BREATHE: Wellbeing at Home with Amelia Freer
While we all ‘shelter in place’, there are plenty of other things that we might do to support our health and wellbeing more generally during these ever changing times. Our wellbeing expert shares her thoughts with us.08 April 2020
Wellbeing in our ever changing world
I have recently been inundated with requests for ‘immune-boosting’ tips, specific supplement recommendations and details on ways to healthfully navigate through these strange pandemic times. The bottom line, however, is that this is all very new. There simply hasn’t been enough research yet to say for certain whether particular products, foods, habits or other wellbeing practices are important in terms of reducing the risk or severity of coronavirus infection specifically.
We do know, however, that following public health advice on effective hand washing, physical distancing and staying safely at home, is very important. These are the things that need to take priority.
However, while we all ‘shelter in place’, there are plenty of other things that we might do to support our health and wellbeing more generally. Perhaps it might even be a bit of an opportunity to reconsider our lifestyle choices and experiment with a few new habits. It is certainly not the time to be piling on pressure, guilt or additional ‘shoulds’. It’s about supporting ourselves in whichever way feels good and knowing that being good enough is perfect at the moment.
So with all that in mind, I thought I’d share a few of the things that I have had personally found helpful in the past few weeks. Perhaps a couple of these ideas might resonate with you too.
1. Being as active as safely possible
Exercise is good for our body and our mind. I’ve noticed it is the thing that seems to make the biggest difference to my mood and sleep, so getting movement into my day has become an even more essential part of my self-care routine recently.
- If you can get outside, safely, then taking a walk, jog or bike ride is a great way to help break up the day, get a bit of sunshine (important for vitamin D production in our skin) and exercise all-in-one.
- Keep your eyes peeled for online classes. There are a huge variety of options now available, and many local studios / teachers are streaming their usual programmes using video platforms like Zoom. Matt Roberts, the Fitness Guru at Lime Wood is offering at home work outs here.
2. Prioritising healthy sleep
Perhaps one of the most important things we can do to support our overall health is to get enough good quality sleep. Sometimes easier said than done, I know, but we can at least aim to set ourselves up for a restorative 8 hours as much as possible.
- Watch your caffeine intake – especially if you are feeling anxious or struggling to sleep well. Reduce slowly if you’re drinking a lot, and try to have none after 2pm-ish if you’re sensitive.
- Avoid watching or reading the news late at night. Particularly important at the moment.
- Switch off screens at least an hour before bedtime and leave all electronic devices out of the bedroom if you can.
- Exercise, ideally outdoors (to get some bright light), early in the day, when safe to do so. It helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
- Make your bedroom as comfortable as possible – think: cool, dark, quiet, calm. Now might just be the time for that big sort-out you’ve been meaning to do!
- Try to keep a consistent bedtime and waking-up time throughout the week. Your body doesn’t know it’s the weekend.
- Struggling to calm your racing mind? Read something gentle. Try journaling. Or listen to a simple breathing exercise, meditation or ‘sleep story’. I like using the Calm or Headspace apps for this.
3. Focusing on positive nutrition
Access to food supplies might be erratic, eating out impossible and online deliveries like gold dust, but there is still both joy and nutritional benefit to be found in good food. It might require a little lateral thinking and creativity, but where you can, try to have a couple of decent meals a day. Limitation often sparks creativity and some of the most successful dishes created were happy accidents.
As always, I try to focus on what is included in our diets, rather than what is excluded. We might well need that little bit of chocolate after dinner, or glass of wine at the moment. But we also need the good stuff too…
So, what might that ‘good stuff’ be?
- Adequate hydration throughout the day. Water is free and readily available. You don’t need to go overboard - drinking to thirst is usually a good indicator.
- Fruits and vegetables – fresh, frozen or canned. Include wherever possible.
- Protein with at least 2 meals of the day. That might be nuts, seeds, pulses (chickpeas, lentils, beans etc.), natural yoghurt, eggs, tofu, meat, fish etc. Tinned sardines or smoked mackerel are both longlasting and sources of omega-3 fish oils.
- Choose wholegrain / brown and minimally processed carbohydrate sources rather than refined / white options where you can. Oats, quinoa, brown rice, longlife rye bread (Biona does a good one), potatoes & other root veg etc. are all great choices and very versatile.
- Include a moderate amount of healthy fats – such as unsalted nuts, seeds (including their butters / tahini) or olive oil - into each of your meals.
Sending you all much courage, strength and compassion.
For lots more wellbeing tips, ideas and free recipes, please do head over to ameliafreer.com.
Amelia is joining us at Lime Wood later this year for a series of wellbeing and nutrition workshops and 3 day retreats.
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