Those that know me, know I am pretty passionate about exercise, fitness and generally taking care of my body. I’m the go-to Avvio person for all things Health and Wellbeing, whether it’s which trainers do I buy for a half marathon? How do I lose weight for my holiday? Or should I eat carbs after six? You name it, I’ve been asked it!

I like having routine and discipline in my life. Before COVID-19 struck I used to get up at 5:35am every morning and was in the gym by 6am. When the gyms shut, a lot of people were asking me: what are you going to do? How are you going to cope? Well, you adapt and overcome and find what you know will work for you. For me I knew I had to develop a new routine within the constraints of the situation.

So, I set to work on Project Home Gym. I bought some resistance bands from Amazon, a few weights, a pull up bar and a yoga mat. The first week was a little strange – getting up at 6am and coming downstairs didn’t have the same appeal with none of my usual gym crew to say hi to or to gain motivation from. But after a week it became my new normal and set me up both physically and mentally for the day.

I can hear people who know me say: “It's easy for you because you know what you’re doing and love exercise”. Truth is I don't always love to train, and I definitely don't always feel motivated. But what I do know is that as human beings, we can adapt and overcome what life throws at us. Our minds and bodies deserve a little investment, especially during these times of change, and the onus really is on each and every one of us to take care of our own wellbeing.

Although it may seem difficult at times, we are all capable of making positive changes. In many cases, the dramatic changes to our lifestyles over the last few months have given us more time and flexibility to focus on health and wellbeing. Many people have developed a new found interest in exercise, whether it's yoga, running or cycling, and are starting to see and feel the benefits. 

However if you are one of those people suffering with mental health issues, whether that be anxiety or depression, it can be hard to drag yourself out of the funk you’re in and find the motivation to make those positive changes, and stick to them. So, what can you do to help yourself move in the right direction, both during lockdown and beyond? Here are a few tips that may help:

Set a goal – it might be as simple as to go for a walk every day for 20 minutes or to practice yoga 3 times a week.

Keep it realistic – don’t make the goal too large. You’ll be more likely to fail and that feeling of failure will stay with you.

Get outside – get out in the fresh air for a walk or run, breathe in your surroundings, and if you can, leave digital devices behind.

Drink water. Lots of it – it might sound crazy but the functionality of our body, cognitive ability and our mood are hindered to an alarming degree if our body’s total water content drops by as little as 1%[1] .

Eat regularly and plan ahead – working from home can make taking breaks challenging. If you know you’re going to have a full-on day, plan ahead and make your meals in advance. That way you will have more time to relax and enjoy your food and will be less likely to reach for a quick and easy (and most probably unhealthy) fix.

Sleep – never underestimate the power of sleep and the effects it has on your mental and physical health. Turn off your digital devices an hour before bed. Try and get at least 6-7 hours sleep a night. And if you know you need to wake up early, go to bed early. 

Even if you manage just two or three of these, in a week or two I promise you will start to feel positive changes, both mentally and physically.

And hopefully, if we can stick to these small changes for the long-term, we will have a healthier population because of it.

Stay positive – we got this!

Let’s talk about health