How are you staying healthy (and sane) during this January lockdown?
Well, welcome to January everyone! Even though we are over halfway through it, it’s a long month, isn’t it? How are you all staying sane during what always feels like the toughest month of the year? 2021 comes with its own additional set of challenges – the ongoing pandemic and our third national lockdown in the UK. And the weather bears no similarity to the beautiful sun-drenched days of the first lockdown – that’s for sure!
Whilst I am a positive person most of the time and usually find ways to motivate myself, I must admit that getting out of bed on cold, dark, damp (even snowy at times) mornings hasn’t exactly filled me with enthusiasm. When my partner asks me to switch on the light, I shout ‘Hide!’ and bury my head back under the duvet. I am laughing at the same time though!
Although he is working from home a couple of days per week, he does still have to head off early to the office on other days. As I WFH all the time, I can afford myself the luxury of staying in bed a little longer. In fact, I love those few minutes early in the morning, as they give me time to process the day ahead – and by that, I mean that I’m embracing the peaceful and meditative way that I can think without the interruptions that start once I get up when my brain goes straight into work mode.
Once I am up, I’ve usually got a long list of things to do that occupy my brain and keep me so busy that the hours just fly by, and I can quickly lose days – weeks, in fact. With this approach, the days will soon be getting lighter and it will be February. Now I’m not one to wish the days away as I love life and embrace all aspects of it, but January, as I am sure you will all agree, is always a toughie. I find focusing on the positives of change helps though, knowing that this won’t last forever.
So, how do we keep going generally throughout what is noted as one of the hardest months of the year in good old Blighty? It’s a question that’s even more important this year, a year we have started in lockdown, and all the challenges that come with it.
Personally, I have elected to do dry January this year with my partner. Why? We are not particularly big drinkers, but we had fallen into a bad habit of drinking most days during December and had reached a saturation point, so this was a good chance to take a break from the booze! That and I wanted to have a clear rather than muzzy head in the morning. I know how much better I feel when I haven’t been consuming alcohol. Last year, I stopped drinking for a couple of months after I read ‘The easy way for women to stop drinking’ by Allen Carr. For more info, visit his website https://www.allencarr.com/easyway-stop-drinking/how-to-quit/ . It’s a great book, an insightful read, and I loved not drinking. However, I recognised that I still had choices and despite alcohol being a poison with added flavourings, I quite liked them. Sounds ridiculous when you put it like that, but the information that I gained from the book has helped quitting during January, and as a result, has helped me keep sane so far.
That coupled with upping my running and setting myself a personal target of completing a half marathon by the end of the month. Now, I can’t of course run a real race but having the distance in mind gives me something to work towards on a personal level, and it is something my partner and I can do together. It gives us a reason to be outside getting fresh air for a long period of time once a week on a long run whilst I build my distance up. He is a triathlete and much fitter than me so that also helps – a lot. It’s great when someone has your back, and is encouraging and supportive. Being pushed too hard can put you off altogether. As in coaching, it is all about facilitation and unconditional positive regard in supporting the person you are working with, in a non-judgemental way.
Our runs have been made all the more interesting, as we have been trying out some new trail runs – in very muddy conditions at times! We have run through Bradgate Park and Woodhouse Eaves in Leicestershire (before the full lockdown), and more recently through the muddy cow fields locally. My new trail shoes have taken quite a battering from the mud, to the extent that it has felt like running with lead shoes on!
Getting out in the fresh air with a target does so much for your wellbeing. There is the peacefulness that comes with connecting with nature, the sense of achievement afterwards, and the benefit of keeping fit too. I’m also looking into getting a turbo trainer for my road bike so that I can improve my capacity for cycling, as I appear to have agreed to a target of doing an Olympic distance triathlon by September – yikes!
In addition to upping the fitness and ditching alcohol, I have also had a word with myself about taking on too much, and in doing so, am now actively saying no to things so that I can, first of all, focus on completing the homework associated with my NLP Practitioner’s Certificate and set about promoting my ‘Manifest Your Dream Job’ online course that I created last year. https://www.sarahjnaylor.com/manifest-your-dream-job/
I also want to focus my energies on stopping, reading, and meditating more too. I am currently reading ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art’ by James Nestor. https://www.mrjamesnestor.com/breath It makes for a really interesting and enlightening read – a must for everyone who wants to live a healthier life as it all starts with the breath. In short, the author talks a lot about the importance of nasal breathing on our health and wellbeing. I have undertaken a lot breath work throughout my practice of yoga over the years, so I am familiar with the techniques but not so much with the reasons behind it and the impact on our health if we don’t breathe nasally. As such, I am aiming to be more mindful of the way I breathe too.
I guess I have quite a lot on for the month, in a positive way, that will hopefully improve my wellness overall, without the need to beat myself up over a list of New Year’s Resolutions that turned out to be unrealistic.
For me, therefore, surviving January and lockdown consists of the following:
- Keeping occupied (never a dull moment at my house!)
- Keeping physically active, and working towards a goal to motivate myself further
- Remaining positive – looking at what I can do rather than what I cannot
- Ditching alcohol – which means I feel brighter and lighter mentally
- Developing my mind through reading
- Stopping to breathe and meditate
And as an added bonus, enjoying Marvel films and comedy on Netflix – you have to have some fantasy and laughter in your life to stay sane!
If you want to talk to me further about staying sane through changing your perspective on life, and are ready to do things differently, then please do get in touch. It would be great to hear from you. https://www.sarahjnaylor.com/book-a-chat/