I’ve found that now, more than ever, it’s so important to look after both my physical and mental wellbeing, and this has been my primary focus over the past couple of weeks in social isolation aka “lockdown”. I’ve put together a list of my favourites, but I try to do 1 activity for my physical health and 1 activity for my mental wellbeing each day. It honestly makes such a difference so I thought that I would share my list for those who would be interested in giving it a go as well.
Activities for your physical wellbeing:
With the vast majority of us now working from home, possibly at uncomfortable working positions or without the luxury of a desk and office chair, making time to stretch will be really beneficial for your physical health in helping to prevent muscle tightness building up.
Much the same as stretching – grabbing your foam roller and applying some self-massage to certain areas of the body can be really beneficial and feel great, especially after a long period of sitting. Using a tennis ball for self-massage would fall in to this category also!
There are some great online yoga classes out there, and even some free on YouTube that you can load up and encourage some movement in to the body and muscles to keep the muscle tightness away. A lot of folk are often put off with yoga as they’re under the impression that you need to be able to do the splits or handstands to participate, but rest-assured this simply isn’t the case! Have a look at “Yoga for Beginners” classes or routines online and start there.
These types of workouts have been growing in popularity of the past few years anyway due to the convenience of being able to workout in the comfort of your own home, but now with the self isolation rules in place these are continuing to explode all over the internet. I’m sure that you’ve stumbled upon one or two over the past few weeks anyway. Most notably would be Joe Wicks home workouts – aimed as an at-home PE class for kids but essentially still achieves a 30 minute heart rate raiser for adults too.
Go for a walk
My personal favourite – simply going for a walk. The current UK Government guidelines actually encourages you to get outside and go for a walk as part of your daily exercise. Who knows whether this will, at some point, be tightened as a restriction, but for the time being, and if you can still avoid close contact with others, try and go for a brisk walk outside. Getting up and outside early may be a good idea to really give you a chance of being out there alone, likewise going in the evening if you’re not great with early starts.
Activities for your mental wellbeing:
Read a book
I’m sure that we are all reading plenty of current news updates, newsletters and blogs (😉) but actually picking up a book and getting engrossed in something completely separate from coronavirus-related news can be really refreshing for your mental health. Fiction or non-fiction is entirely down to your preference, but reading a book, or listening to an audio book, is a great way to stimulate your mind and look after your mental health.
Listen to music
Much the same as reading a book, listening to your favourite music can provide a welcome distraction from the outside reality, and give yourself some much needed “me time”.
Skype with a friend
Social distancing has its challenges for remaining, erm, social. But we are social beings and have to be careful not to deprive ourselves of this too much! Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Houseparty, to name a few of the most popular video messaging apps out there. Hey, even a good old fashioned phone call would work too!
Get fresh air outdoors
You can incorporate this one with your activity for physical health too by going for a walk. But sometimes just simply being outside, whether sitting, walking or running, is enough to make you feel “grounded” with nature again, and provide some mental clarity. Being indoors all day is tough, so make sure to get outdoors once a day if you can.
Learn a new skill/hobby
Now is the time to learn that new skill/hobby that you always wished you could, but in the past you simply didn’t have the time. Now perhaps you do?! Learning a new language? Starting to play a new instrument? Learning to cook? This period of self isolation is a great opportunity to try something that we have always wanted to. My personal recommendation is to have a look at an free app called Duolingo to learn a new language. I have been learning more Polish on there to be able to (hopefully) communicate better with my in-laws!
Aim to do 1 activity for your physical health and 1 activity for your mental wellbeing each day, and you can really have fun with it!