The past months have been seriously challenging as we have navigated the unique changes and limitations placed on our lives. From homeschooling, missing family and friends to health and financial worries, it’s been a tricky time. But some surprising benefits have also come out of lockdown, that we can turn into longterm habits:
- Eating together
Sitting down to dinner together is one of the best things you can do for your family’s health and happiness. It strengthens family bonds and improves communication. Evidence also suggests that children feel more secure and adults less stressed out when they eat together.
- Exercising more
Whether you’ve been doing a heavy workout every morning or have taken up running or yoga, exercise has become a feature in many households. Fitness experts say sticking to a regular workout routine is the hardest part of any exercise plan — and the lockdown has helped many of us develop a fitness habit.
- Getting into gardening
The garden has become a sanctuary. Gardening reduces the risk of a stroke or a heart attack and helps to release endorphins, which lift the mood and ease depression. Plus one hour of hard work in the garden burns around 300 calories, and vitamin-D infused sunshine gives the immune system a boost too.
- Waking naturally
Instead of an alarm jolting us awake, there is something to be said for rising gradually with the morning sunshine as your ‘wake up’ buddy. Research suggests that if you follow your natural body clock — rising when you naturally wake, snoozing when you feel the need, and going to bed when you’re tired — you will get better quality sleep and have more energy throughout the day.
- Keeping downtime
Social space has been limitless in lockdown. Once packed schedules have emptied, leaving us room to breathe. Evidence suggests that when we set boundaries and allow some space in the diary, we give ourselves the freedom to make the right choices and decisions.
- Being grateful
In these difficult times, we have learned to count our blessings, and there is a reason to continue. Giving thanks is an instant mood lifter and improves health and well-being. Research shows grateful people have lower levels of stress and depression and sleep better.
- Doing nothing
Switching off and doing nothing might be considered idle by some, but research shows it is essential for mental health and creativity. It is crucial for problem-solving. Studies into boredom also reveal that the mind finds new ways to generate interest and excitement. So doing nothing at all, even for a few minutes every day, can stimulate the brain.