Looking to come out better and stronger after the pandemic? Check out these 12 tips on the best things to do in a lockdown to improve your wellbeing.
Yes, I know, lockdown sucks. Everything is closed, we can’t go anywhere, we can’t see our family, and that brunch with your girlfriends will have to wait for who knows how long. It sucks. But it is also necessary, and we know that.
So, how about instead of thinking of all the things we can’t do, let’s look at the bright side and find all the great things we CAN do during this lockdown to help us grow (and keep sane) during these times.
I’m sure you’d agree that THE best things to do in a lockdown are all about taking good care of our health, both physical and mental. So you’ll find those at the top of the list, followed by other cool ideas to make the most of this situation.
1. Get moving – exercise regularly
Working out regularly is not only great for getting that awesomely toned body but also keeps your mind happy! With every workout, your brain releases endorphins, those tiny chemicals responsible for the amazing feeling of wellbeing and positivity, which you usually get after a run or a sweat on the mat.
If you’re aiming for those toned muscles, the advice of personal trainers is to work out consistently, at least 3 times per week, 45-60 minutes. But even if you only manage to get 1 or 2 workouts in, that’s ok. I’d still consider it a win because it’s better than no exercise at all. I do have to say that I’ve noticed a substantial difference in my mood when I work out vs when I don’t.
If you’re looking for an awesome home workout program, check out Chloe Ting. There are many options, she’s fun, and the best part, YOU SEE RESULTS pretty quick. (not gonna lie, they are tough!)
2. Go for a 20 min walk daily
On those days when you are not working out, don’t just move from your chair to the couch (which I have been guilty of many times). Make sure you go outside a least once a day and take a short walk. Either in the morning or after lunch or after work in the evening. See what works best for you but make sure you get some fresh air and a bit of movement every day. This is great for both your body and mind.
3. Be kind to your mind – give meditation a try
Very often we are caught up in our head, spiraling down from one negative thought to another. And who can blame us considering everything that’s going on these days?! Well, this is where meditation comes in. It is proven to improve sleep, reduce stress, anxiety, boost creativity and self-awareness. So how about giving it a try? Just for a day or two and see if it’s something for you. Think of it like “working out for your mind”. 😉
There are great apps out there that have made meditation so accessible and easy to practice for everyone. My personal favorite is Headspace. They offer free guided meditations for beginners (Basics) and for a small fee, you can unlock all their courses (stress, anxiety, sleep, productivity, they have SO many meditations!).
I highly recommend investing in such an app. Taking good care of our minds is one of the best things to do during the lockdown. This app has helped me so much during the years and especially now – I’ve had the anxiety course on repeat, haha.
4. Eat healthily – get those vitamins in!
Since most of us are working from our living room/kitchen tables, the cookie drawers have never been closer, or more tempting. So try to fill up your house (and pantry) with healthy alternatives.
Fruits & veggies are great to get those vitamins in and give our immune system a boost, add some nuts for those healthy fats and fibers, and dried fruits or dark chocolate for that extra energy.
When 3-4 pm hits and you feel you need an energy boost, try replacing (as much as possible) that chocolate-covered Oreo with dried dates for example, or the chips with a healthy snack of carrots and hummus.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to cut down sugar, have a look here.
And don’t forget to drink plenty of water during the day. I know, getting those 2L in is not easy. How about tossing in some mint leaves, cucumber, or a slice of lemon? This works great for me. Plus, to keep track of how much water I am drinking through the day, I always fill in the 1L water carafe first thing in the morning and another time later in the afternoon.
5. Create (and stick to) a healthy morning routine
How about starting the day with a workout or a 5-minute meditation? Or writing your thoughts in a journal?
Whatever works for you, sticking to a routine, especially in the morning, before your day actually starts, can have great benefits. To me, it feels like I have a greater sense of control over my day, and am super proud of myself for already having accomplished something before the day has even started.
