With COVID Lockdown's now affecting half of the country, we asked our Wellness Ambassador, Whitney, to give us some tips on how we can stay healthy during this tough time. Here's what Whitney had to say:
1. Create a morning ritual/routine
- Do you find yourself reaching for your phone first thing in the morning and scrolling through social media, only to leave you feeling like you just got sucked in a vortex of comparison making you feel bad about your life?
- Do you reach for the remote and turn on the news only to be flooded with everything that is going wrong in the world?
- Do you hit the snooze button on your alarm because you dread having to face another day? Because at least when you were asleep, you don't have to think or deal with everything going on.
- Do you instantly wake up and think of all the negative things going on in your life, or all the things that bring you stress?
- Do you think of your huge to-do list and instantly feel anxious?
If you said yes to any of these, take a moment to ask yourself how positively these actions impact your life?
This is why it's so important to create morning rituals and routines. The first hour of the day sets your mood, and therefore can impact hoe the rest of the day unfolds.
A good morning routine will enable you to start your day off with calmness and clarity. It can help you feel more energised, grounded, focused and get your natural feel-good hormones flowing.
By slowly introducing a morning routine your other habits that are impacting you negatively will begin to drop away. The more consistent rituals become, the more renewal they provide.
Here's my advice to starting off your own morning routine:
- Set your alarm to wake up a little earlier than usual
- Choose one thing to implement at a time. For example; Meditation for ten minutes; not touching your phone for the first hour; listing five things you're grateful for; movement; journaling; cold water therapy; cooking a nourishing breakfast; hydrating with water; deep-breathing; using your imagination and dreaming about all the good things that could happen.
- Experiment for a few days
- Stay consistent. But don’t feel guilty if miss one day.
- Make a plan for your day. Be specific about what you will do and when!
- Make it enjoyable! Choose a routine that you look forward to waking up and doing - It shouldn't feel like a chore.
2. Get a good sleep
A restful night's sleep is one of the most underestimated elements of good health, and yet one of the most beneficial to our longevity and quality of life.
Getting optimal hours of sleep (7-8 hours per night) allows our body to repair and heal itself.
Our bodies need good sleep in order to maintain energy, concentration, good immunity, proper hormone functions, mental clarity, balanced emotions and good mental health - the list is endless!
Here's my advice for getting a good night's sleep:
- Stay away from screens an hour before bed! Why? Because the blue light in our screens will trigger your brain to think the sun is out, which will stop your natural melatonin production. This is the hormone that makes you sleepy and signals to your body that it's time to rest. If you find you are awake after 10pm and you have been glued to your screen, you will get an extra hit of energy which impacts your ability to wind-down.
- Implement a journaling practice before bed to clear your mind.
- Don't eat heavy meals before bed. This recommended so that instead of your body focusing on digesting the food it can work on repairing your body.
- Use lavender oil or an essential oil diffuser to promote relaxation
- Lie with your feet up against the wall for a little while. This will lower your heart rate, slow down the body and onset relaxation.
- Try deep belly breathing and meditation, as these practices also promote relaxation and sleepiness
3. Give Meditation a go
The purpose of meditation is to become the observer of your thoughts and feelings, without distractions. When your meditating you shouldn't stop your thoughts, control them or judge them. Instead you should just observe them to see what is really going on in your mind, and therefore gain greater clarity and deeper understanding of yourself.
Meditation is confronting for a lot of people because they are actually too scared to sit in silence and see what is going on in their inner world, but we cannot change what we cannot first acknowledge or become aware of.
It is said that the average human has up to 70,000 thoughts per day which 93% are negative and the majority of them are unconscious and we have no idea we are even thinking them. When we sit in meditation we are able to shine the light on our negative thoughts and take an active choice to reframe those thoughts. Within meditation we begin to rewire the brain and create a more positive mindset and thought process.
In addition to that, there are so many other proven benefits to meditation including; reduce stress and anxiety; reduces impulsivity; increased resilience in hard times; improved wellbeing, peace of mind and ability to relax; increased life satisfaction; increased happiness and optimism; lowered blood pressure; lowered resting heart rate; and lowered cortisol levels.
Here's my advice for starting out with mediation:
- Find a type of meditation that works for you. There are many forms of meditation that can be done from walking meditation, mindfulness meditation, or mantras. Whether you listen to music, sit in silence, or are guided through a meditation - there really is a type of meditation for everyone.
- Start small! Meditation doesn't have to be long. You can start by simply sitting down for five minutes and becoming aware of your breathing - one inhale and exhale at a time.
- Return to your breath. If your mind begins to wander (and it probably will!) simply return your focus to your breath.
- Extend your meditation with practice. The more you practice the longer you be able to meditate. With more practice you will also begin to go deeper within your meditation, reaching a state of your subconscious.
The research tells us it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.
Some habits are easier to form than others, and some people may find it easier to develop new behaviours. There’s no right or wrong timeline. The only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you. So, give it a go!
More about Whitney: