How can we improve our wellbeing during lockdown?
Appreciate times are challenging for so many at the moment. The Head of information at the mental health charity Mind has stated “We know that coronavirus is causing worry and stress for many people.”
I’ve had some really interesting conversations with my network around what they are doing to improve their well being during this lockdown and wanted to share some of the top tips that I’ve found helpful:
1. Keep Connected with Others
Whilst we cannot physically maintain contact it is important to stay connected with those around us.
In this day and age we are fortunate to take advantage of platforms like Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Whiteboards to spend some valuable FaceTime.
Companies have certainly been embracing this, as a Data Scientist based in Helsinki explained to me:
“We have daily coffee breaks to catch up and socialize over the network. We’ve also been organizing some after-work activities like quizzes and a ‘Juke Box Jury’, which have spiced up the otherwise monotonous days. I cannot exaggerate how much these meetings and the mutual support of the colleagues have meant mentally. Truly recommend for all remote workers!”
I’d like to view myself as a bit of a ‘pub quiz’ master now and have found that weekly Zoom sessions with friends/family have been a great way to not only improve my own mental health but boost the wellbeing of the people you connect with.
Others have said that putting aside 20 minutes every day to make a call someone, send a message or reconnect with old friends you’ve been meaning to call has really helped.
2. Become More Mindful.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
The NHS says mindfulness can improve our mental wellbeing, making it perfect for during a lockdown.
Meditation and focusing on breathing techniques are a great way to relax and appreciate mindfulness. Some apps I have found very useful to practice this are Headspace, Calm, Stop, Breathe & Think & Simple Habits.
Others have found taking the time to reflect and writing down how they are feeling and what they are grateful for to be an effective way of releasing bad energy.
“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.” — Zen Master Hsing Yun
3. Stay Active Every Day
Exercise is one way to maintain a positive/productive attitude and to release those feel good endorphins. Keeping physically active helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol and can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
I had the chance to speak with Personal Trainers and Founders of a Private Personal Training/ Bootcamp Gym in the UK, BodyByJr. They explain the importance of keeping active and what they are doing to make a difference to the community:
“When the UK went into lockdown 4 weeks ago, a lot of people thought it was going to be a short term thing and put their fitness and health on hold as they thought they wouldn’t be able to progress. Now four weeks on, we have realised it isn’t a short term thing. We have adapted to the situation and results can be achieved at home… yes this means a burpee or two haha!
At BodyByJR, we are providing 10 x FREE LIVE workouts per week as well as uploading 2/3 workouts a week on our YouTube channel BODYBYJR TV. It’s not only important to stay healthy physically, it will help you mentally too by staying in a routine, increase self esteem and join in with a community where we provide huge amounts of encouragement and motivation for all fitness levels. We are in this together!”
BodyByJr has played a huge part of my day to day routine, you can find their incredible workouts here: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCSWGCGlo26HqEBbHwG9AegQ
4. Embrace a Healthy, Balanced Diet & Keep Hydrated
Evidence suggests that the gut is the second brain. A ‘balanced’ diet should look to incorporate all the essential macronutrients; carbohydrates, protein and fats.
Alcohol, caffeine, fizzy drinks, refined sugars, processed and fried foods are foods that may trigger feelings of anxiety, so be mindful of these.
Take advantage of this extra free time to explore & experiment with new fresh and natural ingredients. Cook food that is healthy and filling to keep you going through out the day. If you have a family, get them involved and enjoy the quality time.
I’m working from home & initially found myself working through breaks and missing meals/snack because of this. I’ve found that preparing/making my healthy snacks/lunch the night before has given me more time to focus, keep my body fulled the right way and reduced the time wasted worrying on what to eat.
Others I have been speaking with have been keeping a 2L water bottle super glued to their side to remind them to stay hydrated. Some have invested in a ‘Hydration Tracker’ bottle or you can of course make your own.
We have to remember that its all about balance, so take time to enjoy a chocolate bar, or 2 or 3 over the weekend ;)
5. Try to Limit the Time Spent on Social Media
While social media platforms can have their benefits, using them too frequently can make you feel unhappy and isolated in the long run. Over-using could harm Self-Esteem, Sleep, Human Connection, Attention Span & our overall mental health.
Consider allocating social media-free time slots during your daily routine & invest in a new hobby, something to give you a focus and keep your mind working. I’m currently building an 850+ piece Lego Cruise ship and this is helping me. Others I have been speaking with have invested time in painting, puzzles, gardening, reading & creative writing.
A situation like this makes you realise and appreciate the important things in life (for example the support and love of friends & family as opposed to fancy/shiny materialistic things).
By Ellie King - Principal Talent Partner - Data / AI - Nordics