Maybe one word of advice for those high achievers among you: take it easy, and gradually. I’ve personally tried to do it all: got up at 6.30 am every day, wrote in my journal, meditated for 10 min, worked out, worked on the blog, all before my actual day started. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was exhausted, and my perfect morning routine didn’t last very long.
6. Give your skin a break from makeup
If like me, you’ve been wearing makeup every single day in the office I’m sure that working from home has somewhat changed that. And that’s a good thing, as our skin could use a break from all the foundations and powders we apply daily.
So let your skin breathe and don’t be afraid to show it off in its pure, and yes, even imperfect way. Don’t worry, Zoom doesn’t pick up on every blemish you see yourself in the mirror. 😉
Having said that, if applying a little bit of makeup makes you feel a little more put together and boosts your productivity, then, by all means, go for it. I often apply some mascara in the morning to brighten up my eyes.
7. Do wear the NICE clothes
Even if you’re spending the whole day at home, no matter what, make sure to GET OUT OF THOSE PJs! They are only meant for sleeping, that’s it.
So put on those sexy yoga pants and a nice top, or a blazer, maybe even add your favorite necklace and notice the instant uplift in your mood!
And by all means, DO do wear that expensive cashmere sweater you only keep for special occasions. Even if you’re just sitting at home, by yourself, wear those NICE clothes, you deserve to look good and feel good all the time!
8. Take some time just for yourself
I realize this can be tricky, especially if you have to take care of the kids on top of everything else. But this is why I think it’s even more important to find a little bit of time, a few minutes a day to recharge your batteries.
So how about creating a little oasis in a comfy place in your home, or on the balcony/garden/terrace, where you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the sun and a few minutes of relaxation.
Are things getting a bit heated with the boyfriend after spending the past 10 months together 24/7? How about booking a night at a nearby hotel just for yourself? You might even get some good rates since not a lot of people are traveling. Many of my friends swear by this trick! 🙂
9. More reading, less Netflix 😉
Since many of us are working from home, we have a tiny bit of extra time on our hands by not commuting to work daily. Why not put that half an hour (or more) to good use?
Reading is known to reduce stress and relax your mind and to me, is one of the BEST things to do in a lockdown – to further expand your knowledge. So switch off Netflix (it’s hard I know, but you can do it!), pick up that book you always wanted to read, or that novel you started 5 times, a cup of tea, and enjoy!
If you need some inspiration, check out my list of 5 Books That Will Change Your Life in 2021.
10. Learn something new
Brushing off your French, learning Italian from scratch? Or maybe stepping up your cooking game? No matter what you want to learn, this can be a great time to do it. Learning new things keeps our minds healthy and sharp.
11. Fix your teeth
Next to baking goods, orthodontics are probably the winners in this pandemic. To me, there is no better time to get your teeth fixed than now. It is definitely one of THE BEST things you can do in a lockdown!
No more brushing your teeth in the office bathroom, no more strange stares from colleagues. Plus, bring in the face mask worn everywhere, what can be a better time for placing those braces?!
I’ve got my aligners in July 2020 and I’m almost at the end of the treatment now. If this is something for you and you are curious to find out more, check out my INVISALIGN journey. I’ve written all about it, from what to expect in the beginning, placing procedure, costs and of course, before and after results.
12. Check in on your family and friends
Another very important thing to do during a lockdown is checking in with our loved ones. No matter if you live in the same city, or country, or even continent, give them a call – preferably more often than you used to. See how they’re coping with it, find out if there’s anything they need, and so on. Sometimes just hearing your voice will cheer them up.
What works great with my family, as we live in different countries and can’t meet very often, is having video chats. It truly makes a BIG difference when you can see each other.
I hope you’ll find these tips useful and gave you some good ideas on how to make the best of a lockdown and come out better and stronger after it.
Oh, and one more thing – go easy on yourself. These are difficult times, let’s not put extra pressure on ourselves. It’s perfectly ok to NOT be incredibly productive all day, every day. Watch 4 episodes of Bridgeton in a row if you feel like it. 😉 Be gentle to yourself.