We continue to live in globally uncertain times with some locations, such as Beijing, recently reintroducing public health restrictions to prevent a second wave of COVID-19. Thankfully such occurrences are in the minority and in most places so-called lockdowns continue to be gradually eased as people adapt to a ‘new normal’.
One of the best ways to adapt to your new routine is to think about the health goals you set for yourself at the start of the year. Reflect, reset, and get yourself ready for a better second half of 2020.
In a recent article we looked at getting your life back on track after lockdown and acknowledged that people have dealt with the pandemic in different ways. Lockdown may have seen you digress into unhealthy habits, or perhaps you were one of those who managed to adopt new healthy activities while stuck at home. Whichever category you fall into, there's plenty you can do to get your 2020 health goals back on track as you emerge from lockdown.
Keep Your Diet Simple
The easiest way to get back into a cycle of healthy eating is to keep your nutrition as simple as possible. Foods that you can eat raw or which require little cooking (such as steamed or in a stir fry) are excellent choices, so think about filling the fridge with fruit and vegetables. Try to mix things up by opting for different coloured fruit and veg; a more diverse diet can help you benefit from a wide range of nutrients and is also more exciting than only eating your ‘greens’!
Meal prepping will help too, especially if you’re no longer working from home and are spending more time in the office or working late. Set time aside to spend a few hours on Sunday preparing your meals for the week ahead. This should include preparing meals you can take to work too. This can be as simple as cooking a larger pot of food for dinner, so you can have the leftovers for lunch. If you take your lunch with you, this also means you won’t have to spend your break delayed in a socially distanced queued and can avoid the crowds.
Maintain Your Fitness Regime – Gym or No Gym!
Depending on your location, it might still be weeks or even months before you’re able to return to the gym. If you're telling yourself you can't resume your fitness regime until the gym reopens, then be honest with yourself about how that's just an excuse! There are plenty of other ways to exercise without a gym membership.
Equally if you’re one of those people who managed to keep on top of your fitness regime during the lockdown, you've probably discovered how little you need the gym. Can you hit a calorie-burning routine out of the park at home? Have you found incredible local routes for jogging and cycling? Are you now well-versed in the benefits of bodyweight workouts, and have a favourite app or YouTube channel? If so, keep doing what you're doing.
Not only will maintaining your fitness regime help keep your health goals on the right track, but you may also feel safer working out at home and not sharing communal gym spaces, and be able to save yourself some money too.
Make Your Journey To Work Part of Your Exercise Routine
Going back to work post-lockdown presents a range of challenges. You will likely have to socially distance if you take public transport, work at unusual times to avoid rush hour, or even find an alternative route to work.
Where possible, make as much of your journey to and from work part of your exercise regime – whether that be a walk, jog, or cycle. Even just walking up the stairs toy our desk instead of taking the elevator can help you to burn calories and avoid a crowded space!
Building fitness into your journey to work may also help alleviate any potential anxiety you have about returning to the office. Choosing exercise over transport will also be better for your mental health overall and allow you to spend more time outdoors. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the summer weather will make much public transport even more unbearable anyway.
If You're Struggling for Motivation, Find Like-Minded People
No-one will blame you if you're feeling unmotivated and struggling to push yourself back into something resembling a ‘real life’ routine. Don't punish yourself, as you're not the only person feeling that way.
First, find the reason you're feeling unmotivated. Maybe you need to see loved ones to help you reset and kick everything back into gear. If so find time to see them, while adhering to social distancing guidelines of course. Why not even get them involved in your workout by playing tennis or taking a cycle together?
Second, if you're feeling demotivated, try to find other people who can support you – whether in person or virtually. There are likely to be many others in the same boat, so connect with friends and help to motivate each other. Can you meet them for a socially distanced run or sign up to a virtual fitness class together? There's bound to be a number of social media support groups in your local community for people who are also looking for some health and wellness motivation.
Invest in Something New to Give Yourself a Boost
If you can afford to, treat yourself to something that will help you get your health and wellness goals back on track. If your gym membership is suspended or cancelled, you may be able to find other, more useful ways to invest the cash!
It could be anything from purchasing a new pair of running shoes, to a fitness tracker or some fancy home fitness equipment. Even something as simple as downloading a fitness app can help you make a conscious change in your approach to your health. Set alerts to remind you to move more or find an app that helps you keep a record of and stay accountable for what you eat.
As well as focusing on diet and fitness goals, you should reflect and consider your mental health too. There are many mindfulness apps out there that help you can destress and focus on your wellbeing. You can also check out our previous blog about how to cope with post lockdown mental health issues.
Getting Your Health Goals Back on Track
The lifting of lockdown is the perfect opportunity to adapt to your ‘new normal’ and get your 2020 health goals back on track. There are still six months of the year left to hit your goals. Whether you're sticking with the ones you set yourself at the start of the year or have established new targets post-lockdown, we know that nothing can stop you!