The thought of infinite ‘rest days’ might have seemed appealing at first as we tip-toed our way into self-isolation, but now, aches are becoming more apparent, opening and closing the fridge door is quite often the only ‘reps’ we’re practising and the general feeling is one of sluggishness. The key is to recognise your slump and implement an action plan before your body really starts to play tricks on you because not moving can quickly lead to everything from digestive issues and decreased metabolism to weight gain and low mood.
“Sedentary behaviour has been proven in countless studies to be bad for the body,” explains Matt Lawson, dietician and health expert. “A lack of movement has a direct influence on your muscle mass, effectively reducing the levels of muscle and therefore reducing your metabolism.”
But don’t panic, here’s what you can do to tackle each and every niggle, so you’ll feel nicely nimble for the foreseeable future…
This article originally appeared in Harper's BAZAAR UK
Find your happy place
Besides impacting your body, your brain is probably having a tough time too. It’s not just the absence of friends, family and colleagues that can leave you on a downer, the loss of those regular contact points throughout your day will cause an impact – your barista, postman, PT – anyone that you deal with on a regular basis. That’s why it’s crucial to keep the conversations going and stay connected with others. Phone and video calls are best as they give you visual checkpoints, explains psychologist Suzy Reading.
Meditation, mindfulness and breathwork are other ways to anchor you during those highs and lows. Just by tapping into how you breathe you can reset the nervous system and relieve feelings of anxiety. How? Because the slowing down of breath changes the blood chemistry which affects brain function. If you’ve never tried it, inhale for four counts, hold for four, then release for four. With time you’ll be able to progress to six counts then eight – the deeper the breaths, the more zen you’ll feel.
Touch is another soul-soother. “It doesn’t have to be someone else touching you – things like focusing on facial acupressure points or just tenderly rubbing in body lotion will still release oxytocin,” explains Reading. Also known as the love or cuddle hormone, it’s a quick way to feel comforted and connected when things are getting on top of you.