Being cooped up inside for weeks on end is enough to drive anyone to a tray of chocolate brownies washed down with a bottle of wine. With many of us off work with no routine or schedule it’s very easy to sleep till noon and console yourself with food, booze and Netflix.
At 12 Rounds we don’t just teach boxing skills we help our members to stay fit and healthy both mentally and physically. Promoting positive mental well being is something we are known for. We know that movement and connection are 2 things that keep us mentally well. For anyone who suffers from stress and anxiety, movement is key to interrupting those negative thoughts patterns. Boxing is particularly helpful as it involves putting complex patterns together so the brain is basically given a break from whatever it is that’s causing the stress. Let’s face it who hasn’t experienced some level of anxiety during these current times?
We also believe that having support and feeling connected make the brain feel safe and alleviate any stress.
If you’ve been struggling to stay sane these last few weeks and feel like you’re slipping into bad habits, here’s a few tips to take on these next few weeks like a champion fighter.
Routine – find a routine that works for you and stick to it. Maybe you’re off work just now and don’t have to set the alarm for 6.30am. It’s still important to have a regular time to get up and get moving, otherwise it’s too easy to become lethargic and start to see negative effects on your mental health. Set up a routine that works for you. It could be getting out for a walk first thing or joining an online workout to get the endorphins flowing and start the day on a positive note.
Move often – we all know we need to move for both mental and physical health. Exercise doesn’t have to mean traditional gym workouts. Do something you enjoy rather than punishing yourself. Get out walking, cycling or just put your fav music on and dance around your kitchen. Boxing enthusiasts practice your shadow boxing in front on the mirror. With all the free online sessions at the moment, there’s never been a better time to try something new.
Experiment in the kitchen and try new foods and ways of cooking. Try adding colour and spice to your meals for nutrient density. What you want to avoid is the ‘table of beige” Beige food screams processed. Cakes, biscuits, bread, pastries will all give you a sugar hit and leave you feeling rubbish and piling on the pounds. I’m not saying don’t have any but just make sure you’ve got a balance of colour on your table.
Get some sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for not just our bones but overall health. We absorb vitamin D from sunlight via our skin so try and get at least 20 mins a day outdoors without sunblock. If you struggle to get enough sun time, you can take as a supplement too.
Stay connected – too much alone time can be too much time in our heads for some of us. To combat this schedule regular video calls with family and friends. There are also a lot of online support groups that offer regular virtual meet ups. If you are someone who is shy and struggles with meeting new people, challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone and make contact with old friends. You may just find that you rekindle lapsed relationships through this difficult time.
Limit your sugar intake – although it may be comforting to reach for the chocolate right now but too much sugar has a direct effect on your mood. With so much uncertainty we want to remain as upbeat as possible right? I’m not saying don’t have treats, just be mindful of how much sugar you are consuming and chose healthier options. eg 70% or above Dark chocolate contains much less sugar and even has a higher protein content than confectionary bars. Try and get your sweet fix from natural source like fruit or raw honey which have a nutritional advantage too. Also processed sugar has a negative effect on your immune system. Something we definitely don’t want right now.
Switch off your devices in the evening – do you find that your struggle to sleep, wake up feeling tired and un-rested? It may be that the EMF (electro magnetic frequency) of your lighting and devices is interfering with your sleep. Our bodies need darkness to stimulate melatonin needed for sleep. When we fall asleep with TV, laptops, phones and lighting still on the electro magnetic frequency causes us to release stress hormones cortisol which interferes with the quality of our sleep. It also stops our bodies doing their jobs and fully repairing us as we sleep. Turn off your devices, lower the lighting and relax before bed to get the most out of your 8 hours.
Sleep more – most of us generally don’t sleep enough and the benefits of sleep are endless. All your bodies systems regenerate during sleep, including your immune system. Getting a good nights sleep is also essential if you are trying to stay in shape. What better way to spend time than to catch up on those extra zzzz’s Try just getting to bed an hour earlier to reap the benefits.
Plan your food shop – Ever went food shopping hungry and come out the supermarket with no actual meals but a lot of treats? It’s easy done! If you want to successfully eat well over lockdown it’s essential to plan your meals. Choose some new recipes and then go to the supermarket intentionally to get those ingredients. Get in and out avoiding the biscuit aisle and you’re on to a winner. After all who really wants to spend any longer than necessary in supermarket at the moment anyway.
Laugh – research shows that laughter is good for the immune system and of course promotes positive mental health. Again get intentional with it. Start your day with your favourite comedy podcast, watch re-runs of all your old fav funny movies. Get those laughter endorphins flowing to get yourself in the best mindset to stay positive through this strange time.