Simple ways to try to feel a little better everyday – even in lockdown

Get up for 5 minutes in every hour ( at least)

Some clever watches or movement trackers might already prompt you to do this but you don’t need to have this to remind you to get up and give your self a jump start. Sitting for too long is health issue all on its own – you may have heard the phrase the sitting in the new smoking- so it is really important to beware of this at home. Without the morning commute or walk even to the work car park, your overall sitting time may be more at the moment so make sure you try to get up at least once an hour.  Jump around, stretch, dance, run on the spot, move however you feel like it- a simple way to boost your energy and give your mind and body a mini work out.

Get outside responsibly

The current rules are clear: following the current lock down rules of social distancing and one short trip outside the home for exercise per day,

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

It can be easy to not want to go out at all if we are feeling bit lethargic, fed up or even scared of being out and about. But 15 minutes outside in sunshine is enough to give our vitamin D levels a boost (with our arms and legs exposed if you can manage) Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for our immune system, bone health and can help our mood too.

Look around, up and out.

When we are outside even for the briefest of periods it can help to focus on the surroundings and where we are. Whilst we have to be mindful of our proximity to others at the moment, when there is space to do so look up, around and out. This can help us be present and be right where we are. Look at what is in front of you and if you are out with a family member chat about what you can see- flowers, a child’s coloured in rainbows blu tacked into a window, a nicely kept lawn or carefully tended garden. Seemingly simple things but they can help us focus on the moment and not drift off into worries or what might be waiting for us on the news or in our inbox at home.

Try not to eat on the go

Whilst pre lock down that probably meant grabbing a sandwich dashing between meetings, or a venti cappuccino and cake on the run to school pick up now this means regular snacking from the fridge or the cupboard as you walk past.

The same principles apply- eating on the go is not good for digestion and it can confuse the signals to our brain about whether we are full or not. 

The result? Ongoing snacking, never feeling fully full and resulting sluggishness and bloating.

The solution? Take what you are looking to eat, put it on a plate and sit down to eat it. This avoids mindless snacking which can affect your energy levels and ultimately your weight.

Make a decision about what you want to eat, sit down and eat it consciously. And drink lots of water. 

Chew chew chew

Digesting our food begins when we put something in our mouth, if we gulp or swallow too quickly we are not giving enough time for our digestive enzymes ( chemical that work to break down our food) to get to work and as a result we don’t get the chance to digest our food properly. This can leave us feeling bloated and not aware of when we are full. The famed Mayr Clinic in Austria – founded by Dr Franz Xaver Mayr  who believed that intestinal health was the key to keeping well and now a popular health retreat for the rich and famous, advocates chewing each bite up to 30 times!

Sweet craving? 

Look beyond the Easter eggs if you can and try a  herbal tea- peppermint or something with cinnamon can often satisfy these sweet cravings ( at least for a short while!) 

Home working?

Whilst in a work setting we may have a desk set up to ensure optimal spinal position and use of a mouse this might be harder at home, especially if you are at a table or kitchen counter. 

Poor posture can affect your back and cause pain and stiffness. This can have a knock on effect to your concentration and energy levels. Try to ensure your computer screen is at eye level and that your elbows and hands are one level. If you are using a lap top use a book or pile of paper to help this.

Dr Clara Russell