Lockdown tips: DOs and DON’Ts
There’s no hard and fast rule on how to survive a lockdown. Everyone will cope differently. Some will throw themselves into running. Others will get into sourdough. And a significant portion will just celebrate making it through another day in whatever way they can. Wherever you are on the spectrum (and every experience is valid, of course), we’ve compiled a list of simple habits to support your physical and mental health as you traverse lockdown 3.0.
Read reputable sources reporting on the pandemic
We live in a world of 24/7 news and social media. And while most reporting is reputable, misinformation and so-called ‘fake news’ are becoming increasingly prevalent. But never before has seeking reliable information on something as seismic as a pandemic been more critical. Misinformation paves the way for anxiety about health, vaccinations and finances, to name a few. For trustworthy information, always turn to major health organisations, like the NHS, World Health Organisation (WHO), or Public Health England.
Aim to leave the house once a day
It doesn’t have to be a 10km run. Just aim to leave your house every day – even for 10 minutes – to blow away any cabin fever and support your mental health. Think carefully about when to use your exercise allowance. You may find a quick walk around the block in the morning sets you up perfectly for the rest of the day.
Practice good personal hygiene
We’re all familiar with the calls to keep our hands clean by now. But here’s another reminder for good measure: wash your hands! Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds after you blow your nose, cough or sneeze, as well as after you’ve been out on public transport and before eating or cooking, is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Given we’re in the throes of a third lockdown, movement feels somewhat beyond our grasp at the moment. Plus, with the ubiquity of anxiety and stress, many of us lack the motivation to move. And the winter weather doesn’t help. But, the truth is, movement – no matter how small – is one of the best tools to support your physical and mental health during lockdown. Even five minutes of exercise can transform the way you feel.
Try short-bursts of movement
Exercise doesn’t just look like hour-long runs or intense strength workouts. Short bursts of movement – which might feel more manageable at the moment – can make you feel just as good and even act as a helpful way to break up the day. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Do a set of star jumps. Got five minutes before another conference call? Try a round of push-ups. Need to entertain the kids? Dance to your favourite song. Just commit to moving your body every day.
Get inventive at home
The first lockdown was hit by a dumbbell drought, with people across the nation stocking up to get fit from home. The good news is that you don’t need specialist equipment to workout in lockdown. Need weights? Look no further than bags of rice, cartons of milk, washing detergent, or even the odd pet!
Commit to a walk every day
If there’s one good thing to come out of lockdown, it could be that people are walking more (it is, of course, one of the only things we can all do right now!). Although a daily walk might not hit the golden marker of 10,000 steps, it will still work wonders for your health, improving your mood, sleep, and overall sense of wellbeing. Even a quick stomp around the block will shake off the lockdown cobwebs.
Be kind to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t been able to move as much during lockdown. Just do what you can and what your body fancies. Free yourself of any unnecessary pressure – there’s enough on your plate right now.
Research consistently points to physical activity improving mental health, thanks to activating the brain’s reward system and releasing feel-good hormones called endorphins.(1)
Drink to excess
It’s no surprise that more and more people are turning to alcohol to relieve the pain, loss, anxiety, and loneliness of the pandemic. Unfortunately, drinking to excess can often make emotional responses worse. Try to drink moderately and always seek professional help if your drinking becomes unmanageable during lockdown.
Smoking can leave you vulnerable to many health conditions, including Covid-19. Try to quit in whatever way you can. The NHS provides plenty of support if you need it.
Sharma. A, Madaan. V, Petty. FD. Exercise for mental health. Primary care companion to the Journal of clinical psychiatry. 2006;8(2):106.
Hachette.co.uk. 2021. How to stay calm in a global pandemic. Available online: https://www.hachette.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-Stay-Calm-in-a-Global-Pandemic-Free-ebook.pdf
Disclaimer: The information presented by Nature's Best is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.
Christine Morgan has been a freelance health and wellbeing journalist for almost 20 years, having written for numerous publications including the Daily Mirror, S Magazine, Top Sante, Healthy, Woman & Home, Zest, Allergy, Healthy Times and Pregnancy & Birth; she has also edited several titles such as Women’ Health, Shine’s Real Health & Beauty and All About Health.