How to look after yourself during lock down

In these unprecedented times, we not only need to look after our physical health but our emotional and mental health too. Finding a structure to our days is important whilst we are in lock down. This keeps us from becoming overwhelmed by fear and the barrage of information coming at us from the news channels. Of course it’s important to stay informed but sometimes it may be helpful to step back and limit how often we listen to the news or read the latest updates on social media. Here are some ideas on how to survive during this time…

Make a To Do List

We may feel quite helpless in the midst of the current situation so having a daily plan can help us feel more in control. Your list may include any of the following ideas, as well as jobs that you’ve perhaps been meaning to do for ages, like clearing out the junk in the loft or sorting your wardrobe. It’s amazing how these tasks can be both distracting and satisfying.

Physical wellbeing

It seems most people are taking the advice to get out once a day for a walk or a run. This means you’re not only getting some exercise but some fresh air and, if the sun is shining, a little vitamin D which is vital for the immune system, as well as our mental health. There are also plenty of resources available for additional ways to support our emotional and physical health, such as online yoga and Pilates.

Diet

If you find you have more time on your hands, this is a great time to look for new recipes. Being unable to get a delivery slot or finding that you are going to the supermarket less often means you have an opportunity to use your ingenuity in creating new meals. You could, for instance, use up any vegetables you have left with a tin of tomatoes and a tin of beans that you might find at the back of the cupboard. Add some herbs, garlic and chilli and serve with some brown rice or pasta. It can be a fun challenge to see what you can find in the cupboard and freezer and use your imagination to make a meal!

Eating a balanced diet with plenty of veg and some fruit is going to be supportive of the immune system which is, of course, especially important during this time. Equally, a lot of sugary or processed food is not going to be supportive so now would be a great time to avoid or limit these foods. Remember, as always, to drink lots of water.

Supplements

I am unable to advise on specific supplements for Coronavirus but, generally speaking, vitamin C and D support the immune system, as do probiotics.

Grow something

Seeing something grow is good for our wellbeing and has the potential to lift our spirits. If you have a garden, this could be a great time to gets some new flowers or shrubs (online) and tidy up ready for the summer. If you have a balcony you can plant Spring flowers in some pots. If you don’t have any outdoor space then order some indoor plants if you can. Many house plants, like beautiful peace lilies, actually help clean the air of the room they’re in.

Read

This is the perfect time to catch up with some reading, whether it’s a novel you’ve been meaning to read or something inspirational. In which case, I recommend the books of Gabby Bernstein, Julia Cameron, Brenee Brown and Wayne Dyer.

Anxiety arising from Coronavirus

Firstly, anxiety and fear lowers immunity so it’s a good idea to find ways to address this. This is obviously a situation none of us have been in before so it feels scary but if we can find ways to calm our fight or flight response it will help us to stay well physically and mentally.

Here are some ideas:

1. Online Yoga – for relaxation

2. Meditation or Guided Visualisation to calm the nervous system – there are so many available on Apps or YouTube

3. Breathing Techniques – these work so quickly when we’re anxious. Try breathing in through the nose for 4, hold for 7 and breathe out through the mouth for 8.

4. Practice gratitude and kindness – both help to improve mood and our emotional health. Every day list three things that you’re grateful for and do at least one good deed, such as texting or phoning an elderly relative.

5. Try to stay in the present rather than racing ahead with what if’s. You’re okay today. Take one day at a time.

If you’d like more tailored advice on your physical and emotional health, all my nutritional therapy and wellbeing coaching sessions are currently held over Skype or Zoom. You can contact me at: vanessa@wellbeingandnutrition.co.uk

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