From finding a home yoga class to planning healthy meals and making space for mindfulness, there are many things you can do to stay healthy at home.
It’s more important than ever that we take care of our physical health and emotional wellbeing, but it’s not hard to build a few simple self-care rituals into your day. These will help you to manage stress and anxiety, build mental and physical resilience and navigate new challenges.
From the importance of taking mindful breaks to the benefits of getting creative and how to exercise indoors, we all need to discover new ways to stay healthy in our own home.
Feeling frazzled? - ‘A few minutes of deep diaphragmatic breathing will activate your nervous system, bringing feelings of rest and calm,’ says Aimee Hartley, author of Breathe Well. ‘A little and often approach to breathe-work is the key. If you’re working from home, a few minutes of belly breathing before starting at the laptop and a few minutes of alternate nostril breathing before bed can help us to start and end our days in a more relaxed state of mind.'
Trying your hand at home schooling? Aimee’s Home School Breathe programme offers 6 months of weekly breath exercises to help your child – and you – start and end the day in a calmer frame of mind.
Like breathing, you can practise mindfulness anywhere, any time. Popular meditation app Headspace has unlocked a free, specially curated collection of meditation and mindfulness content called Weathering The Storm, packed with guided meditations, sleep and movement exercises designed to help us navigate change, re-frame anxiety, improve focus and deal with uncertainty.
Being mindful throughout the day is crucial - focus on your breath at regular intervals throughout the day as part of your daily routine, whether that’s while cleaning the house or making a cup of tea.
Train yourself to notice moments throughout the day when you can begin to implement this, concentrating on your breath and the feeling of your chest rising and falling. This will help you practise being centred and bring your attention back to the body.
Staying fit and healthy doesn’t need to be pounding the pavements or hitting the gym – it can be as simple as streaming a pre-work workout to your laptop. Top trainers, influencers and fitness studios including Barry's Bootcamp and Psycle London have taken to YouTube and Instagram Live to offer free or donation-only exercise classes. The NHS Fitness Studio is also providing a range of 24 on-demand classes, from post-natal yoga to belly dancing.
If you’re looking for something a little more calming, why not combine mindfulness with movement? ‘At the moment we’re all feeling isolated and cooped up, which means that we need to connect and we need to move,’ says Naomi Annand, author of Yoga: A Manual for Life. ‘Yoga allows us to do these things together, as it encourages you to connect with your breath and your body, where you can find calm and ease anxiety.’
Five minutes is worthwhile whenever you can grab a moment – before you start work, at lunch, whenever. There’s a wealth of stuff out there. There are free meditation videos and live-streamed classes Yoga On The Lane.
Sticking to a healthy diet and building healthy meals from scratch can be a challenge at the best of times, but even more so when we find ourselves adjusting to a change in circumstances.
Making the most of what you've got is key, we’re all got foods lurking in our cupboards, so now it’s more important than ever to use up what you have and love your leftovers. Creating a healthy routine can help you find some order in your day. Establish set meal times, plan and prepare your meals and stick to it!
Breakfast could be cereal or porridge with dairy or a milk alternative, sprinkled with dried fruit, nuts or seeds; or a slice of wholemeal toast topped with scrambled egg or nut butter and a banana.
Lunch could mean a wholegrain sandwich or roll; soup made from tinned pulses stashed in your cupboard; or a baked potato topped with cheese, beans or tinned fish.
Dinner might be a hearty bean and vegetable chilli with rice; a noodle-based stir fry with fish, chicken or tofu; or pasta with fish, tinned tomatoes or veggies.
Picking high-fibre foods and keeping yourself hydrated will help you stay fuller for longer: water, tea, coffee, milk, juice, sugar-free drinks, soups and stews all count. Habitual fridge raider? You can work one to two 100-calorie snacks into your daily meal plan – just stay mindful.
With many experts giving away free recipe ideas, it is the perfect time to get in to cooking. Why not try the delicious Pad Thai recipe from Nutritionist Emma Hanton from Essentially Emma?
Creative play isn’t just for kids. Journalling, sketching and painting are all great ways to boost mood, express ourselves and build connections with others. ‘Scary times often make us want to retreat, but our data shows that being creative can significantly improve our mental health and wellbeing – and create an opening for connection,’ says Jemima Frankel, Communications and Community Coordinator at 64 Million Artists, a social enterprise that champions everyday creativity. ‘And what we need more than anything right now is to stay connected’.
This is a chance to use your brain and body a little differently, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary – whatever that means to you. Try new crafts, sing in your shower, plant new things in your garden, learn an instrument, “commute” around your house, make stuff out of recycled cardboard. Then share what you’ve done – start an online book group, knitting club or creativity cafe.
Use them to open up conversation, learn new things, create together, listen to each other and make the (creative) time to navigate this extraordinary time.
Make time to look after yourself.
Spa days might be off the menu, but bubble baths, at-home facials and some well-deserved ‘me’ time most definitely aren’t – so put them on your self-care schedule. Beauty is so much more than skin deep and employing some self-care rituals around your beauty regime can make a real impact to how you feel.
Even something as seemingly innocuous as cleansing your face can serve as a great opportunity to pause, take yourself out of your head and really focus on the “now”. In the modern world, we tend to rely on vision more than our other senses, but tuning in to our sense of touch and smell through simple massage techniques using beautifully scented products can be hugely beneficial to our overall sense of wellbeing.