No pressure, mind, but if do you find yourself full of New Year beans this month, and raring to work on wellbeing, go for it – just take it slow, lockdown style
A fter a promising spring lockdown practising mindfulness, making wholesome new dishes full of immunity-boosting superfoods and enjoying being able to box with boys on New York rooftops or work out with the Soul Sisters of the Adidas studio – accessing classes around the world via the miracle of modern-day tech in addition to Bristol’s own best – we fell headlong off the wagon during the quarantine’s wintry sequel. Whether it’s been increasing workloads, the decreasing novelty of virtual workouts or the shiver-inducing thought of venturing outdoors in leggings, we’ve had less inclination towards maintaining physical and mental fitness but we want to remedy the situation – with baby steps.
With their systems no doubt knocked for six, those who have previously contracted the virus and are in recovery will need to reintroduce fitness gradually this year. Even if your symptoms have been mild, the body is likely to be dealing with inflammation internally even after you’re feeling better. Short walks and gentle yoga or Pilates are a good place to start, paying close attention to the body in case it shows signs of stress through shortness of breath, chest tightness or palpitations.
Taking it slow
This seems to be a buzzword across the board – slow travel, slow fashion, slow fitness – and for very good reason. Many of us have learned to slow down a little, and be more conscious, aware and appreciative of our surroundings, because we’ve had to, but there’s no use trying to go from 0 to 60 once we’re immunised and finally, fingers crossed, on the return journey to normality. Be patient, make peace with the fact you might not be exactly where you were before, and try to practice gratitude each time you hit small milestones.
Don’t commit to a year of something, commit to a week. It’s more manageable, and less pressure not to ‘fail’ equals less beating yourself up about it, higher self-esteem and therefore better results, we reckon.
Back when we were out and about more, it felt almost impossible to remember what we we’d scoffed during the day – with endless snacks picked up on the way to the train station and from the office vending machine or the local bakery opposite between meetings. When it comes to diet, it seems miles easier to keep track of what you’re eating when you’re at home more, so diarising could now be a more practical shout for some.
If you’re isolated and working out on your own it helps to have a digital buddy to track your progress and push you on via little its numerical displays. The rise of support networks online has also meant anyone can keep a friendly chatbots in their pockets to call on when needed, too.
Not spending a couple of hours per day, or more, travelling to a city centre to perform tasks they have proved they can perform well from home has given many the extra time to try weaving a few new helpful practices into daily life that, incidentally, often increase the potential for productivity. Now could be the time to try morning meditation if you’ve never seen a window for working such a luxury in.
While winter puts some people right off and sees them sharply exit the exercise train, others love working out in the fresher weather. With a daily constitutional the only option available to many of us for the past months, it’s really driven home the importance of our city’s green spaces for physical and mental health. And, that if you’re going to set aside some time to move or practice some mindfulness, you may as well do it outside and get that extra grounded-in-nature hit.
Tinder but make it mindful
It’s not easy finding the right mental health support, with various considerations to take into account – convenience, costs, matching of circumstances to areas of expertise – but more and more apps are making their way onto the market to hook you up with help from your pocket.
The rise of CBD
Now that it’s been widely established that CBD isn’t a byword for getting high, more and more people are turning to cannabidiol to help with pain, inflammation, anxiety and more. It comes in all sorts of forms: baked goods, rubs and balms, vape pens, capsules, tinctures to drip under your tongue to reach the bloodstream quicker; you can pop it in your coffee, smoothie, shake, salad dressing and cocktail. You get the idea.
Whatever happens this year in terms of vaccine roll-out and the gradual return to normality, remote coaching – having taken off so ubiquitously during 2020 – will probably continue to be utilised as an extra feature in addition to in-person coaching. So hopefully we won’t have to break up with our new boxing pals in the Big Apple.
Sustainable garb We all want nice workout gear, and it feels so much better when it’s been conscientiously created. Searches for responsibly made activewear are up massively, with interest in specific sustainable materials on the rise too, and there are plenty of companies out there that can help you go green when it comes to your gym kit.