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HEALTH & WELLBEING

A Different Kind of Lockdown

By RGrant 25 Feb 2021

So here we are in lockdown 2.0. Although they are both called ‘lockdowns’ things are very different this time round for better and for worse. Last lockdown was a bit scarier at the start as none of us really knew what to expect under new restrictions and a great sense of the unknown dawned upon us. Although there are still very tight restrictions, we are slightly more relaxed this time around. Society has now adjusted, as we know what to expect from a lockdown, as case numbers decrease and as the vaccine roll out continues hopefully we will start to see things gradually re-opening, including sports facilities. Until then we must still find alternative ways to exercise and look after our wellbeing.

Winter Lockdown

Unlike the last lockdown we have not entered in mid spring with sunshine and temperatures hitting double figures. This time we have been greeted with shorter days, sub-zero conditions, plenty of snow, icy pavements and frozen grass.  Along with gym and sport facilities being closed the weather is now limiting our physical activity choices.  It is so important that we find new ways to stay fit.  

Great Initiatives

It is proven that darker nights and gloomy weather can affect your mood and that’s without the addition of imposed lockdown restrictions. With the upset the pandemic brings, winter can be a difficult season for many of us, especially those who already struggle with their mental health. It can be hard to stay positive, but I have personally seen so many good examples of those who are managing to make the most of this time! I have seen great initiatives put in place such as the daily mile by RGU to try keep our community well and active. I’ve seen some incredible body transformations from people who have turned their life around, with a now healthy and active lifestyle. Social media is full of people going out and making the most of the snow with sledging videos, lots of creative snowmen and even igloos being built, within household bubbles! It’s important we all view this gloomy time as an opportunity to do something good, which benefits our wellbeing and makes a positive change for the better. 

Here are my top tips for keeping your overall wellbeing in check:

  1. Look after your mind – if you feel tired, irritable, anxious, less interested in things, or have trouble eating or sleeping you may be suffering from depression. It’s important you get professional help as soon as you can; many doctors are now doing virtual appointments, so they’ll still be able to help whilst staying safe.  At RGU we have a dedicated Counselling and Wellbeing team. If you are struggling with any aspect of your physical or mental wellbeing then please get in touch with them: counselling@rgu.ac.uk; www.rgu.ac.uk/counselling-and-wellbeing
  2. Eat yourself happy - it’s so tempting right now to eat loads of fatty sugary foods and load up on the carbs but it’s important to resist! Eating these foods can make you lethargic and irritable. Maintain a healthy diet and keep your body and mind fuelled and happy.
  3. Get active! – there are plenty of ways to stay fit from home, with a number of initiatives put in place in the RGU sport community. There are many group exercise classes to get behind and engage with! Exercise releases feel good endorphins, helping us to feel relaxed and boost our mood.
  4. Make the most of the light – with the days being short it’s easy for the winter blues to set in. Make sure you’re awake and active when its light outside to allow you to make the most of the day. Go for a walk or get shopping during day light times.
  5. Keep warm - Advice from the NHS tells us being cold may make you feel more depressed, so staying warm may reduce the winter blues. Keep warm with hot drinks, hot food and warm clothes and shoes.  Try and keep your home between 18C and 21C (or 64F and 70F degrees).
  6. Talk!!! – having a chat or just talking to someone can improve your mood massively and make it easier to deal with these tough times. As you can’t visit family or friends in person then use zoom, whatsapp or facetime to get a catch up.
  7. Share – whether with family, friends or a therapist, it’s important to share how you feel. Lots of people are feeling anxious during these difficult and unpredictable times. Never feel like you’re the only one.  

At RGU we provide many other support services such as religious support, Student Help Point, the Inclusion Centre (disability and dyslexia) and Careers support. Find out more in the Support and Welcome tabs of Campus Moodle.

By: RGU Sport Assistant