Breaking lockdown habits

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Health Assured team

06 April 2021

A year after the first UK-wide lockdown, many of us are still spending the majority of time at home. But as businesses begin to safely re-open, ‘the new normal’ might be a set of habits people need to forget. 

Last March, people were thrown into a way of living that most had never even considered. Staying inside for days at a time, with only a short window to go outside for exercise, no shopping, no pubs or restaurants... it’s small wonder that some bad habits crept in. 

Whether it’s eating unhealthy food, barely moving, spending too much time watching the same TV shows again and again or getting into nasty spats online, there are a lot of things which people may have found themselves relying on for an endorphin hit during lockdown. Here are some bad habits you may be familiar with—and some practical ways to get yourself out of them. 

Sleeping patterns and hygiene 

When you’re no longer commuting to work, the days can become a little bit of a blur. You get up, shower, prepare a coffee and bam!—your journey to work is a s short as the walk across the room to your computer. 

This can play havoc with sleep, especially if your work space is in your bedroom. Returning to the workplace outside your home may well fix this—but for now, try to delineate work time and home time properly. Take a walk in the morning, and another in the evening. Find that rhythm, dedicate your bedroom to glorious sleep, and rediscover that feeling of waking up refreshed.  

Food 

In 2020—a year we were all pretty glad to see the back of—the takeaway delivery service Just Eat saw revenue grow to £2.1 billion. The year before? A mere £1.3 billion. That’s a 61% year-on-year increase. 

Now, it’s possible that the majority of the takeaways ordered via their app were healthy salads and diet drinks—but we all know that’s not likely. Takeaways are easy, quick and convenient, and when you can’t shop for fresh produce to cook with every day, it’s tempting to let the pizza delivery guy sort out your evening meal.  

With shops re-opening, this is a little bit easier to sort. Buying fresh produce and making delicious, healthy food is easy, and in a lot of cases much cheaper than takeaways! You could even learn to cook your favourite dishes for yourself—controlling how much salt goes in, for instance, makes it all a lot better for you right away (the salt content of the average takeaway is shocking.) 

Exercise 

A lot of us began lockdown with some aspirations—we can see that reflected in the skyrocketing price of weights last April! But when the days begin to repeat, and you’re facing the same things over and over, the motivation to stay active is harder to come by. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, and you don’t need to tire yourself out completely in order to feel the benefits. Simply getting up and going for a 30 minute walk is good—an hour is even better. You don’t need to make it an epic hike—though if you’re near some beautiful, rolling hills, that’s the best kind of place for a long walk—just walking around the block with a podcast in your ears is perfect.  

Positivity 

Stay positive! Of course, this isn’t as easy as just saying it. You need to learn where the negativity resides, and how to stave it off effectively. 

Social media and networks have seen an explosion in use over the past year—and they were already pretty popular. The issue is that the discussions on these platforms lack nuance. When opinions are presented as plain text—and sometimes presented as factthings can get a bit prickly. Tempers flare. And you find yourself dragged into yet another fight online. 

Fasting from these platforms, networks and devices is a good way to reset the way you interact online. Taking a whole week without switching on a digital device outside of work is a great way to alter your reliance on them. Spend the time with your family, and reconnect with them without the distraction and glare of a backlit LCD dominating every conversation. And if you get into a fight about politics, at least it’ll be face-to-face...! 

 

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