Lockdown placed many of our regular good habits under pressure, for a host of reasons, but now that restrictions are lifting, it is time to reset your nutrition and lifestyle goals.
And Donia Hilal, from personalised.co, has suggested that reintroducing positive changes around our diet, exercise, mental health and sleep will bring your body back to life or even create a brand-new version – and planning how to transition the changes will help you rebalance your body at your own pace.
- Healthy choices – lockdown could have either turned you into a creative MasterChef or a takeaway fiend. Either way, your diet and snacking habits have surely changed in the past few months. Step one is to ensure you are eating enough protein throughout the day. This change will leave you feeling fuller for longer by activating hormones in the body which suppress appetite, training your body to reduce cravings and mindless snacking. You can opt for animal protein or plant-based sources of protein such as legumes, nuts and beans, depending on your preference. Try to incorporate one protein source with every main meal of your day. Instead of drastically cutting things out of your diet, simple swaps to incorporate more fruits and vegetables will help your body transition at a good pace. Swap starchy carbs for complex ones such as cauliflower mash, green pea mash or courgetti spaghetti. Also, try replacing your regular snacks with low-sugar fruits such as apples, strawberries and blackberries.
- Embed your morning routine – eliminating the morning commute and pesky alarms has made working from home a dream. Getting out of bed 20 minutes before your first Zoom meeting and only having to dress your top half has become your only reality. A few months later and you will now notice the toll it has taken on your health, skipping meals, an unrested sleep cycle and inconsistent exercise routines. Begin to wake up at the same time daily, have a shower, eat a nourishing breakfast, and get fully dressed for the day ahead. If you need something to awaken your senses that mirrors your commute, go for a quick morning walk before you start working. This will place your brain in gear and keep your lifestyle active.
- Sleeping patterns – rectifying your evening routine will do wonders for your day ahead. A consistent night pattern will help your body to wind down, fall asleep quickly and conform into a healthy circadian rhythm that helps to support high-quality sleep. A night routine doesn’t have to be filled with mindful tasks, but instead those simple enough to evoke your brain into relaxing. Experiment with different options and see which works best for you. This may include a face mask, herbal tea, yoga session or taking a shower before bed to make a difference to your sleep. If possible, you should avoid the endless digital scrolling before bed which we are all guilty of!
- Keeping fit – one of the more positive things to come out of the global pandemic is the keen spirit of keeping fit. Keep the motivation going strong, even as lockdown lifts, by adding a workout or run into your morning or evening routine. If you have exercised regularly before lockdown and seen a decrease in your activity, don’t be hard on yourself. Everyone responds differently and giving your body a break isn’t all bad. You will be surprised at how quickly your endurance returns after a few sessions. Don’t jump back into exercising at your normal pace but instead gradually work back up to your set workouts per week.
- Mental health – rumours and speculation on the outbreak can increase your anxiety and trigger bad habits, such as overeating. Having access to reputable news sources will help you feel more in control but remember to take a break if it feels too overwhelming. The best you can do is follow the Government hygiene advice by washing your hands more than usual and stay home if you feel unwell. As lockdown is easing, keep in touch with friends and family or even contact a helpline for emotional support. Communicating your fears will help to manage your stress and avoid any habits with long-term consequences, such as smoking and binge drinking. It is a worrying time for many of us, coming out of lockdown is attached with new rules and regulations, always remember to do what is best for you and your body.