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In these unsettling times, we’ve come up with 7 top tips for surviving lockdown.

1. Follow a routine

The daily grind. It’s actually good for us, so if you are at home, whether you are working or not, it’s important to create a routine.

Try to get up and go to bed at the same time every day, aiming for 7–9 hours of sleep per night.

Plan your day and keep to lunch breaks, stretch your legs breaks, and time for relaxation.

Rather than thinking about how long lockdown may last and it stretching ahead, try to think about each day or each week as it comes.

2. Build exercise into every day

Now is the time to try Joe Wicks (love his enthusiasm), or any online exercise class – there is a huge variety on YouTube to suit any age and ability, whether it’s HIIT, Yoga, Pilates or Barre. Why not try something new?

It’s definitely the right time to dust off any owned but un-used gym equipment dumbbells, exercise bikes, weights, rowing machine as they all could be put to great use.

You could try some squats, lunges or planks when you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, if you’ve got a garden or patio, get moving outside.

Get up at least once an hour to move.

If you are missing the camaraderie that comes from exercising with your mates, why not make use of technology so you can still exercise together?

Facetime, Zoom and Skype are just a few of the ways for you to link up with your gym buddies without actually leaving home and still getting to spur each other on.

3. Eat healthily

We know it’s not the easiest time to be healthy, and don’t be too hard on yourself, but try not to turn to or rely on comfort and convenience foods – there are likely to be lots of ingredients in your cupboards to help create nutritious meals.

You could check out our wealth of recipes on our Health Hub for some quick and easy healthy food ideas.

Here a few of our favourites that might use up some store cupboard ingredients – Easy Peasy bean stew, Aubergine Peanut Butter Curry, Roasted Broccoli with lentils & halloumi

Generally, you should be aiming to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to make sure you’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals. Fresh, frozen, dried and tinned options all count.

Have regular meals and stick to healthy options such as fruit, a small handful of unsalted nuts and seeds for snacking.

Canned oily fish, in particular, is a really handy item to have in your cupboard while on lockdown, it cheap, has a long shelf life and is rich in omega-3, which studies say can improve mental wellbeing. Oily fish is also a rich source of vitamin D, which as we are all indoors more, you could consider taking supplements for the next few months too.

4. Hydration

Getting enough fluids helps your body function properly.

You should be aiming to drink 6–8 glasses of fluid a day. Water is probably best but squash, tea, coffee and milk all count, remember you may need more if it’s hot or you have just exercised.

Try to keep any caffeinated drinks to a minimum and try not to drink them from mid-afternoon so they don’t affect your sleep. Caffeine may also cause you to feel irritable and add to feelings of anxiety.

While it might be tempting, don’t turn to alcohol, smoking or other recreational drugs as coping strategies for stress. They will only make things worse.

5. Spend time in nature

Have you ever noticed how going on a walk outside can completely clear your head? When you’re out in the fresh air and can feel the sun shining on your skin, all of your problems just seem to melt away.

Researchers at the University of Essex found that taking a walk in nature lowered the depression scores in 71% of participants. Studies have found that the sound of gurgling streams and soft breezes can stabilise the blood pressure and heart rate of patients on the operating table, while terminally ill cancer patients have reported feeling less discomfort and anxiety if nature sounds are played at their bedside. Even just looking at landscape posters has been shown to lower stress in people!

If you can – go outside, or look out your window.

If you can’t get out check out this amazing field recording: Biodukt of bird song recordings from Slovenian and Italian sub-Alpine forests – Love the woodpeckers in Sunrise Mesnjak

Or this recording by Lucrecia Dalt & Aaron Dilloway in the forest of Colombia.


6. Stay connected

There are still lots of ways you can stay connected with your loved ones. Call them regularly, using a video call where possible.

Being at home with family or flatmates may be challenging at times. Try to talk to and respect each other if issues come up. And try to enjoy the luxury of spending more time with those you live with.

If you know people who live alone, especially the elderly or those who are vulnerable, keep in touch with them by giving them a call.

Cut down on social media. Endlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram is not healthy.

7. Be kind to yourself

It’s natural to feel a whole range of feelings during such a time of uncertainty and change. Some days will be better than others. This is a time to be kind to yourself and to others.

And if you fancy cutting your hair – go for it, or don’t … either way, stay positive and take each day as it comes…

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