Keeping the mind and body busy in lockdown

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Health Assured team

22 May 2020

We’ve been in lockdown for what seems like forever, now. And while some rules are being relaxed slightly, with the promise of more relaxation on the horizon, it’s reasonable to feel a little bit of cabin fever. 

The coronavirus pandemic has slammed into the lives and routines of everyone. Even people with an ordinarily sedentary lifestyle are moving about a bit less, out of necessity. And for the extroverts among us? Social distancing and isolation is a nightmare. 

There are ways to keep your mind and body healthy and occupied during this lockdown, though. Some habits and routines that, when you stick to them, will make the whole thing a lot easier to deal with. 

Mind 

Stick with a routine: the problem with lockdown is the complete disruption of routines. Work, childcare, shopping—everything is affected, and everything has changed. This can lead to feeling a bit directionless and at a loose end, trying to find ways to stave off the creeping boredom. 

If you’re working from home—or even if you’re furloughed—work out a plan and structure your time. Get up at the same time each day, take your lunch and your breaks at the same time each day. Establish that routine as a habit. 

Do the same with any kids you’re looking after. This isn’t as easy as it sounds—kids are hard work—but the routine will stop minds wandering and negative thoughts setting in. 

Fight boredom whenever it arises: a lot of the negativity of lockdown comes from getting bored and frustrated. The vast expanses of empty time that stretch out ahead of you can seem a bit daunting. 

Establishing routines, as outlined above, helps. But while that’s a reactive way to stay mentally healthy. A proactive way is to find things to do, things that’ll melt the time away and keep you occupied. 

You could learn a new language—apps like Duolingo offer a great, free way to get to grips with almost every language you can think of. Alison is a brilliant resource offering free courses in programming and development, from beginners to experts. And if you want something a bit more formal, there’s always the Open University. 

Be mindful: finding time for yourself might be hard in lockdown if you’re working and have kids to care for, but it’s vital. Snatching ten minutes for yourself to just sit and breathe is important. 

Meditation, breathing exercises and practicing self-care will get you through these tough times. 

Body 

Exercise: sounds like an obvious one, this, but there are a lot of things to consider. Gyms are closed, most sports you can play with others are disallowed, and there are still restrictions on movement.  

You can play things like golf and tennis right now, as long as you strictly adhere to social distancing rules. But those sports aren’t for everyone... 

Luckily, the internet has excelled itself here. There are countless free exercise classes and routines springing up every day—this is a great example—which you can follow without any equipment or spending any money. 

Look for kid-friendly routines, exercises for beginners, or the most brutal crossfit you can find. It’s all out there, and it’ll all help keep you moving. 

DIY: another piece of advice that isn’t for everyone—we're not all a dab hand with a screwdriver—but the lockdown could be the perfect time to get some things around the house fixed.  

We don’t necessarily mean stripping and rewiring your house’s electrics (though if you’re qualified and have the equipment, it’s not a bad idea!), but putting up some shelves, fixing a wonky table leg or painting the spare room will keep you moving and busy. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, expand your sights to making it look beautiful. The fresh air will help your physical and mental health, too. 

Plans: in the same way that you plan your routine for your mental health, plan a routine for your physical health. Draw up a planner, and populate it with the physical activities you intend for the week, even if it’s just a brisk walk at 2pm every day. 

You can use this plan to map out any goals you have for your DIY/gardening projects, too.  

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