How to Keep Active at home during Lockdown
At the time of writing, England is in a third national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet another setback for the country has negatively affected people’s social, work, and personal lives. With the end to COVID-19 appearing tantalisingly close, there is plenty of reason for optimism for the rest of 2021 once we are out of lockdown. For now, we have got to unfortunately adapt to once again being confined to our homes. To compound our grief, this time around it is winter which results in colder weather and darker evenings, making it even harder than previous lockdowns. Nevertheless, here are a few ways to keep yourself positive and active, both physically and mentally, at home during lockdown.
Setting goals during lockdown is a great place to start to keep active. Have a look at your current position and think of things that you could accomplish from having extra time at home. If you map out what you want to achieve near the start of lockdown, you can start building a routine, and if you stick to that routine you will feel so proud of yourself if you manage to reach your goals by the end.
It is great to say you want to get things done during lockdown, but actually setting goals has several benefits, such as helping with motivation and allowing you to measure the extent to your success. A method to help set good goals is to make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time measured (S.M.A.R.T). For example, “I want to finish 10 chapters of my new book by 31st January”. This method will ensure that you do not set unrealistic goals which cannot be measured, which would likely do more harm than good.
With all this being said, it is important to not feel disappointed or disheartened if you don’t meet your goals or deadlines. All our lives have changed drastically in the last year, between juggling home working, home schooling and just about everything else. Having goals is a great focus point, but it is not something to feel negative about if not achieved during these extraordinary times.
Exercising provides a number of mental health benefits by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function (Callaghan, 2004). Despite the closure of gyms, there are plenty of ways to exercise in the comfort of your own home. This can include doing online fitness classes through platforms like Zoom and YouTube, calisthenics (strength training using bodyweight – a good alternative weight training), or if you miss the weights from the gym you can buy a home set for working out.
Indoor exercise will certainly feel different for those of you who are used to going to gyms or playing sports with others, but once you get used to it you will see the benefits are still there to be had. On the other end of the spectrum, this is the perfect opportunity to try indoor exercise for beginners, because exercising in the comfort of your own home is for the most part completely free, and you can do as much or as little as you want! Just take extra care to follow online instructions carefully to avoid injury, and do not partake in any exercise you do not feel comfortable with.
Fresh air is the remedy which we all need more of in these strange times. At the time of writing the government has issued a plea of working from home if you can, in addition to the rules of not seeing people outside your bubble. As a result, opportunities to go outside have been drastically limited.
Going outside for walks or runs, whether it be alone, with your support bubble or one other person outside of your household (who is from the same area) is still an option though. Although this is a small silver lining, this bit of freedom from what seems to be a house arrest can help tremendously with your mood, health and – to be put it lightly – sanity! The beauty of walking is that you can explore some beautiful places with people you care about, places that you ordinarily may not have seen.
We have gone over a lot about how to keep physically active so far, but what about keeping your mind stimulated when you are stuck inside all day? Allow me to introduce you to the world of books. Reading books has several benefits: reduced stress, aiding sleep, and strengthening the brain, to name a few (Healthline, 2019). Pre-2020, many of us found that we were too busy to set aside a time in the day to do some reading, whether that be travelling, going out with friends, going to the cinema… the list goes on. Nowadays, with so many luxuries having been cruelly taken away from us, we have much more time in the house, so why not set aside a bit of time for reading?
It is not the easiest hobby to pick up if you are not already an avid reader, especially with the convenience of TV and Netflix at the palm of our hands. But I assure you that if you find the right book to read which will interest and captivate you, you will be thanking yourself for taking the leap of faith to pick up reading. To link back to my point about goals, if you are a beginner to regular reading, setting small goals for yourself will make it tremendously easier to get through a book. For example, aiming to read just one chapter a day seems much less daunting than tackling a whole book, doesn’t it?
As mentioned in the previous point, a lot of us have found ourselves with more time in the house during lockdown than we are used to. Learning something new or expanding upon a topic you already know would be a great use of your newfound time.
This can be literally anything you want to learn about. It could be furthering your education to put you in a better position in your studies, it could be learning a new language, learning different recipes to cook – the world is your oyster when it comes to learning. Additionally, with the wonders of modern technology, learning has never been easier. You can research across several platforms including Google, YouTube and thousands of educational apps for your phone. It goes without saying that learning has an abundance benefits, but most of all… it allows you to start a conversation which is not about COVID-19!
If we are going to be stuck inside most of the day, why not make the place look nice? While it is easy to get into the mentality of ‘Nobody is coming round so why spruce the place up?’, tidying up the house will keep you active and make staying at home that little bit easier. You can have some fun trying new things while you’re at it, maybe bring in some new decorations and rearrange the furniture, who knows you might find a new look which suits your home! Or you can focus on perfecting your current style, maybe polish some surfaces or clean the windows to add that extra bit of pizzazz to your home. If you want to see some stunning interiors for inspiration, click here to see Clarendon Homes’ gallery of quality finishes!
Hopefully this article will have helped to inspire you to keep active during lockdown. Your health during COVID-19, both mental and physical, is important to look after, so here are some links to websites which can offer further help and guidance if needed:
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