As we enter a second lockdown here in the UK, many of us are more aware than before of the importance of maintaining a level of positive wellbeing (both physical and mental), if we are to get through it and come out the other side without the detrimental effect prolonged and/or excessive stress.
These are our seven simple tips for maintaining wellbeing during lockdown.
It makes sense that what we put in our body impacts how our body and brain works.
Highly processed foods and foods that are high in sugar can create inflammation in the body and brain which can impede
their ability to function well.
Eat whole foods: those that are as close to their original form as possible, and which are rich in vital nutrients, to feed the body and brain what they need to function well.
Our body is approximately 65% water and our brain is approximately 75% water.
Therefore, even mild dehydration can impede brain function
and in effect mood and focus.
Keep hydrated, through the fluids & foods you consume, to enable the body to deliver essential nutrients to the brain.
Our body was designed to move and in primitive times, movement was actually essential for our survival.
A sedentary lifestyle can create stiffness and tension in our muscles, increasing feelings of stress.
Keep moving throughout the day to enable the body to release the stiffness and tension that can exacerbate anxiety.
Sleep is essential for helping the body to recuperate and restore, and the brain to process the causes of anxiety (REM sleep).
Poor quality and/or duration of sleep can disrupt this process and impede on our ability to deal with stress.
Prioritise quality and duration of sleep to help the brain get the 20% of REM sleep it needs to process events and emotions manage anxiety.
Our body has a natural circadian rhythm, which regulates our sleep-wake cycle, as well as other important functions.
Shorter days with reduced daylight and increased artificial light, can disrupt this rhythm, and impact our sleep patterns.
Use natural light where possible and get outside during daylight hours to encourage production of the happy hormone, serotonin and enhance mood.
Studies show that our environment impacts our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems, and also our mood.
In primitive times, we literally lived in nature and so it makes sense that vast amounts of time spent away from natural
habitats might impact our wellbeing negatively.
Spend time in green space, by exercising outdoors, bring nature into your everyday life, by growing food, plants or flowers, or spend time with animals, to improve wellbeing.
Increased stress causes faster and shallower breathing which means that less oxygen reaches our bloodstream and brain,
the heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our muscles tense.
Relaxation is a natural state of being that decreases these
Prioritise time for relaxation to intentionally slow down the breath, heart rate & blood pressure, and release the muscles. Whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed – do it.