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3 simple habits to help you thrive in COVID-19 isolation

father taking child for ride in wheelbarrow

As people settle into at least four weeks of isolation, the reality of what that feels like is just kicking in. Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull shares simple ways to not just stay well, but thrive under lockdown.

1. Make a routine and stick to it

• Aim to get up and go to sleep at the same times each day. This helps regulate your body clock and will help you sleep better
• Make time to be active and, if possible, choose the same time every day, as this makes it more likely to become a new habit. Here are some ideas for exercising at home
• Good sleep will help keep you well at this time. Not only does quality sleep help you feel better and improve your mood, it is also important for a healthy immune system
• Make sure your room is dark and cool. If you struggle to sleep, because you have a lot on your mind, try an app such as Calm or Headspace to help you unwind. Or, write worries down so they don’t do the rounds in your head.

2. Be mindful of eating to ‘fill time’, as a distraction or if you are feeling stressed

• Even being mindful that this might happen is a good first step to stop it from happening
• If you are working over this time, try to work somewhere other than the kitchen – it makes it too easy to pick at food
• If you are feeling bored or stressed and head to the kitchen, ask yourself: Am I really hungry or just looking for a distraction? What else can I do instead? Now is a good time to call or message someone and connect
• Snacking mindlessly is easier in lockdown for both adults and kids, so try to keep to some kind of meal and snack routine and only eat when you are hungry
• Keep biscuits and treat foods out of sight and easy reach. The saying “out of sight, out of mind”, really does apply here
• A stiff drink is a common coping strategy for stress, but alcohol is a depressant, so try to keep to the occasional drink and maintain some alcohol-free days.

3. Go outside every day

• Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes outside, with your eyes of exposed to daylight (without your sunglasses). This helps to regulate the hormones that control your mood and sleep, and tells your body not to go into hibernation. Spending time outside can also help lift your mood, which is very important at a time like this. We have more tips for boosting your mood here
• Exposing your skin to natural light helps your body make vitamin D which is essential for a healthy immune system.

First published: Mar 2020

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