Published: 25th February 2021

The pandemic has been an unprecedented and challenging time for everyone and it’s more important than ever to take care of our minds and bodies. With gyms closed and restrictions in place telling us to stay at or close to home, it’s a bit harder to keep up with exercise. Mental health is an important issue too, not least because physical fitness is strongly linked to wellbeing and vice versa. The purpose of this article is to give you some tips for looking after yourself, even and especially with the lockdown restrictions.

Get outside

Due to all the restrictions governing outdoor exercise, it may feel like it’s difficult to get out on your bike for the sort of ride you’d like to complete. However, there are a few ways to make the most of the restrictions. The rules dictate that you shouldn’t stray far from your home so instead of doing mammoth training rides, it’s well worth creating a local loop that you can enjoy. You can also exercise outside with one other person so you can still get the benefit of socialising or training with a friend or club mate. If this isn’t a realistic option, it may be worth taking up a different outdoor pursuit altogether. A run in your local area can be just as beneficial as a huge ride and is a great way to get your exercise done in less time and less distance.

Exercise indoors

The obvious alternative to going outdoors is to take your exercise inside. Cycling indoors with a turbo or smart trainer is an excellent way to stay fit without having to worry about the restrictions. You can even stay in touch with your ride partners and team mates on training apps like Zwift by doing group workouts and rides, even races. Just as it’s a great time to take up different outdoor pursuits it’s also a great time to take up indoor exercises like Pilates and yoga. Not only are these activities fantastic for your physical health, they’re also great tools for staying calm and in the moment.

Eat healthy

A balanced diet is very important and complements both physical and mental wellbeing. A diet rich in nutrients and vitamins makes a big difference to your body, especially in winter when you’re getting far fewer natural nutrients – like vitamin D from sunshine – compared to the summer months. You’ll be surprised how quickly you feel better in mind and body once you start keeping to a balanced meal plan and snack healthily throughout the day. And you don’t have to worry about getting too serious or scientific about it; start off by trying to make all your meals varied and colourful, so lots of fruit and veg.

Stay connected

Keeping up with friends, ride mates and family is so important at the moment. You probably know apps like FaceTime, Zoom and Skype better than the back of your own hand by now, all vital lockdown tools when physical social contact is so scarce. Helping your friends through any worries they might have can also make a big difference to you, especially if you’re harbouring any concerns or anxiety yourself. It’s a difficult time for everyone so just be there to listen and look out for each other.

Set goals but keep them realistic

The temptation to compare your lockdown situation with others is all too great. One absent-minded glance at social media and it’s easy to believe that everyone but you is bossing the lockdown. Try not to let it get you down, everyone copes differently. Instead, set realistic daily goals around your exercise, sleep and nutrition, and if you don’t feel like training one day, or you fancy a cheat meal, that’s just fine. Put yourself and your mindset first.

Manage your news intake

It is of course important to keep up with what’s happening in the world, but too much news consumption – especially when it affects our day to day lives – can lead to high levels of anxiety and burnout. Don’t completely cut yourself off from the outside world but limit your time on news sites and make sure that you’re getting your facts from credible sources.

Practise relaxation techniques

Practising relaxation techniques like mindfulness on a semi regular basis can go a long way towards conquering difficult emotions. Take some time out of your day, away from screens and work, and focus on yourself in the moment. This can help you to feel calm and improve your mental wellbeing. Helpful resources on mindfulness can be found via the NHS and on the Headspace app.

Take some time out for yourself

Lastly, take some time off. Of course, it’s often easier said than done, but taking time off for yourself will reduce the risk of burning out. Relax, watch a TV show or a film, play your favourite game or cook your favourite meal. Under lockdown and social distancing measures, the pressure and stress can mount up fast, so take a well-earned break.

Further reading can be found through The Mental Health FoundationMind and the NHS.

We hope everyone stays safe and healthy. However, if you or any of your family or friends are involved in an accident and require legal assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Serious Injury Law. We can also be contacted on 03300580377 for a free, confidential, conversation with an experienced serious injury solicitor. Alternatively, please send us your contact details to enquiry@seriouslaw.co.uk and we’ll call you back or feel free to join the discussion.