These days, while we are all socially distancing because of the Coronavirus outbreak, we find tips and tricks on how to boost our WFH productivity on every virtual corner. That’s why I would like to talk about something slightly different, something I am not hearing enough of: how to keep your edge during Coronavirus lockdown.
TLDR: Just click on the links in the text and find some useful apps and content 🙂
If we don’t pay attention to the state of our minds and bodies, we run the risk of turning into a snack-munching, Netflix-watching, pyjama-sporting piles of blubber and no amount of productivity tips will get us back on track.
Ok, that may have been too much, but, better safe than sorry!
#1 Keep Track of What You Eat
Every second #covid19 meme these days is about constant snacking and overeating. It is expected that we eat more given how much more time we are spending near our fridges and pantries. After a couple of days in lockdown I realized that this is dangerous.
We can debate how much calories matter or do not matter, but let’s agree on one thing: eating more than you normally do, paired with limited movement and extra stress about what will happen in the next weeks and months, will make you gain weight. This can and will, affect our self confidence, energy levels, ability to focus, immune system, etc. That’s why we need to keep our eating in check! And by that I mean quantity and quality.
If you haven’t tried it already, now is the time to start tracking how much you eat. I know it sounds tedious, but it’s less tedious than loosing the gained weight. Trust me, I know how easily an extra snack in front of the TV can turn into a bad habit and an extra 15kg!
Another interesting app, which I am testing out right now (and am liking, so far), is Eat Right Now. The app is coaching you on how to resist urges to stress eat or eat out of habit or boredom. Basically, everything that we are tempted to do under the current circumstances. The man behind the app, Dr. Jud Brewer, has been helping patients with all kinds of addictions for decades and has turned his wisdom and experience into this neat virtual coach.
When it comes to quality of what you eat, all of the apps that I’ve mentioned will give you some insight on what high quality food is. Also, here is how I try to sum it up in one article. TLDR: Avoid highly processed foods (yes, put down that bag of chips) and sugary snacks, eat your greens and skip the sodas. Stay hydrated with lots of water and tea. Unfortunately, fluids won’t help us fight the Coronavirus directly, as some have speculated online, but it does help our wellbeing generally.
#2 Keep Moving
Depending on where you live, your movement may be limited, even by law. It’s challenging to remain physically active under these circumstances, but every little thing we manage to do is a little victory.
Walk outside as much as you can, to get some fresh air and sunlight. We need to synthesise that vitamin D now more than ever, to stay balanced and, well, sane.
Since you likely can’t go to the gym, try excercizing in your apartment. I know that the stationary bike is actually a hanger for clothes which you wore once and don’t want to wash just yet but can’t put back into the closet either, but you need it for different purposes now. Hop on it as often as you can, for example, while watching TV. It makes snacking much harder.
If you don’t have this nice clothes-purgatory-machine, you can try an app which will show you things to do with just your body weight, floor and a chair. I used Seven a while ago and found it very helpful and easy to use. Currently I attend online pilates classes and weight training session and it’s what keeps me sane. If you can organize something like that, it’s the best.
#3 Keep Away From Bad Habits
These are stressful times. Aside from making us reach for comfort food, they might make us reach for some other immediately comforting, but ultimately terrible things. Like cigarettes.
If you are a smoker, now is the best time to quit. Easier said than done. I know, I’ve been there. Try to look at it from this angle: the Coronavirus attacks your lungs, which means we don’t want them additionally damaged by cigarettes. Aside from that, do you really want to spend days in a smoke-filled room and have your clothes, hair and furniture smell like an ashtray?
While researching already mentioned Dr. Jud Brewer, I found out that he also has an app for quitting cigarettes. I will leave a link here, although I haven’t tried the app. If you do, let me know if it’s any good!
Alcohol is another bad idea. Yes I know, it sounds like a good idea, a glass of wine never really hurt anyone, but handling stress with alcohol is a disaster waiting to happen and you know it.
Another thing we want to keep in check in the next weeks is caffeine consumption. Don’t hate me, I love coffee too. However, having too much coffee can seriously affect your sleep-wake cycle, just like the following things: lack of physical activity, lack of social interaction, not going to the office for work… You see where I’m going with this, right? I dread going into that mode where I’m not sure if it is day or night, if I’m at work or at home and what year it really is. Because of that, I’m willing to go light on the coffee.
#4 Keep in Touch With the Right People
If you are stuck at home and are spending more and more time on social media, you have probably ran into all kinds of negativity, fear mongering and fake news. This is the prime time for conspiracy theorists and know-it-alls. This is the time when you, more than ever, need to filter out the crap from your timeline.
That is exactly what I did when I noticed that certain people and certain kinds of posts are upsetting me. I don’t need to be additionally scared or stressed on top of everything that’s going on, and I’m pretty sure that you don’t need that either. We don’t want to listen to people who point out or exaggerate every single negative circumstance. We know that things are hard as it is.
Hide or block and carry on. Stick to people and portals which spread good news, like Tank’s Good News.
Another thing that helps when I sink a little: talking to friends who have a positive outlook on life and with whom I can find good sides to this situation, plus, avoiding ones that do the opposite. When you think about it, there are a lot of nice side-effects to the situation. E.g. having more time to work on your passion projects. More time with yourself. More time with your pets.
You don’t have a pet? Maybe you can adopt or foster one? If you live alone, you’ll never get lonely with a furry friend that snuggles up to you when you go to bed.
#5 Keep Your Head Straight
In the next weeks, we will spend a lot of time with ourselves and/or people closest to us. We will, most likely, spend that time in a relatively small space. That’s why we need to be able to live at peace with those people, even if those people are only ourselves. Living at peace with yourself is sometimes the biggest challenge.
I hope all of this helps a little. If you have more tips on how to keep your head above this situation, do tell!
Stay safe and stay home!