Eight ways to grow new habits for post-lockdown wellbeing

Grow new habits

Lockdown has brought all of us plenty of challenges and encouraged us to make changes to our lifestyle. We’ve transformed our living rooms into offices or classrooms, been separated from our nearest and dearest and seen the most vulnerable members of our community unable to leave their homes for weeks.

But now that lockdown has eased further we’d like to know: will you revert to your old habits and ways of thinking? Or instead of going back to your busy and stressful life, will you take the positive changes you’ve made during the enforced change and develop these into healthy habits for life?

While it’s good to set goals in developing new habits, don’t push yourself too hard otherwise you may fall out of love with your new ways; make your goals achievable and grow your targets as the days and weeks progress.

Here’s a few suggestions on the kind of healthy habits you might want to embrace:

1. Getting enough sleep

To maintain your healthy sleep routine after lockdown, try to wake up at the same time each day, even at the weekend. That way there’s enough time for what experts call ‘sleep pressure’ to build up throughout the day, and it won’t take you as long to fall asleep each evening.

2. Cooking at home

Cooking at home is one of the best things you can do for your nutritional health and it’s a new interest you might want to develop. Home cooking gives you the opportunity to experiment with menus and recipes and it gives you control over what ingredients you use. That puts you in control of the quality of the ingredients in your everyday meals, ensuring you get your five-a-day, every day and minimises added fats, sugars and calories found in ready meals and snacks.

3. Shop local: support your local businesses

Many local businesses are reopening and need your support. In addition to helping rebuild the local economy, there are other benefits that come from supporting business in your local community. Local businesses are owned by your neighbours, they care about and are invested in the wellbeing of your community and its future. Shopping local is also good for the environment because they often have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies.

4. Get active…and stay active

With many gyms remaining closed, why not continue and extend your newfound exercise routines? To stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

Being active with others has social and mental health benefits, and some people simply find it more fun. When exercising outdoors, remember to follow all current Government COVID-19 health protection advice, including practicing social distancing at all times.

Exercising remotely via video call is another great way to stay active with others. You get all the benefits of moving and being connected to other people, while still practicing social distancing and protecting your health. And there’s no restriction on who you can be active with online – get moving with friends, family that don’t live with you - and even your work colleagues.

5. Helping others

Why not become a volunteer? Studies have shown that the more people volunteer, the happier they are, and helping others can even improve your physical health. Now restrictions are easing, there are still plenty of volunteering opportunities available. Find out more about getting involved from Kent Volunteers.

6. Keeping in touch with loved ones

Whether it’s quizzes, movie nights, group workouts or just having a good old chinwag, socialising has gone digital in 2020 and we’ve learned that catching up via video link is a fantastic way to enjoy others’ company.

Even if you’re all quizzed out, there’s no reason online socialising should stop as lockdown eases. Try scheduling a regular catch up with friends and relatives.

7. Spending time in nature

Spending time in green, leafy spaces is beneficial for your health. Now lockdown is over, don’t abandon your daily walks to the park or your garden sunbathing sessions. Just remember to avoid the hottest parts of the day, wear high factor sunscreen and a hat to give you protection from damaging UV rays. Even a short stroll can have a calming effect and that’s a great habit to develop. We’ve got some great tips on how to stay safe in the sun this Summer.

8. Meditation

Many people have tried meditation for the first-time during lockdown and discovered the stress-busting power of sitting still, closing your eyes, and concentrating on your breathing.

If you’ve mastered a daily ten-minute session, try extending the length of your practice. Research has shown that over time, meditation can help you focus better, reduce anxiety, and help manage the symptoms of depression.

Published on 08 July 2020