Here are top ten lockdown habits worth keeping as we transition back into busier routines.
Whether your new habit was a stroll in the park with your pandemic puppy, sea-swimming, an online fitness class or a jog around the block, it’s important to continue to keep time in your schedule for regular exercise. Incorporating daily exercise into your everyday routine can significantly improve overall health, helping to maintain a healthy weight, keep your bones and muscles strong, improve sleep and your mood, make you feel more energised, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Connecting with nature
Lockdown left us confined to our homes for long periods of time, and with physical limitations on movement, many of us took to nature for solace, fitness and safer socialisation. Activities such as cycling, hiking and running were considered some of the safest during the pandemic and levels of participation in outdoor recreation increased significantly. If you have a new appreciation for the outdoors, it’s definitely one of the habits worth holding onto. Not only can exploring nature boost your physical health, it can also benefit your mental health.
Cooking & baking
The pandemic changed a lot of our routines around food and many of us gravitated towards our kitchens, because we were spending so much time at home. Sourdough and banana bread became lockdown clichés, while families rediscovered the joy of having mealtimes together. According to medical experts, those of us who cook at home are more likely to consume fewer calories and typically have a healthier diet.
Enjoying new hobbies
Lockdown boredom sparked a boom in hobbies with many of us taking up a new pastime. Whatever new skill the pandemic has given you – be it gardening, DIY, playing an instrument, embroidery, or learning a new language – keep nurturing it.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us the importance of self-care and how to manage stress and anxiety in healthy ways. Now that you’ve gotten back to a regular schedule, it’s important to continue to take time out for yourself - whether that’s meditation, going to therapy, reading a book, taking a long bath, journaling or listening to soothing music.
Spending time with family
Our time in quarantine gave us the opportunity to spend more time with family, creating memories and evaluating our priorities. Continue with the activities that helped you to reconnect, whether that’s making dinner and cleaning up together, baking bread, playing games, working on puzzles, or movie nights.
Remote and flexible working
Lockdowns across the world led to millions of us suddenly working from home, and for many, it has been a welcome shift – ditching the lengthy commute saved us time and money. Employers too are reporting that employees are working more productively from home. If you transitioned to remote working during the pandemic, talk to your employer about making it a regular thing.
Nurturing a sense of community spirit
From getting to know our neighbours better and helping the elderly, to supporting local businesses, there has been a huge resurgence in community spirit – and the ‘we’re all in this together” mantra is paying off in terms of our mental health. Studies have found that lending a hand to people in your area is linked to increased feelings of wellbeing.
Keeping a pet
According to medical experts, pets had a hugely positive impact on our mental health during lockdown; by helping to reduce stress and anxiety levels, and encouraging us to stick to a regular routine including taking daily walks. Pets ease symptoms of depression, increase exercise levels and help strengthen the immune system. In fact, simply stroking your pet can lower your blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart problems and stroke.
Washing our hands
And finally, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to wash our hands. According to research, we’re now washing our hands on average nine times a day – which is twice as much as before the pandemic. Washing your hands properly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds can help you avoid harmful germs - whether that’s COVID-19, food poisoning, or the common cold. And when soap and water aren't readily available, always keep hand sanitiser with at least 60 per cent alcohol with you.