The main thing that many of us are struggling with during the coronavirus quarantine is the feeling of uncertainty. The majority of us have never experienced a pandemic like this in our lifetime, and not knowing how it’s all going to pan out can leave us feeling anxious.
However, one of the most effective ways to get through the coming weeks, is to focus less on the things we can’t control and more on the things that we can – such as how well we take care of ourselves during this difficult time.
With that said, here are 5 ways to keep your physical and mental health boosted during the coronavirus quarantine.
Just because government guidelines are encouraging us to stay at home as much as possible, this doesn’t mean that we have to adopt a sedentary lifestyle.
Being at home may mean that you aren’t able to exercise in the ways that you usually do – for example, with friends at the gym or going for a swim at your local leisure centre – but there are still plenty of ways you can stay fit and active at home.
Consider working out with items that you find around the house! You can use packaged food and beverage items like bottles and cans to do bicep curls or a kitchen chair to do seated squats. The British Heart Foundation has a helpful video that shows how to work out using everyday items.
You could also try joining in with a live online workout from the comfort of your living room. Fitness legends Mr Motivator and the Green Goddess have recently returned to our TV screens to keep the nation fit with some home workout routines.
The Green Goddess will appear on BBC Breakfast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at around 6.55am and 8.55am, while Mr Motivator will appear on the BBC show HealthCheck UK Live, at 10am on weekdays.
Mr Motivator told the Radio Times: “Now, more than ever, it is important to keep our bodies and minds healthy. Everybody says, ‘Yeah, let’s get happy and be wicked at home!’”
If following a workout routine isn’t for you, then try to stay as active as you can in other ways – such as getting outside to do some gardening, painting your bedroom ceiling or doing some vigorous cleaning. Generally speaking, the more we move, the better we’ll feel!
Now we’re getting outside less, it’s important to pay closer attention to how much sunlight and fresh air we’re getting. Both of these help to keep our circadian rhythm (also known as our body clock) working well.
Our circadian rhythm is responsible for regulating many of our bodily cycles, such as our sleep and eating patterns, temperature control, and hormone production.
Breathing in oxygen-rich air also helps us to feel more alert and energised and has been linked to lower stress levels, improved blood pressure, and a greater sense of wellbeing. And this all takes place while sunlight stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is great for boosting your mood!
Currently, we’re allowed to leave the house once daily to exercise, so it’s important to make the most of this time if you’re able to go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of going outside, or you’re unable to, then make sure you still open a window or get outside in your garden instead.
Sleep helps our bodies and minds to rest and heal and is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. When we have slept well, we generally feel better able to tackle the day ahead both mentally and physically.
Many people have reported disruption to their sleep during the coronavirus pandemic, either because they are feeling anxious, or are struggling with symptoms of cabin fever from being cooped up at home.
This is quite normal, so if you’re going through something similar, then it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone.
Whilst there is no instant fix to getting a better night’s sleep, there are a few things you can try to increase the likelihood of it happening.
Switching off all electronic devices 30 minutes before bed, trying not to work out or exercise in the room that you sleep in, and minimising anxious thoughts using allocated “worry time” are just a few.
For more tips like these, check out the full Rest Less guide on how to get a better night’s sleep during the coronavirus lockdown.
For many of us, being unable to meet up with friends and family members can be challenging. If you’re feeling lonely, or you’re missing seeing the faces of the people you love, then consider making use of video calling.
Never has it been so easy to see and speak with loved ones who live miles away – over a glass of wine, a coffee, or even dinner.
You can make free video calls on your smartphone (both Android and iPhone) using WhatsApp – which will allow you to speak with up to four people at the same time. If you’d prefer to use your laptop or PC, then try using Zoom (for video calling with up to 100 people), Skype (for video calls with up to 50 people) or Google Hangouts (for video calls with up to 10 people when using for personal calls).
All of these are free to use, but Zoom will place a 40 minute time limit on calls connecting more than three people – with the option to upgrade to a premium subscription to remove this limit. For tutorials on WhatsApp and Zoom video calling, you can visit the Rest Less guide, here.
If you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious during these uncertain times, then one of the best ways to cope is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness brings your mind back to the present moment, so you can stop focusing on and worrying about the past or future.
If you’re new to mindfulness, then it’s best to set aside time in your day to practice – possibly 10 minutes in the morning and 10 in the evening to start with.
Techniques typically focus on creating a heightened awareness of the senses, for example, switching your TV off and focusing on the texture and taste of your dinner, and really enjoying each bite.
Or listening to the sound of the birds singing first thing in the morning and considering how that makes you feel. These moments are designed to offer you a peaceful escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life and can be a helpful tool to use anywhere, anytime – at any stage of life.
The Rest Less guide to mindfulness can offer more tips and info on how to get started.
How are you taking care of your mental and physical health during these uncertain times? Please share a technique that works for you.