Finding Your Balance in Lockdown

health benefits of hatha yoga

Here we go again.

It feels like Groundhog day!

In Sydney we are now in week 3 of our second lockdown. And it looks like we have a few more to go!

It’s hard to be here again, but we did it before and we’ll do it again. Hopefully we are not in this position for too long.

Many of you are now back at home full-time working and maybe even monitoring your child’s online learning.

If you’re like a lot of us, your exercise routine has also probably changed with the closure of gyms and group training.

Winter is often a time of more hibernation, but with a big reduction in social contact, we need to stay on top of our health – physical and mental – now more than ever!

The COVID fatigue is real!

During our first lockdown there were two key things we observed with patients coming into the clinic:

  1. People moving much less
  2. People exercising much more

These were summarised as Ms Work Harder and Mr Run More and can be found here. This blog was aptly named “Working from home: Lessons learned in isolation”. So instead of making the same mistakes we did back then, we’d like to help you do it better this time around – let’s “redo” it!

It’s all about balance – something I say repeatedly throughout the day – in a variety of contexts.

The balance between:

  • Active sitting vs relaxed sitting – either supported or unsupported.
  • Active and aware standing vs relaxed standing with all your weight on one leg.
  • Loading between the left and right side of the body – particularly helpful for those struggling with hip, knee and ankle issues – related to overloaded tendons and overworked muscles.
  • The deep and superficial muscles of the body. “Switching on your core” or improving the sequencing of how you engage your deep core muscles (transversus abdominis, deep multifidus, diaphragm, pelvic floor) vs. “letting go” of your overly dominant global muscles – the latissimus dorsi (“lats”), pectorals (“pecs”, oblique abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
  • Nose vs mouth breathing. Our breathing pattern should match our activity and the demands of that activity. During rest and sleep we should breathe low and slow through our nose vs when exercising at an increased intensity we will rely more on expelling air through our mouth (although one might argue we should breathe in and out through our mouth during exercise always! – more to come on this soon!).

Looking at the bigger picture, this also means finding balance between:

Work and Home life

  • Try keeping similar hours to your office hours
  • Clock in, clock out
  • Start your day by dressing for work
  • When you clock out for the day change into your casual clothing
  • Keep work in the office
  • If you need to work at the dining room table, clear if off at the end of the day
  • Aim to keep work out of the bedroom
moving and not moving

Moving and not moving

  • If you normally walk to work or to get the bus or ferry, avoid going from the bed or breakfast table to your desk.
  • Instead get outside and go for a 20-3 minute walk.
  • Fresh air and some greenery can be a great way to start your day and are beneficial for your mental well-being.
  • If you are working from home at your dining room table it can be easier to work through lunch and just have a quick bite. Again, break that routine before it becomes a habit. Eat your lunch in a different room or even outside.
  • Then after you eat, get outside for a walk. This may even be a good time to do a workout – whether it be your own exercise routine, online class or 1:1 PT session in the park.
stretching and strengthening

Stretching and Strengthening

  • When I see clients in follow-up sessions, a common thing I hear is that they’re not doing as much exercise, but they are doing their stretches, especially the ones that “feel good”, they favourites!
  • Often they are only focusing on the stretches, but none of the strength work – the squats, split squats, lunges, rotator cuff/shoulder strengthening or abdominal exercises prescribed as part of their home program.
  • If one is able to incorporate more strength work they often will not need to stretch as much and instead can have a few key stretches that release tension in specific areas that build up due to certain postural habits.
  • With continued focused and targeted strength work there often isn’t need to constant stretch.
social media catchups

Social media and Social Catch-ups

  • We live in an age where we are often glued to our smartphones to the point they have become an extension of our bodies. It can be easy to get stuck into a mindless scroll of Instagram pictures or YouTube videos.
  • Instead take the time to check in with friends and family with a phone call.
  • During these times its so important for us to check in with our loved ones that live on their own, as lockdown can be an isolating time for some.
  • So instead of social media, go for a social call!
making the most of your time

Making the most of your time and wasting your time

  • I love a bit of Netflix just as much as the next person and while lockdowns can be a great time to binge all the new shows you have been meaning to watch, but having more time – are there things around the house that need doing?
  • Tidy up the garden.
  • Wash the windows.
  • Organise your tupperware cupboard! Or your closet, or your bookshelf!
  • Once you’ve completed a project reward yourself with some chill time on the sofa!

Those are just a few examples of ways in which you can find balance in your life. Some may be great for you, some better for others. Use what you can to get you through his lockdown period.

Lastly, just a reminder, that as an essential service the Physio’s and Exercise Physiologist at RedoHealth are here to help you – get in touch if you have any questions.

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