Our country is under lockdown, and many of us are fearful of falling captive to anxiety, depression, poor health, depleted productivity, and many more of the problems that come with social distancing.
On top of this, we are dealing with the stress of going through a pandemic for the first time in 100 years - both in a personal and a global capacity. For our world, it means damaged economies and instability. For us, it means worry, fear and sadness.
This is a frightening time, and it is more important than ever to be proactive in the protection and strengthening of your holistic health.
While you are at home, take measures to ensure that you are monitoring and maintaining your physical, emotional and mental health. You should also try to use this time in a productive way so that you can maintain your motivation, and walk away having achieved something. This can be more than a time of fear and pain - it can be your time to heal.
Here are just a few ways to tend to your wellbeing at home:
- Take a Breath
It’s no surprise that one of the best ways to relieve anxiety and lift your mood is through the practice of meditation, mindfulness, breathing techniques and other relaxing rituals. Guided meditation is an easy way to instill some peace and harmony in your day – here are some great apps that you can check out! As for mindfulness, it’s a great way to slow your heart rate, control your breathing and release tension in your muscles – here’s a handy little guide for an easy mindfulness session. Breathing techniques are another fantastic way to slow things down and relax any tension you may be feeling. Head over to Unstress Yourself for five simple exercises you can try out today.
- Break a Sweat
We all know that exercise is great for our mental and physical health, and right now it’s more important than ever to maintain your holistic health and get moving (especially since we aren’t getting our usual daily exercise in). A workout once a day will get those endorphins going to boost your energy and your mood, and keep your health in check. Try to pick a set time every day and coordinate with friends, family members or roommates to exercise together – you can pick a workout program or a fitness challenge and have a little Zoom-ba exercise party!
- Focus on the Good
Right now, all of us are tackling some pretty heavy situations and emotions, and it can feel pretty hard to look on the bright side. On top of this, it can feel selfish to focus on your life and how blessed you are when there are so many people dealing with illness, fear and pain. But it really is essential to bring your focus to the good that is happening around you and in the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup – set your eyes on all of the beautiful things around you, and take care of your own happiness before taking on the world’s sadness.
- Start Fresh
This is an excellent opportunity to work on any home projects or chores that you need to take care of. Even if you are still working your 9 - 5 from home, you can take small breaks in your day to sweep the floor, organise some drawers, water your garden, or see to any other chilled tasks you could go about. If you can, set yourself the challenge of doing a full spring clean, so that you can reset your mind and exit lockdown refreshed.
- Laugh it Out
We don’t know if laughter is the best medicine, but it’s definitely in the top five. Try to do something that makes you laugh every day. Watch funny videos, play games with your housemates, phone your best friend and laugh about all the silly things that you’ve done together. Laughing has a way of grounding us when we seem to be floating into gloom, firmly reminding us of the joy and love and adventure that we (still) have all around us.
- Take Food Over the Rainbow
It’s extra important to ensure that you are nourishing your body properly and giving it all the nutrients it needs at this time. It’s also a good idea to add some immune-boosting ingredients to your diet, such as acai berry, yoghurt, spinach, rooibos tea, garlic, honey, ginger and fresh fruit with a high vitamin C contents (blueberries are packed with vitamin C AND antioxidants!). A fun meal plan to try out during lockdown is eating the rainbow every day! Differently coloured foods contain different nutrients, and if you eat a fruit and/or veggie from each colour group once a day, you’ve pretty much got your micronutrients taken care of! Just make sure to monitor your macronutrient consumption (carbs, fats and proteins). You can check out our article on the rainbow diet here.
- Write It Out
Modern times have seen us disconnected from physical writing as work, correspondence and even schoolwork has gone digital. This is not necessarily a bad thing – it is now much easier and quicker to connect with each other and communicate. But the act of putting pen to paper is a great way to work through things, as it forces you to slow down and articulate what has been happening and how you are feeling. If you get some nice stationery (even just some colourful markers on a normal exam pad will do!), you can do some cathartic journalling. If you’re feeling a little more productive, you can write out nice lists of daily tasks, put together personalised calendars and make motivational self-care posters for your home and workspace.
- Stay Connected
Now more than ever, we have to make sure that we are socially distancing but not socially isolating. If you live alone, the lockdown might be particularly difficult and lonely, so make sure to keep in regular contact with your loved ones. Even if you don’t feel it’s necessary, it will do so much good to have a good chat with a friend or family member. Think about putting together a call schedule, and try to catch up with people that you haven’t spoken to for a while. Even if you live with other people, it is still possible to isolate yourself by staying in your own private space and avoiding social engagement, physically and digitally.
For the first time in ages, many of us are able to get a full night’s sleep, and maybe even sleep in – take advantage of this. It’s so easy to lie in bed scrolling through Instagram or watching Netflix, only to realise that you’ve stayed up until 2 am. Proper sleep is essential for your overall health and wellbeing. More specifically, getting a regular good night’s rest has the potential to improve your memory, lower stress and anxiety levels, maintain a healthy weight, stave off depression, improve focus, and boost the immune system (which is pretty important right now!). If you have trouble sleeping, or you want to enjoy a truly deep sleep, check out some pre-bedtime rituals to get you in the right headspace. We love this dreamy bedtime yoga practice by Boho Beautiful (you get to do it in bed with a pillow!).
- Be Kind
This is the last item on the list not because it is the least important, but because it is the most vital. Above all else, be kind to yourself right now. What we are all going through - what you are going through - is really, really hard. So be gentle with yourself, especially if you are studying or working and struggling to focus or be productive. You may end up messing up or making mistakes, and you need to take responsibility for them, but you also need to move on from them. If you have messed up by missing a deadline or neglecting your textbooks for too long, take a moment to breathe deeply, accept that you have slipped up, figure out how to fix it, make a plan for how to move forward without repeating your mistake, and then forgive yourself. Sinking into a pit of shame and self-deprecation will threaten your mental health considerably, and furthermore it will not help your career or studies. The best thing to do is remain calm and realistic – if you can, after some time, separate your emotions from your failures and missteps, so you can just focus on how to correct the wrong and move on.
We may be locked down in our own little worlds for a while, but we can stay connected, grow ourselves and each other, and come out victorious through kindness, strength, light, courage and love.