What did we Learn?
- Walking - Walking is free. 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of a stroke by up to 40% depending on your pace. It's easy on the joints reducing bone mass loss and the risk of fractures. Weight loss can be achieved with a 30 minute brisk walk burning up to 200 calories. Walking also improves your sleep by reducing insomnia, helps mental health, reduces memory decline and can be a very social activity between friends.
- Cycling - During the first month of lockdown the sale of bicycles increase by 60%, according to the Bicycle Association. The 'bike boom' saw the public leave their car keys at home and use their exercise time on their bicycles. Cycling is great for health and fitness. It's low impact but a good muscle workout. Cycling also increases stamina, aerobic fitness and strength. It's a fun way to exercise for the whole family, coasting down hills and being outdoors.
- Mindfulness and Journal Writing - This is a subject close to my heart. Mindfulness and journal writing are for the greater well-being and improving mental health. But science has now proven that the techniques can increase physical health by relieving stress, reducing blood pressure, chronic pain and gastrointestinal difficulties. I have written a separate article on this subject Stress, Mindfulness and Health Please have a read to discover ways to help with stress and mental health.
- Crafts and hobbies - More time on our hands, no work, unable to go outside - The most googled topic in March/April 2020, with a 90% increase of average 'monthly search volumes' was 'how to?' searches. The most 'how to?' searches were on gardening crafts, from pot decorating and buntings to decorating and designs, this all being prior to any garden centres opening. Our gardens flourished, we became adventurous with our garden designs and spent a lot of our time outside working on our lawns, pots and bedding plants. In fact our gardens became our social meeting places once we were able to meet up with family and friends. A godsend to those who are not so lucky with outdoor space. Many hobbies began during this time as we discovered new skills and flairs that we would never have attempted or known about prior to lockdown. Spending time on a hobby or craft helps reduce stress and improve mental health and well-being. Hobbies can get you out and about, make you feel happier and will encourage you to take a break away from the mundane chores of life.
- Socialising and less time on phones - Technology has taken over and we spend far too much time on mobiles, computers or watching soaps on the TV. Lockdown brought us together as the restrictions were lifted and slowly we were able to meet up in parks and gardens. We held conversations with family and friends preferring to leave behind the angry 'rants' and dismal news coverage shared on social media. Socialising provides health benefits both mentally and physically. Connecting with family and friends can boost brain health and can lower the risk of dementia.
- Budgeting - The most difficult times during Lockdown has been the reduction of income. We had to learn very quickly the valuable experience of budgeting. No longer could we waste food, buy new clothing or purchase goods without a valid reason to do so. A good lesson learnt, as we had become a nation of 'careless spending' instead of 'waste not, want not' There is an art to budgeting and something that we can continue when we return to the new 'normal'. There is a sense of achievement with budgeting, especially if we are focused on saving for something that we long for like a holiday, a spa retreat or a deposit on a house. Budgeting is not as easy as it appears. We need to take into account all our outgoings, any contingencies and unexpected six-monthly or annual bills. These items all have to be implemented into a budget calculated on a monthly or weekly basis (depending on your income/salary). Relieve stress and anxiety with personal financial budgeting