I was inspired by a poster I saw the other day to write this post of 'daily' habits and activities to help you happy and healthy during this lockdown period. So, here is my countdown for you all...
9 Thousand Steps
As our average step counts are lower than usual, it's important to still try and get your steps in during the lockdown. We might not normally notice the positive effects of our passive daily exercise, but you start to feel the effect of not doing it. Daily exercise has many benefits, including better circulation, helping you get a better nights sleep and strengthening your muscles, joints and bones.
8 Hours Sleep
Research shows that most people need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to function optimally. A good nights sleep is very important, especially as it can improve concentration and productivity, which is so important whilst you're studying and creating. Poor sleep can also have a huge impact on your mental health, and has been directly linked to issues such as depression.
7 Glasses of Water
Whilst the amount of water you drink depends on your weight, age, and more, it's important that you're drinking enough water.Drinking water is key for being and feeling healthy. It helps to keep your temperature regulated and to protect your organs, tissues and joints. It can also help to prevent and alleviate headaches, which can be common due to the screen time in the pandemic.
6 Minutes of Meditation or Mindfulness
It's really important to take time out for yourself each day. Try to take a few moments to relax, clear your mind, and let the daily stresses melt away. If you find it hard, why not take time out every day for meditation, mindfulness or whatever works for you. If you're not sure where to start, you can speak to Ethan from Student Support or I'd also recommend checking out the Calm and Headspace apps.
5 A Day
I think we all know about the 5-a-day recommendation, but it is an important one. Fruit and vegetables are a source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Find yourself reaching for sweet snacks rather than fruit? (I know I do!) Try adding vegetables to your pasta sauce or as toppings for your pizza, and try swapping out your usual go-to and drink some fruit juice with a meal. Why not try beans, peas or lentils? They're cheap, low-fat, and a source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, plus they count towards your five a day so they're a win-win really.
4 Mini Breaks
If you're sat at your desk or on your bed all day working, learning and/or creating, then it's important to get up and give yourself a break - both for your mental and physical wellbeing. You could try stretching or meditating, or even doing some yoga in between sessions or whilst you listen along. It's important to keep your body moving so that you don't end up achy and sore. There are lots home routines out there so why not have a Google to find some that suit you and your environment and try them out?
3 Meals and Snacks
Now this one sounds like a simple one, right? But how often do you forget lunch and decide just to wait until the evening to eat? I'm certainly guilty of that. Although we don't need 3 meals a day, it's actually much healthier to eat three meals a day, with snacks in between if you're feeling particularly hungry. Don't put off eating for tasks or meetings, or eat nothing all day to overdo it in the evening. Try to eat when you are hungry, and eat little and often rather than one big meal at the end of the day.
2 Hours Before Bed
I'm sure we're all guilty of spending the day on our laptops, watching TV at night then heading to bed with our phones, I sure am, but it can have a huge impact on your quality of sleep (and ability to get to sleep, for that matter). It's recommended that you have 2 hours without your phone before bed, as this can help you have a much better nights sleep overall. So, why not take a book or magazine to bed instead?
1 Session of Exercise or 1,000 Extra Steps
Lastly, either push your 9,000 steps to 10,000 or do one session of exercise every couple of days. Whilst you shouldn't push yourself nor do too much exercise, regular exercise has a positive effect on your mental wellbeing, as well as your physical health. Exercise can help boost your mood and energy and helps you to have a better night sleep, so it can be hugely beneficial for working, studying and productivity.
I hope these help you to think about ways you can improve your healthy habits during this lockdown! Best, Harriet Moore Student Union President