During this Lockdown, in the midst of winter, with no clear end to COVID-19 in sight, the mood of the nation seems considerably lower than the first lockdown.
If you’re tempted to stay in bed until spring, you are not alone. The first and most important step to surviving lockdown is to take good care of yourself.
We’ve researched what the experts have to say about how to shake off those lockdown blues and keep your spirits up in the face of adversity.
Is the very thought of staying at home 24/7 making you feel lethargic?
Although staying active might be low on your priority list at the moment, it has been proven to beat tiredness and boost your energy levels.
Under the new lockdown restrictions you are permitted to do outdoor physical activity once per day.
The NHS Physical Activity guidelines advise adults to aim to do some type of exercise on a daily basis to stay healthy. But exercise does not have to be intensive in order to reap the benefits. Here are some ideas to get started:
Join Joe Wicks
Joe Wicks is back airing free PE sessions on his Youtube channel at 9am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so you’ve got no excuses to get moving!
Couch to 5k
Want to take up running? Couch to 5k is a great app designed for beginners to gradually build up their running ability so they can eventually run 5km without stopping.
Go Out for a Walk
Evidence shows that simply walking for just half an hour five days a week is enough to give you a real health boost, so pencil in some time to head outside in your local area and reap the benefits.
According to research from Newcastle University, vitamin D is essential for boosting energy levels.
Vitamin D is produced when the skin absorbs sunlight and is essential for healthy growth and development. During the summer months most of us can get our vitamin D requirements through sunlight and from eating healthy, balanced diet.
There is still debate as to how efficient vitamin D supplements. The NHS has published the best food sources of vitamin D and more advice and information about vitamin D supplements.
Reduce your caffeine intake
Consuming too much caffeine can actually make you feel more tired.
According to the BBC Good Food, high levels of caffeine in the body can increase levels of nervousness and restlessness, and impact negatively on sleep, leaving you worn out.
Instead of going cold turkey, which can lead to headaches and low energy, the British Heart Foundation recommend reducing your intake by half a cup a day over a seven-day period building up to a level where you are consuming less than five caffeine-containing drinks a week.
Keeping your body hydrated is vital for maintaining your energy levels. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
According to the Eatwell Guide, you should aim for 6-8 glasses of water and other liquids each day to replace normal water loss – around 1.2 to 1.5 litres.
Water, milk, sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee all count, but remember that caffeinated drinks (like tea and coffee) can make the body produce more urine.
If you’d like to know more about this subject, BBC Good food have published a detailed article covering: spotting the signs of dehydration, the benefits of staying hydrated and other liquids besides water.
Keep your Stress Levels in Check
A little stress can be healthy and may actually make us more alert and able to perform better in tasks, but stress is only beneficial if it is short-lived.
However, in these times of uncertainty, stress levels can easily become excessive and prolonged, playing havoc with your energy levels.
By adopting relaxation strategies such as deep breathing techniques or mindfulness meditation, you can reduce the time spent in these states during the day, which can help you feel less drained overall.
For some more stress busting techniques, check out our Stress Less page.