7 tips for staying healthy while staying home
Words by Alex Maher
So it’s official: the UK is in lockdown, along with many other countries across the world. This comes after news over the weekend that not enough people are taking this Coronavirus outbreak seriously, and were going out into busy public spaces, meeting friends, and socializing. Look, I get it. We’re social creatures. Being told to stay home and stay away from friends and family feels totally unnatural to most of us. It can feel claustrophobic and, more often than not, pretty boring. I’m a bit of an introvert, so I normally love a weekend at home with no plans but when it’s thrust upon you, it suddenly doesn’t feel so good. On the plus side, we’re all in this together. Just like you, Team Lowe are all home, working this out day by day. And the good news is, we’re getting the hang of it!
So, here are seven tips my colleagues and I have put together for you based off what’s worked for us so far, in the hope they help you keep healthy and well while staying home.
1. Get into a routine
This one I know from experience – but routine is so important for your mental wellbeing. Sure, the idea of rolling out of bed and opening your computer to start work while still in your PJs sounds attractive, but a lack of structure can not only make you less productive, it can start to have a really negative effect on your mental health. Try to keep as close to your regular routine as possible. Dress for work, take a proper lunch break. In our team, we kick start each day with a video call, just to check in on how each other are doing. It marks the start of our day. I find it also helps to make a point of walking away from your desk at the end of the workday, so you’re not tempted to keep working into the evening. It’s important to be able to switch off.
Check out this schedule James from our Online team created with his partner, to make sure they’re still keeping busy and finding quality time together after work. Serious couple goals!
2. Talk to people, any way you can
It’s going to be tough not being able to see family, friends and loved ones for such a long period of time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stay in touch.
Lowe Alpine’s Graphic Designer, Grace, has been hand-painting cards to send out and brighten up our days, and they’re the best thing to have ever landed in our post boxes. But even if you’re not creative, make a concerted effort to video call and talk to family members as often as you can. Especially elderly relatives, or those living alone, who might otherwise go a whole day or more without speaking to another human being. If you’re working from home, why not call your colleagues rather than email? Not only will it add to your human interactions for the day, but it’ll help keep your inbox clear, too!
3. Watch the news in moderation
While we all need to stay up to date with the news in these uncertain times, it’s easy to become anxious and obsessive if you’re constantly watching or reading the news, especially when there’s really only one story dominating the headlines.
Team Lowe’s Content Strategist, Hollie, has stopped watching the news more than once a day and tries to stay off social media as much as possible, because she found it was making her anxious. Instead, she’s focusing her energy on working her way through her reading list.
It might be easier said than done, but try to give yourself the headspace to focus on something else with the rest of your time – whatever helps you take your mind off the news.
4. Try to separate your workspace from your relaxation space
Depending on your living arrangements, this might be easier said than done, especially if you’ve got a houseful at the moment! But if possible, try and set up a space away from where you sleep, or relax, to make into a workspace. Psychologically it’ll help you keep work time and chill time separate.
Pack Development Manager, Rebecca, is sharing a workspace with her husband which doubles as a sewing room, so she can still carry on developing awesome Lowe Alpine designs.
Make sure you’re sitting on a chair with adequate support (we could be in this for the long-haul, you won’t want a bad back at the end of it!) in a place with good light. However tempting it may be to sit in bed with your laptop on your knee, trust me, this is not a good idea. It’s been proven that it’s harder to get good quality sleep if your work and sleep spaces are one and the same – and the last thing you want is to take work-related anxiety into bed with you!
5. Exercise daily
At the time of writing, the guidance in the UK is that we can still get some fresh air and exercise outside, as long as we’re maintaining social distancing and staying close to home. For me, the time that may otherwise have been spent commuting is now my exercise time. Of course, the gym membership is on freeze, but running is a great, safe way of keeping fit when otherwise being stuck indoors. If you’re not a natural runner, lots of personal trainers are offering free home-workout plans right now which are all body-weight exercises, so there’s no additional gym gear required. One of our colleagues from the Finance team, Gareth, has sent us all a workout schedule with videos, fit tests and everything. If he has his way, we’ll be going back to the office fitter than when we left!
Setting yourself a personal fitness goal to is a good way to give your mind focus through what is an otherwise uncertain time, but whatever you do, find something that works for you, and keep moving!
6. Eat well
We all know that eating well and exercising regularly are the best ways to stay healthy- but that’s doubly important in a time like this. As tempting as it is to binge on the biscuits in the cupboard when working from home, it’ll leave you feeling sluggish later in the day when you come off that sugar high. Where possible, try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, to help keep your immune system ready to fight off anything that might come your way.
Pack Developer Anna picked some wild garlic near her home and made wild garlic pesto gnocchi with chorizo, feta and broccoli and all gave us massive food envy!
7. Use the outdoors responsibly
Getting some fresh air is one of the best things you can do to keep healthy and happy right now- but there are some caveats to that. The advice we’re being given now (in the UK at least) is that we shouldn’t make any unnecessary travel. While it’s important to get some fresh air each day, that doesn’t mean driving to National Parks or heading to the beach. Stay close to home, only head out once per day, keep your distance from other people (at least two metres), and if you’re going for a walk or run with anyone else, make sure they’re only people you’re sharing a living space with. My partner and I have started going for runs together – something we never used to do. Closing our laptops and putting our trainers on marks the end of our working day, gets us out of the house and onto the nearby moor. Then we feel less guilty about that mid-week glass of wine.
This is a completely unprecedented time in the world’s history. But while this is a scary and uncertain time for us all, we have the opportunity to make a real difference, simply by staying home. As unnatural as that is for us outdoor enthusiasts, it’s the right thing to do.
It’s hard to know how to sign this off, but I saw something on Instagram over the weekend which seems apt:
Our grandparents were called to war. We’re being called on to sit on a couch.
We can do this.
Alex Maher is the Marketing Coordinator at Lowe Alpine, and lives in the Peak District with her partner Chris. She is a recent convert to cold-water swimming, and spends most weekends either out on the hill, or at the crag.