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Has your usual routine gone out the window?

Many of us are finding that our usual routine is completely disrupted.

Maybe you’ve had to say goodbye to your morning exercise session or meditation as the kids are now home, perhaps your usual eating patterns have been hijacked by your now permanent house-mates eating and drinking patterns and you are noticing sluggishness creeping in.

No matter your situation, be mindful you don’t let your mentally and physically nourishing routines fall away completely as your usual day-to-day ones change. It might be VERY tempting to pour a glass of wine every afternoon, however, consider the impact this will have on your body and the flow on effects it will have on your systems—including your immune system which needs to be a priority for all of us right now.

So, what can you do to take care of yourself through these unprecedented times?

Nourish yourself daily with home-cooked meals.

Whether you’re a natural in the kitchen or feel completely out of your depth, forced time at home gives you the perfect opportunity to cook more often. One of the biggest roadblocks for people when it comes to home cooking is arriving home late at the end of the day or a feeling that you have no time to cook. Of course, self-isolation doesn’t mean you have nothing to do but it does significantly reduce commute times which in itself will usually mean you have more time to focus elsewhere. So why not learn to cook—or reignite a love for it? If the kids are around, get them involved so they can become interested in whole, real foods and how to prepare them so they are tasty. There are endless supplies of free, health-supporting recipes online.

Stick to a meal and snack schedule.

When you are in an environment with little structure and eating willy-nilly you may not be serving your body’s health very well.

An example of this can be seen within Australian research that indicates children who lose their usual schedule during the summer school holidays are likely to eat more junk food, expend 10 per cent less energy and perform 20 fewer minutes of vigorous physical activity per day than when at school. Across a 10-week holiday, this difference, uncompensated by dietary adjustment, would equate to an extra kilogram of body fat, more if the child is already 1 of the 4 Australian children who is overweight or obese. No one wants to have to get rid of a bag of oranges worth of fat (or more) at the end of this isolation period whether they are a child or adult, to avoid this mindfulness is required.

So develop a meal and snack schedule for yourself and your family and stick it to the fridge. If you need a starting point try;

  • Breakfast by 9am
  • Snack no closer than 2-3 hours after breakfast
  • Lunch between 12 – 1pm
  • Snack no closer than 2-3 hours after lunch
  • Dinner between 6 – 7.30pm

Some other tips to develop an eating pattern that will nourish your health during isolation include;

  • Keeping junk food treat snacks to no more than twice a week
  • Keeping treat meals to no more than twice per week
  • Keeping alcohol per week to no more than 10 units and incorporating a minimum of two alcohol-free days.

Prioritise daily movement

There is no doubt that many of us will be taking the opportunity to have a slightly longer lie-in with not needing to complete the school run or dash off to the office. While I absolutely encourage you to listen to your body if this feels necessary for you, it is likely you will feel MORE nourished by getting up and moving your body. Could you do some daily stretches in the lounge room or garden? Or follow an online yoga or pilates class? Could you join an online dance class? Or simply take a walk by yourself or with the dog. Whatever your choice might be, research has shown that daily moderate levels of movement are critical to maintaining your body’s health, especially that of your immune system. If you need social accountability to exercise, set a goal with a friend and check in each day, agree on a reward for you both maintaining your daily movement goal till the end of isolation. For instance, a treat meal at your favourite restaurant together or a day of spa treatments to celebrate making it through isolation with a healthy body and mind intact.

Hope this provides a little bit of a prompt for you to manage your isolation for the improved health of yourself and your family. Please don’t hesitate to drop me an email if you have a question or want to work on a solution that fits your needs and lifestyle practically, I can be reached at nereda.merrin@thebalancedbody.com.au

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