With the every changing COVID restrictions it is a great time to remind ourselves of the things we can do to maintain and improve both our physical and mental well-being. Of course, doing the things that keep us healthy are not always easy, and the increased stress, frustration and cabin-fever that accompany our lockdowns often comes paired with a reduction in our motivation. So what can we put in place to overcome this?
Socially Distanced Accountability Partner:
Having someone to keep you accountable is a fantastic way to make sure you achieve your exercise goals. While a socially distanced walk with the people you live with or friends who live close enough would be ideal, this isn’t an option for everyone. For those whose friends live further than 5km away, here are a couple of strategies you might like to try:
• Talk to your friends on the phone while both of you go for a walk.
• Turn your walks into a competition or a game – play bingo with things you see while you’re out and about, or count who sees the most dogs.
• Text your friends when you’ve done your exercise for the day, or ask someone to text you to remind you to exercise.
Do you find it difficult to remember to exercise throughout the day? Habit stacking involves taking an activity that you already do habitually, and pairing with a new activity. By linking an established habit, such as changing out of work clothes, with a new behaviour, such as changing into active wear and doing some exercise, you take away the decision making that often goes into planning exercise. When we do this, the cognitive load on the brain reduces, and it often feels easier to perform the new activity! (It also prevents us from having to remember to do something new, as the old habit becomes the trigger to remember the new one).
Routine disruption is becoming a defining characteristic of lockdowns. With this disruption often comes disorganisation, and it is easy for exercise to fall by the wayside. If you’re struggling to orient yourself, try setting alarms on your phone to remind you to exercise. Being more aware of the time can help you to successfully manage your day and ensure that you leave enough time to allow yourself to exercise.