Tips for Staying Healthy in Mind and Body During Lockdown

Red apple and measuring tape. Diet concept.

One of the toughest challenges of living and working in lockdown is maintaining our health – both physical and mental. The disruption to our daily routine means it’s easier to drop the good habits we had developed and lapse into bad habits. With gyms closed and snacks close at hand, many people are reporting weight gain, but, as ever, with challenges come opportunities.

For one thing, our offices are now next door to our kitchens – in some cases, our offices are our kitchens! Rather than seeing that as a temptation to snack or graze throughout the day, why not take the opportunity to eat better than you would have when grabbing lunch at work? Working at home means you can plan for healthier food choices.

For me, a low carb diet works wonders. I also eliminated sugar from my diet over a year ago, and both changes have not only improved my gut health, but also increased my focus and reduced ‘brain fog.’ So, if you’ve noticed your focus has decreased during this time of quarantine, I recommend keeping healthy foods/snacks on hand like avocados, green tea, dark chocolate, nuts, coconut chips, salmon, and eggs to boost productivity.

My experience confirms that physical and mental health are intimately connected, something I learned from studying and practicing yoga, which is a great form of exercise to do at home, especially at a time like this when our nervous systems are overextended. I find it helps me feel grounded and at peace, especially the ‘tree’ pose. For me, it calls to mind the late Louise Hay’s wisdom about how being like a willow tree, flexible and flowing, allows us to stay grounded without snapping and breaking in response to the changes going on around us.

Yoga can also be very helpful for kids, and it’s a fun way to bring the family together. A book my kids like is Mallika Chopra’s book Just Breathe, which has helped them realized the importance of mindfulness, movement, gratitude, intent, breathing and more! There’s a really helpful chapter with step-by-step yoga poses for kids, and overall it helps them understand that even as the world changes and their own bodies change, their souls are a constant to be cherished.

Apart from yoga, it’s important to make time for other family activities, like games and even dancing. One of the most awesome activities we’ve created, is ‘Baby Says.’ We all stand on the mat with my two year old: he leads the exercises, and we copy what he does. Not only is it hilarious and gets us all to connect, laugh and move, but keeping up with a two-year-old’s flexibility and speed is a workout!

Of course, we can only keep playing ‘Baby Says’ as long as he is a baby, but these activities are instilling the habit of exercise in all our kids, and I hope they are beginning to understand the benefits to their physical and mental health. I also highly recommend GoZen, an app that helps kids process everything going on in their lives, especially in such a crazy time.

The good news is that there’s growing awareness of mental health at all ages.  With May being Mental Health Month, there is more awareness this month and many online resources for adults, too, to help us connect with a professional through video conferencing, for example during quarantine. Hopefully, the ability to connect from the privacy and comfort of our own homes will help overcome some of the stigma that is often associated with seeing a therapist.

Finally, I wouldn’t be much of an accountant if I didn’t also mention the importance of financial health! The lockdown means fewer expenses for many of us, and it’s a chance to take stock of whether we really need to spend as much as we normally do. Why not also take this opportunity to evaluate your financial health by checking your credit score and savings accounts, planning to pay off debts, and making sure you have proper insurance, etc. Sound finances certainly help make for a sound body and a sound mind.

Stay safe and healthy.

With gratitude,
Eaman Shebley

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician. The information I share is based on information I learn from my own research and experience. All information presented and written within is intended for informational purposes only.  You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical or health advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with your physician or other health-care professionals.