

COOK AND EAT HEALTHILY 

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!

TURN OFF SELF-VIEW IN ZOOM

”Are you suffering from Zoom face?”, asked a popular magazine recently. Another new term that may or may not be included in next year’s dictionary, ‘Zoom face’ refers to the idea that watching one’s own image during various webcam meetings, conference calls and ‘pub’ quizzes is causing stress and anxiety over self-perceived flaws. 

This type of self-objectification and overly critical inward looking eye isn’t healthy and unsurprisingly, this means that there has been a sharp rise in the interest for cosmetic surgery recently, A simple solution here is to turn off self-view when participating in such camera-to-camera engagements, but a more holistic, all encompassing approach to better self esteem will work even better. Check out our tips on 5 proactive steps to improve your self-confidence for more on the subject.

LAST RESORTS

Let’s be frank; carrying excess weight increases the risk of severe illness, and even death, from COVID-19. While it should be viewed as a last resort and only considered after first trying to lose weight through a healthy diet and exercise, weight loss surgery is available on the NHS under certain circumstances. For those concerned about coping with illness in the coming months, it might be worth considering. 

If certain prerequisites aren’t met, a gastric bypass can be to arranged through clinics like The Hospital Group. Of course, this should be treated as a last resort, where diet and exercise haven’t had the desired impact, but again, it’s worth thinking about.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The coming months are going to be tough and turbulent and the need to look after both our mental and physical health has never been more pressing. Stay safe, say sane and we’ll see you on the other side.