To be clear, the only way to halt the spread of coronavirus is by practising social distancing. So why not take the opportunity to turn your at-home stay into your own self-improvement retreat?
smoothfm spoke to some wellness experts to bring you these hot tips on how to leverage the lockdown and improve your health.
Luke Mcleod, meditation instructor and founder of Soul Alive.
1. Learn to meditate.
Founding Soul Alive and being a meditation teacher, I’m obviously going to recommend this. However, the lockdown has provided the perfect opportunity to try meditation if you haven’t before for a number of reasons. Firstly it’s something you can do by yourself at any time, from anywhere. Second, it requires no equipment and minimal physical effort. Lastly, and most importantly, it is proven to help deal with anxiety and stress. Something we’re all feeling a bit of right now.
2. Get creative in the kitchen.
Being forced to stay inside gives you the chance to work on your cooking skills. Cooking from scratch can be a lot more healthy for you than eating out as you are in complete control of what you put into your meals. Focus on simple ingredients straight from the earth and ocean and most importantly, have fun with the process.
3. Spring Clean the house.
What a great opportunity to give your home a good ‘going-over’. Having a clean and uncluttered home is proven to improve your mental state.
4. Devour a good book.
Now’s the time to pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for the last year. Research suggests that reading can reduce stress levels by as much as 68%!
Olivia Arezzolo, Sleep Expert
1. Keep a morning routine which includes waking with the sun, going outside into nature, exercising and meditating. Each of these elements is clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety and will help to ground you in a consistent routine, particularly at a time when your usual one has been taken away (e.g. going to work/to your favourite cafe).
2. Similarly, a consistent bedtime routine involving a shower/bath; a sleep supplement, diffusing lavender; practicing gratitude and reading – all these elements again lessen anxiety and will create order amongst the chaos. Anxiety + stress is brought on by uncertainty so by fixing yourself in these routines – which can be executed regardless of lockdown or not – helps you feel settled.
Physiologically, the above will help relax your body and lessen the release of stress hormone cortisol, which can otherwise impair immunity.
Sam Wood, personal trainer and founder of 28 by Sam Wood
1. Move your body. Research shows that exercise improves mental wellbeing. Whether it’s five minutes or 35, make time to move your body every single day. I am offering free live workouts on my public Facebook page and my personal Instagram channel to help people keep active and hopefully healthy.
2. Additionally, it’s important if you are working from home, or spending longer at home than you usually would, that you don’t forget about your posture. If you have a standing desk at work, see if you can take it home. If you’re setting up a make-do desk, ensure you have your computer at a comfortable height so that you’re not craning your neck. Sit upright, don’t slouch and don’t sit for too long! Get up, walk around, and have a stretch every day.
Madeline Calfas, Naturopath and Nutritionist
1. Tips to Boost your Immunity: Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Echinacea, Lactoferrin and Olive Leaf Extract are all great supplements you can take to help boost your immune system. Medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, are also of great benefit.
2. Ensure you get plenty of rest, keep hydrated, and try to minimise the junk food carnage! Eating loads of green leafy vegetables is a great way to help the immune system.
3. Missing the gym? There are loads of remote training services available to keep you active and keep your heart rate going! You can go for group classes or templates programs, or you can go all in with a remote coach.
4. There’s no better time to pick a remote class to learn something new than when you have two weeks to yourself! Platforms like Outschool offer a wide range of classes – more than enough to keep you occupied.
Kate Spina, Nutritionist
1. Choose foods to support your immunity! Pasta and mince are handy but not great at providing you with All-Star immunity nutrients, like vitamins C, D, A and E and zinc. These can be found in an array of longer-life foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, tinned and frozen fish and seafood, tinned and dried legumes, eggs and certain fruit and vegetables. It can be hard to think beyond frozen peas when trying to stock up on fruit and veg, so think hardier items like oranges, mandarins, potatoes, frozen strawberries, red capsicum, sweet potato, dried apricots, carrots, kale, broccoli, olives, sauerkraut, kimchi and jars of roasted veg like capsicum, eggplant and artichokes.
2. Know what you are going to do with the food you have bought! You’ve bought all the rice and tinned chickpeas – now what? Do a search of your favourite recipe sites and make a rough menu plan. This allows you to use your fresh items first, add variety (important not to get bored during lockdown!) and make the most of your ingredients. Rice and chickpeas are pretty boring on their own but make them into a Sweet Potato and Chickpea Curry with Coconut Rice and you are getting valuable nutrients AND a delicious meal.
3. Lockdown could be an ideal time to schedule some online appointments that help you come out the other end feeling healthier. Make the most of online nutrition consults to help support your immune system and make some positive changes to your eating while you have the time to focus on YOU.
Here’s to a successful self-isolation!