At this time of uncertainty and rapidly changing information about how we are to continue life on a personal level, as a country, or as a planet, it can feel overwhelming and confusing.
This can, if we let it, result in panic and fear and we can forget about taking care of ourselves and others. When a virus of pandemic proportions sweeps the globe we may think what can I do in all of this and what difference can it make?
The truth is every one of us matters and making choices to maintain or even begin to commit to our health & wellbeing could have a significant difference not only to our lives but also for those around us. If there is one thing we are learning from this situation it is that we are all connected and we always have an effect on one another.
There are some very simple, free and supportive activities and choices that we can make in 'lock down' that can build and strengthen our foundational health & well being rather than deteriorating it.
Whether you are needing to self isolate due to age or health issues, or whether you are in 'lockdown' and able to go for your one walk/ exercise session a day, this blog will be helpful.
It is really important that we make time to walk outside at least once a day. If this needs to be in your garden, then make a habit of doing laps or going up and down steps (however small they are) to exercise. Exercise helps keep your body balanced, fit and flexible, improves energy levels, supports your immune system and gets you ready for sleep.
Keep aware of the social distancing guidelines and stay present and aware of your body so that you are respecting others space and also supporting yourself. Although we are all getting used to giving each other more space, it important that as long as we are taking the necessary safety precautions it is safe to go out and breathe the fresh air. An invigorating walk is exactly what most of us need to stay well and to stretch the body.
While we are out for that walk it is important to think about making sure we are getting our Vitamin D, accessed through sunlight. So if it is warm enough, roll up your sleeves, face the sun and soak it up. If you are inside and not able to leave your property, open a window or blinds, let some light in and enjoy the sun. While it is important not to look directly at the sun, there is some evidence to suggest that sunlight on the eyes triggers melatonin, the chemical that sets you up for a good nights sleep (1).
So if the local gym or pool are closed and our weekend sports are called off at the moment, it may feel like there is not much we can do concerning exercise, but there are many exercises we can do indoors at home to keep up our fitness.
Resistance exercise can build and maintain strength and cardio-vascular fitness - light weights, resistance bands, even a tin of beans or a water bottle lifted and lowered carefully does the job very well.
Isometric exercises are more about holding a position that we can do with our muscles. These are also great for strength, posture and stability. Some examples of isometric exercises are a wall sit / squat or a plank or a glut bridge.
Also look into the best way you can do more regular stretching and flexibility exercises at home or outside, because there is a good chance that we will be sitting at home more than normal.
Generally we all may be working from home at the moment and perhaps not in our usual routines and perhaps not in as ideal conditions in terms of desk and chairs, so breaking up the day's activities with regular breaks including exercise is very important.
Remember with any exercise you need to be careful, consider your general health and fitness and limitations before embarking on a programme and start slowly and build up gradually. We are here to offer advice and support you to make it sustainable. Get in touch with us if you want more support and we are now offering online exercise classes and one-to-one sessions to support our clients.
What to Eat
There has been a lot of panic about food recently and the possibility of it being scarce over the next few months. Although none of us know the long term on the pandemic, we again can make some choices now that will support our health, but also our bank balance. Keep what you eat simple, unprocessed fresh, frozen or tinned vegetables, fruits, legumes, pulses, nuts and seeds are super nutritious, low cost and many are easy to store for a long time.
Whilst it is no doubt a stressful time for many people at the moment, try and avoid comfort eating on processed foods, junk foods, alcohol, high sugars etc as these will compromise your immune system and result in tiredness and lack of focus. Now might also be the time to look at more plant based options and consider making changes in your every day diet that you may have been considering already.
It is important to not forget about our emotional health in all of this, because stress directly impacts our health & well being (2). First and foremost if you are feeling distressed or depressed please contact an organisation or health professional to support you. If you are living with ongoing low level stress you may notice tense muscles and a busy head. If the body is consistently in a state of worry and anxiety, it puts pressure on the bodies' systems and this wear and tear can have a significant effect on the immune system (3).
So what can we do with our stress?...as it is a stressful time for most if not all of us. Find ways to keep things simple. If you have a task to do, complete it and then move on to the next. Stay present and aware of your body. Be consistently aware of your breathing patterns and practice nose breathing when possible (4) (5). Meditation can support this, and simply means, to sit, stand, walk or lie down and consciously bring awareness to breathing in and out of your nose gently. You may want to make it a habit of lying down or sitting quietly and doing this for 5 minutes everyday. You could also practice making it a habit to check in with your breathing and how steady you feel on a regular basis throughout the day.
All of the above activities are no or minimal cost and when committed to on a regular basis, can be extremely supportive for your general health and wellbeing. Now is the time to support you and your health even more.
If you would like support from our team with starting or maintaining your wellness routine, exercise programmes, knowing which exercise works for you, we are here to help out.
We are also offering The 8 Week Wellness Programme's online to focus and offer encouragement and support.
Find out about our Online Consultations and Exercise Classes. We are currently running them on sliding scale so please do let us know if you are unable to pay in full or in part, or if you have no income, or you are financially struggling, just let us know.
Take good care of yourself and keep up to date. We will be sending blogs, advice and ideas out regularly, so keep in touch.
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