Groaning at the thought of further weeks of confinement? Try these top 10 tips for to help you stay on form!
Structure your day during the confinement period. This will help you to stay focused and get things done! You’ve very roughly got 3-4 hours periods between meals for working, supervising children or doing some form of activity. You may need to adjust your working hours if you are lucky enough to be working from home and having to supervise children (!). You might need to help them with their schoolwork in the morning, but work in the afternoon. Keep the evenings free for relaxing and unwinding. The key point is finding a structure which works for you!
Build in some form of daily exercise. Any form of exercise will do, you just need to do it! Exercise is a true superhero for supporting both your physical and mental health. And, if you don’t have a garden or access to much space during confinement it is still #missionpossible to do some form of physical activity by getting creative!There are so many apps and online exercise videos you can test with programmes for varying abilities and requirements. So don’t hesitate to try them out. As I am a yoga fan, these are 2 you tubers I’d recommend for yoga.
Hate exercising? Then you can simply try to increase your daily steps! Every time you are on a phone call, get up and walk around. Aim (health permitting) to walk up (and down) 200 steps a day. After an hour of sitting down, aim to walk around for 5 minutes before sitting down again. Et voila! You will have done 5000 total steps for the day without even batting an eyelid!
Plan your meals (but don’t overthink them!) Aim for simple and balanced meals during your confinement period. You do not want to be spending all your time in the kitchen and nor do you want to be searching for unnecessary and difficult to find ingredients when the new style of shopping: having to have an attestation, queuing/keeping 1 m away from people is already stressful enough. Keep 1 meal simple such as sandwiches, soups, wraps or quiches, so you then only really have to cook 1 meal a day. Don’t hesitate to enroll the family or other members of the household in food preparation. And, don’t fret if your meals are not perfect, they just need to be good enough!
(Click here to download a copy of ‘confinement’ recipes!)
Be aware of emotional eating. Known triggers for emotional eating are stress and anxiety. Another lesser known trigger is boredom! The trick is finding non-food strategies for soothing your emotions – distraction techniques, reading, walking (in the space you have available to you!), calling friends and family.
Try to get some fresh air on a daily basis. Even if this is only currently available via a window or balcony. Enjoy an ‘open air’ coffee and taking deep breaths of fresh air throughout the day. If you have a garden, use it! Research indicates that spending time outside is associated with better physical and mental health, so take advantage of these mild spring days to get some fresh air.
Take each day as it comes. Certainty is comforting and in these highly uncertain times, it’s normal that our stress and anxiety levels are sky high We are caught in a series of events which we cannot control. So, just be aware that if you are safe and well today, this is all that matters. Take it one day at a time and try to avoid projecting into the future. Staying mindful and present (however difficult this might seem!) will help you to manage stress and anxiety.
Find a project which keeps you busy. How many times have you thought how wonderful it would be to have time to reorganise a wardrobe/cupboard or toolbox? You might now be finding that you now have this time! Ahh, but now you have the time you no longer have the inclination?! Break the task down into baby steps and set yourself a mini task to do each day. You might find that you get so absorbed, that you whiz through (and actually enjoy!) doing it.
Switch off the news if it becomes too stressful ( and only listen to reputable sources!) . If the continual stream of bad news is dragging you down, then either switch it off or limit the amount of time you spend watching, reading or listening to it! Be aware that there are lots of *fake news* going around as well as the usual snake oil merchants promoting cures and immune boosting supplements or diets. A balanced-ish diet with a dash of physical activity, good quality sleep, stress management and a positive attitude is all you need in terms of supporting your immune system!
Get involved! This is a perfect opportunity to get more involved in helping the community. There are a number of associations and social media groups you can join, in order volunteer your services for shopping, hosting virtual coffee mornings….the list is endless.
Watch, read or do something every day which makes you appreciate what you have. Never underestimate the positive effect of gratitude! Less noise means that I hear the birds singing in the morning. I am loving the sun after the months of grey weather (even if it is still a bit cold). I am enjoying having all my family at home – and I truly mean this, as it gives me precious extra time with my children. My network of wider and friends is active and a source of huge support (particularly in sending my jokes and videos which make me howl with laughter!). So yes, there is so much that I am grateful for.
Stay safe, stay well and stay at home!