Like many across the UK, we’ve spent the last 18 months holed up in our homes, working remotely and trying to balance our fears, our working lives and our home lives. From helping out friends and loved ones to trying to home school our children, life has seemed pretty stressful. Now that restrictions are lifting and we’re only a few weeks away from returning to ‘normality’, how are you feeling?
We’re frazzled (and I’m being polite when I say ‘frazzled’). For a lot of us, the time spent at home has not been kind. Whilst the pandemic unravelled before our eyes, we knuckled down and tried to cope the best way that we knew how. We baked, we ate, we boozed and we spent the majority of our time in sweatpants. Why wouldn’t we? It felt like we were in an apocalypse and we reached for every coping mechanism we could.
But now, we have to start venturing outside again and boy oh boy, we’re not ready for it. We are tired, we don’t fit into our clothes anymore and as for any kind of healthy habit? We let those slip quite a while ago… So what now? Well, if we’re going to venture out and re-enter the world then we need to start taking stock of our lives. It’s time for a post-lockdown M.O.T.
Try and Eat Healthy
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve hit the fast food delivery apps more often than we should have in the last 18 months. The days were long, the workloads were heavy and we were all about the convenience. In short, we just could not be arsed to cook. We’ve let things slide and our waistlines can testify to this, so it’s time to rekindle our healthy eating habits.
Start with the basics:- Get back in the kitchen and make sure that you have some fruit or veg with every meal. Make your plate as colourful as possible. Try and pick lean meats (if you’re a meat eater) and cut down on snacks where you can.
Healthy eating isn’t necessarily about losing weight. It’s about keeping your major organs healthy. We’ve probably got a bit of a cholesterol build up in our arteries so the aim is to cut down on all the bad foods so we can help our bodies to get healthier and hopefully, live longer!
Regarding alcohol, we’re not saying that you should be teetotal and opt for one glass of wine or beer a week – that’s just not realistic for many of us. Instead, try making a list of the amount you’re drinking throughout the week and if it seems excessive then we need to try and cut back where we can. Try having a glass of water between every drink – it’s important to stay hydrated to keep our brains healthy.
Get Some Exercise
Now, in the early days we tried to get out and about for a couple of walks per day but with increased workloads and responsibilities, we have let those good intentions slip. As a result, our lives have very much revolved around sitting in front of our laptops or televisions. Consequently, our muscles are feeling a bit weak these days and our stamina is in the toilet.
If you want to start getting fit again then start off slow. Try aiming to go for at least one walk per day. It will get you out and about and get you back into the world. You could even rope your partner in and spend a bit of time away from your home together – it’s amazing how much a change of scenery can make a difference to your mood.
If you’re feeling ambitious then start keeping track of your daily steps and increase them week by week to build up your stamina. If you’re time poor, you could even take ten minutes out between every meeting you have and just walk around your house to get that step count up!
Go For a Check-Up
Okay, so how many of us have put off going to see our doctor about something because we were scared of catching COVID? If you have a problem and you have been putting off going to get it seen to, then you need to take action today. Book an appointment and get in to your local surgery as soon as possible.
If you have an underlying health condition, it’s not going to get better if you ignore it. You need to man up, take the bull by the horns and get it sorted. If you’re anxious about going to see the doctor then why not pre-empt it with a video appointment beforehand?
The LIVI app is fast, reliable and will get you seen for a consultation in no time. Have a chat with the doctor and tell them your worries. It might be easy to treat you over the phone but if they say that you should really go and see someone in person then don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what it will be like so that they can address your fears and put your mind at rest.
Look After Your Mental Health
We’ve all struggled in the last 18 months. The impact of lockdown on our mental health cannot be underestimated. We’ve coped with stress, anxiety and depression as we have adjusted to living in the pandemic. Unfortunately, we will likely have to cope with them some more as we ease ourselves back into ‘normal’ life.
Change is always hard and as we have gotten used to living in a form of isolation, we now have to get used to being back in the world. The transition to living with COVID will likely seem scary and dangerous to some of us. For months we’ve been told to stay at home and isolate. Now we’re being told to do away with all of our precautions (as long as we’re vaccinated), use our own judgement and get on with life.
I don’t know about you, but it leaves me feeling quite vulnerable and unsure. If you’re feeling anxious too, then don’t be afraid to tell the people that you care about. If they care about you in return then they will understand and help to support you where they can.
The most important thing that you can do is to ease yourself in gently and go at your own pace – just because you’ve got invitations from people to do something every weekend of the month, it doesn’t mean you have to go to them all. Do what makes you feel comfortable.
If you’re really having trouble coping with everything and you feel increasingly overwhelmed then please consult your doctor. There’s no shame in having a mental health issue and they will be able to help you to get treatment and support to get better.
We don’t know about you but we have brought a whole lot of stuff whilst we’ve been cooped up at home. At one point, we had so many deliveries that the Amazon delivery driver knew my name. We’ve brought things to amuse ourselves, clothes to work comfortably in (sweatpants) and generally ordered anything that crossed our minds.
While the other half has spent time creating a magnificent garden, I’ve managed to fill our house with clutter! It’s time to have a little review of all of our stuff and get rid of the things that are taking up our physical and emotional space.
Get in that wardrobe and have a good clear out! Why are we holding on to clothes that we no longer fit into? By the time we fit into them they will likely be out of fashion anyway. Be ruthless with yourself – get rid of the things that don’t ‘spark joy’ (or just aren’t getting used).
It’s amazing what having a good old clear out can do for your mental health. Tackle each room of the house and just get rid of all the stuff that you haven’t looked at or used more than once in the last two years. Recycle it, give it to charity or bin it. Once you’re done, I guarantee that you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted!
Evaluate Your Working Life
Getting back into the office is going to be tough. Sure, we’ve moaned about working from home but we’d be lying if we said that it didn’t have it’s benefits! We’ve had an extra hour in bed every day for a start as we haven’t had to drive into the office.
Then, obviously, there’s the sweatpants – we’ve never been so comfortable answering emails. But now that’s all coming to an end and we’re going to have to set our alarms to get up at the crack of dawn to fit into tight, business clothes and sit in traffic for an hour as we crawl to our offices.
If you have concerns about going back in and are wondering about an opportunity to flex your hours and continue to work from home for at least a few days per week, then we highly recommend talking to a member of your HR department. They should be able to advise you on any changes that your company is making to help to support flexibility and ease you back to working in the office.
Many companies have seen the benefits that working from home have brought to their employees such as spending more time with family, being able to nip out and grab some shopping and being available to pick the kids up from school. However, there will be those that want to get back to ‘normal’ – they’ll want you back in the office full time and won’t offer you any options other than to consider looking for a new job.
If you want more from your working life and the pandemic has opened your eyes to some of the things that you have been missing, then don’t be afraid to dust off your CV, get on the job hunt and go for it. If we want a life that works for us, no one is going to just hand it to us. Identify your work/life balance priorities and go out there and find them. There are plenty of opportunities opening up now.
We hope that our Post-Lockdown M.O.T tips have given you some food for thought and inspired you to reboot your life. Try not to be too hard on yourself as you take your first steps into a COVID-19 restriction free world. We’ve all had a tough time and if people start judging you about your health and your habits, don’t take it to heart because they clearly haven’t got much going on in their own lives. Just give them the finger and walk away…