This is a worrying time. A frightening and anxiety inducing time for even those who have a positive attitude to life and all that it throws at them.
From various interactions on social media and with the voluntary work I am involved with I am aware that for many, the situation is really frightening, and they’ve been struggling with sleep, eating sensibly and managing their days whilst isolated from family, friends and regular social interactions.
I’m certain that you may have observed an increase in people running, walking, jogging and cycling. Weekly routines for many individuals include regular gym visits or exercise classes and this group appear to be really struggling with the physical isolation aspect of life “in lockdown”.
We are unable to influence anything in the larger scheme of things. All we can do is work within the constraints of what is in our direct control.
Some of these things such as not leaving the house unless absolutely necessary and, when we do, practising physical distancing are being imposed on us. It’s imperative that we listen to the advice that we are being given and adhere to it.
But how can we ensure that we maintain or even improve our own physical and mental wellbeing at this time? We have to take responsibility for keeping ourselves as mentally and physically fit as we are able to.
For me, there aren’t too many changes. I am still exercising first thing in the morning, on a daily basis for around an hour and on my own – the same place and generally around the same time of day (7am/8am).
I have a daily exercise regime which involves back, neck and shoulder stretches to maintain my flexibility and ability to remain independent. That’s particularly important to me as a disabled person. I need to be able to maintain (and perhaps even improve) my ability to carry out everyday activities of personal care – showering, dressing managing to use the toilet, mobility.
Exercises to increase my heart rate, maintain muscle mass and strengthen my core are an essential part of my daily routine, just as much as dental care is.
My exercise routine is seated on a gym ball, in an upstairs room looking out to the street – we have views across a large open lawned area – a University hall of residence. I put music on, music that I love listening to. I fully immerse myself in what I am doing for an hour. Counting my reps, making sure that my stretches are done fully. 30-40 minutes of vigorous bouncing and “marching’ swinging my arms to get my heart rate up to peak.
That exercise is now particularly important and the urge to just “get it over and done with” in order to get on with my day has gone. I have more time in my day to get on with those other things.
I also have the time to concentrate on ensuring that my meals are as healthy and as nutritious as possible – including beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fresh salads and vegetables. This is also something I am very used to doing. We don’t eat takeaways and we eat out only rarely – so we aren’t seeing the changes to our everyday life as being too restrictive.
We are also able to spend more time in our garden. I appreciate that not everyone is lucky enough to have outdoor space and there isn’t a day that goes past at the moment when I am not grateful for the space that we have and the fact that we both love gardening so much. Watching the progress on the growth of various seeds we have planted (courgette, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, flowers, salad leaves, beetroot).
Stay safe everyone, stay well and take care of yourself. It’s really crucial that you do that at the moment.