Written By Dr. Ben Lynch / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Want to come out of the pandemic in better shape both inside and out? Who doesn’t? But, of course, that’s easier said than done. Vaccines may be offering something of a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, but for many people, slotting back into “normal life” healthily is an increasingly imposing challenge.
It’s an unfortunate fact that, for many, the lockdown routine has been lacking in regular exercise and full of questionable dietary decisions. That’s fine! It’s been a difficult year and a half for all of us, and nobody should be judged for their decisions throughout. However, if you want to make a difference to your health, there’s never been a better time to start.
In this article, we’ll outline what a healthy post-COVID routine looks like and how you can (healthily) maintain it.
Take stock of what happened
Before you hop on a new diet trend, invest in a gym membership or re-think your skincare routine, it’s important to take stock of what actually happened in the last 18 months and the impact it had on you.
Nobody can be quite sure yet of the lasting ramifications of the pandemic, both on those who suffered from the virus and those who experienced adverse mental health conditions as a result of it. We’ve essentially spent the last year and a half trapped indoors with our anxieties, so it shouldn’t come as a shock to feel worn down, tired, and a little lost.
We’re not machines, and this has been anything but a healthy period for many of us. You might have stuck to your running schedule, but did your meal prep and self-perception suffer?
Take the time to look back at your experience of the pandemic and ask yourself these questions:
- How do I feel thinking back on the pandemic?
- How has my body changed throughout the pandemic?
- What changes do I like and dislike?
- When do I feel the most energetic and tired?
For many people, writing down their thoughts in a diary or a journal can help process their feelings (as it did for frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic). While much of this article will lean into keeping a healthy exercise routine and diet, a strong mental health foundation makes sticking to that routine much more achievable.
Make movement and physical activity a big part of your day
Humans are naturally active creatures. We aren’t designed to sit in front of Netflix all day and night chowing down on our favorite salty snacks - as nice as that might be every now and then. Our bodies want to run, jump and swim, even if it doesn’t always feel like they do.
A lot of this is about forcing yourself to take the first step, but once you’re there regular physical activity becomes much easier.
When you wake up, make sure to complete a short stretching routine - here’s how you can get started - and get out of bed as soon as you can. It might not feel like much, but walking around the house getting on with your day will give you significantly more energy than breakfast in bed.
Back in the office? Walk or cycle to ease yourself into exercise. Don’t have the time to work out in the morning? Take your kit to work and stop by the gym or the pool on the way home. Exercise can be quite easily worked into your existing routine - you’ve never had any problem sticking to that!
Think about what you’re putting in your body
What good is a workout routine if you’re eating takeaway every week?
Getting in shape and sticking to a good routine is all about what you’re eating and drinking. You can lift weights every night, but you’ll never see the same results if you’re sticking to your lazy lockdown diet.
You know the deal here. Fruit, vegetables, healthy fats and lean meats. Veggie or vegan? The health world has more than moved on to accommodate you. We’re not about to go into the intricacies of a healthy diet here, but your life doesn’t need to be dull salads and water, taste is just as much a part of a great healthy routine as protein.
Worried you’re not getting enough of the good stuff? Buy vitamins online to boost your diet — there is a range of choice that will suit any dietary needs. Make vitamins and supplements another part of your morning routine, and you’ll easily get the nutrients you need.
Ease back into it slowly and set micro-goals
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t get back to your pre-COVID (or better) body straight away either. Everyone knows that slow and steady wins the race, but it’s important to not even look at this as a race at all.
Whether you’re a hardcore personal trainer or an office worker disappointed by what the scales are telling them, everyone is in the same boat. Regardless of how fit you kept yourself throughout multiple lockdowns, it’s difficult to really recapture that routine you had going at the gym.
Thinking too big is a recipe for disaster, and setting micro-goals might just be the perfect way for you to work towards a better and healthier you. Micro-goals celebrate small, everyday achievements, such as taking your first walk or finally eating five vegetables a day for a week. This all collates into one big goal of a routine that immediately looks more achievable.
A long checklist of big achievements might sound like a great starting point, but it just makes your routine seem imposing and unachievable. Impossible goals are a poor way to reset your mind for the task before you, so think small.
Five simple health tricks that make a great routine
Before we finish, here are five simple tricks to get you a little closer to a healthy routine.
- Make your first drink of the day a glass of water
- Go to bed at the same time every day (when possible)
- Eat while sitting down (it supports digestion)
- Avoid blue light and screens for an hour before bed
- End the day with a clean kitchen - a great sight while you make your morning smoothie
No one who’s serious about health thinks committing to a new routine is easy. It’s not a matter of waking up and going to the gym at six am. Remember, before you can begin to commit to a healthy routine post-COVID, you must cover these points:
- How has my mental health suffered in the last year? (Confidence, self-perception)
- What are my physical limits? (Can I still run 5K every day?)
- What are my dietary requirements and restrictions?
The key to sticking to a routine is to not over-commit and slowly work up to an optimum routine. As you develop, the routine develops with you, and the results on your health become more evident.
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Dr. Ben Lynch, author and naturopathic doctor, has a passion for researching and empowering others to take charge of their own health. This passion led him on the path of epigenetics, environmental medicine and nutrigenomics. Today he researches, writes, and teaches on the topic of “dirty genes” - which is based off his best-selling book, Dirty Genes and his popular podcast, Dirty Genes Podcast. Dr. Lynch is also the President of Seeking Health. He formulates all their supplements and provides high-level education for both health professionals and the public.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.