Breaking bad habits from lockdown

A quick look at some ways to improve and protect your health as businesses re-open and people return to the workplace.

More than a year after the first UK-wide lockdown, many of us are still spending most of our time at home. But as businesses begin to safely re-open, “the new normal” might be a set of habits people need to forget. 

Last March, people were thrown into a way of living that most had never even considered. Staying inside for days at a time, with only a short window to go outside for exercise, no shopping, no socialising... it’s small wonder that bad habits crept in. 

Constant snacking, sitting too much and spending too much time online are some of the bad habits we have got into. We look at practical ways to get yourself out of them. 

Sleeping patterns and hygiene

When you’re no longer commuting to work, the days can become a little bit of a blur. You get up, shower, prepare a coffee and walk across the room to your computer. 

This can play havoc with sleep, especially if your work space is in your bedroom. Returning to the workplace outside your home may well fix this — but start delineating work time and home time properly. Perhaps take a walk in the morning and another in the evening. Find that rhythm and rediscover the feeling of waking up refreshed.  

Food

The takeaway delivery service Just Eat saw revenue grow by 61% to £2.1 billion in 2020.

Takeaways are easy, quick and convenient, and when you can’t shop for fresh produce to cook with every day and there’s nothing much to do in the evenings, it’s tempting to let the pizza delivery guy sort out your evening meal.  

With restrictions easing, we can start cutting down on takeaways. Buying fresh produce and making delicious, healthy food is easy, and in a lot of cases much cheaper. You could learn to cook a healthy version of your favourite dishes for yourself — controlling how much salt goes in, for instance, makes it all a lot better for you right away (the salt content of the average takeaway is shocking). 

Exercise

A lot of us began lockdown with some fitness aspirations — as demonstrated by the national shortage of weights and equipment last April. But when you seem stuck in an endless loop of repeating days, the motivation to stay active is harder to come by. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, and you don’t need to tire yourself out in order to feel the benefits. Simply getting up and going for a 30-minute walk is good for you — an hour is even better. Whether in beautiful, rolling hills or just walking around the block listening to a podcast, you can walk back to health and happiness.

Positivity

Try to stay positive. Of course, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. You need to learn where the negativity resides, and how to stave it off effectively. 

One way to cut down on negativity to is to take a break from social media platforms and digital devices to reset the way you interact online and reduce your reliance on them. Spend the time with your family and friends — in person if possible now that you can — and reconnect. If you get into a fight about politics, at least it’ll be face-to-face...