With the latest lockdown, we’ve all got used to spending a lot of time at home recently. BSc Health Studies (Public Health) student, Hannah Tolera, shares her tips on how to keep healthy – in mind and body – when you can’t get out much.
Motivating yourself to be ‘healthy’ during these times can be more exhausting than the exercise you had planned to do weeks ago but still haven’t. Being healthy can mean a vast range of things. This can include your mental and emotional wellbeing, your physical health and also your social life. Most people forget that your social life has a lot to do with your health and how it can impact an individual physically or mentally. But what does ‘being healthy’ mean to you? From a public health perspective, acknowledging that different individuals have different health priorities is imperative because keeping healthy might mean going for a jog for one person whereas someone else might think meditating is their way of keeping healthy. However, due to the doom of this lockdown, much is beyond the control of individuals. The lists of dos seem to get shorter whilst the lists of don’ts become extremely long.
What can you do?
As an individual wanting to take your own approach on health, you must follow the official covid-19 advice that the government has set whilst using your own risk judgement for any ‘grey’ areas. You can use these to your advantage; for example, working from home offers less restriction and more flexibility. You’re able to have your breaks that suit your work load so instead of being at your desk when it’s lunch, you could actually go for a walk or a jog at lunch time.
Taking up some online workout classes could benefit your mental wellbeing as this involves interaction with other people. This has been particularly difficult due to the lockdown restrictions so any human interaction we can get we should never take for granted again! Online yoga can be a real benefit to your mental health as it’s a more relaxed and quiet way of interacting and benefiting your health with peace of mind.
As most of the interaction we now get is virtual, there can be more things on offer for us to do. For example, have a quiz night with family members and you can involve those near or far. Or if you want to interact and keep fit with those close to home, invest in a Nintendo switch. It offers an innovative approach to exercising which makes it that little bit more fun and exciting and you can get the whole family involved.
Or if you want to take a different approach, why not take a stand for change? Even though we feel like not much is in our control, combining forces with others by joining a campaign or organisation which is looking to improve an aspect of health can make a difference. You could even consider joining a Trade Union if you can, or a political party that prioritises health - it’s essential to vote, but voting on its own may not be enough.
Finally - exercising a positive mind-set is an underestimated approach to improving mental health. Reminding yourself of things you are fortunate for such as a job, income and family is very useful, as much of the population has been challenged in these areas this year.
Worried about you mental health?
BCU’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Team are here to support all our students with any concerns you may have.