It's mid-January 2021 in lockdown in a global pandemic. Life as we knew it seems long gone. The 'new' normal will emerge at some point but, in the meantime, we need to keep ourselves positive and on track. Instead we may be feeling panicky, anxious, stressed out with homeschooling, trying to hold down a job (or job hunting), worrying about finances, living 24/7 either with our families, or solitary for months on end when we perhaps have never done so before. "How much longer?" we keep asking ourselves. "When can we get to see our friends and family again in real life?" "Will the vaccine actually be the answer and when is it going to be our turn to receive it?"
How are you feeling? Just stop right now for a minute and acknowledge your feelings, your mood, your heartbeat and your breath. How did you sleep last night? And the night before that? Is your mind busy? Do you feel anxious? Overwhelmed? What can you do to feel calmer and more in control of your controllables...?
Here are 5 top tips for each of the following key elements of your life, that you can change right now for the better!
First things first! How is your diet? Has it changed during lockdown? Is food one of the few things you now look forward to? Have you gained or lost weight? If so, do you know why?
Eat & plan 3 proper meals a day and NO SNACKING!
Start with a good breakfast - Green smoothie, porridge or poached eggs & avocado on toast are a few good examples.
Drink 2-3 litres of water every day (including hot drinks) - staying hydrated is key for the body and brain. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar - they wreak havoc with digestion, metabolism and the brain function.
Replace white carbs for complex carbs (such as wholewheat pasta, oats and brown rice).
2. Improve your sleep hygiene:
How are you sleeping? Did you sleep last night? How about the night before? Are you waking up with a busy brain? Perhaps you wake up with a foggy brain, lacking in energy and suffer with persistent low mood.
Start a wind down routine at least an hour before bed - have a bath, switch off screens, read a book or listen to some calming music or meditation.
Slow your breathing and stretch to relax the body - a short Pilates wind down routine can be enough.
Have a journal by your bed where you can detox your mind before tucking down - write all your thoughts, tasks and anything else into your journal to clear your brain.
Create a cool dark quiet environment in which to sleep (use an eye mask and ear plugs if necessary).
Take Magnesium for improved sleep - 'Better You' has a specific Magnesium spray to help improve your sleep.
3. Reduce Stress Levels - Try to identify what is making you feel stressed and overwhelmed? Do you feel out of control with a racing mind? Stress can be caused by so many different things including things that may have happened to us in the past.
Moderately exercise every day - ideally outside in nature, or try a Yoga or Pilates class - an exercise practise that flows breath and movement together can help you switch off to the outside world and feel more energised.
Use breathing techniques to help keep you calm (such as the Box Breathing technique)
Take a break from Technology - give your eyes and brain a break and move your body - take a short brisk walk or follow a short standing stretch & breathe workout!
Meditate for 5-10minutes as part of your morning routine - sit quietly before others awake or join in a guided meditation - the choice is yours!
Surround yourself with positivity - remove all the negative elements & people from your life (that are within your control), read positive statements & affirmations and stop watching the news if it makes you anxious.
My final point? Don't be hard on yourself. Banish any negative self-talk. We are in a situation none of us have ever faced before. Try not to feel the pressure or the overwhelm from the outside world right now. Focus on yourself (plus those immediately around you) and all the smaller things that make you happy and keep you healthy, so that when we can finally emerge we are raring to go.
If you enjoyed the above and would like further useful information why not look at the following:
My FREE top tips factsheet for Stress Reduction (in addition to the above) Get FULL instant access to my 'Be a Healthier You' Online Program (January offer: just £25 - ends soon!) - full of on-demand content and easy challenges for you to try.
Note about the Author: Sara Rounce is Founder of The Wellwoman Fitness Foundation and specialises in Women's Health & Fitness. She has just launched her brand new 'Be a Healthier You' Online Program to help women feel the best they can be. Having taught Pilates for nearly 18 years, Sara is particularly passionate about Women's Health, covering Pre & Postnatal, Pelvic Floor Health, Menopause, Bone Health, Breast Cancer Recovery & Fitness Later in Life.
During the pandemic Sara teaches regular on-line Pilates-based Women's Fitness classes and personal training, as well as live classes & workshops (when allowed) in South West Surrey and Hampshire, incorporating all aspects key for balancing a Woman's body through the different phases of life.
Please visit www.thewellwomanfitnessfoundation.co.uk for further information.
Thank you for reading this article.