Well, who’d have thought we’d end up here? Everything bar shops and hospitals are closed, we’re all stuck at home and the world has pretty much shat itself. We’ve never known a time quite like this in history and we most likely won’t see another time like this in our lifetime. So, how do we get through this? In this article I’m going to lay out a collection of my thoughts and advice on how to best get through this situation and come out stronger on the other side.
Worry, anxiety and all other forms of stress are no use to us at the best of times, but in the middle of a global pandemic they actively weaken our defences. Let me explain.
Stress activates a portion of our physiology known as the “sympathetic nervous system” – you may know this as the “fight or flight” response system. Now, we have no conscious control over this system, it simply kicks into gear in response to a perceived stress. Bear in mind – the sympathetic nervous system evolved in humans to get away from things like sabre tooth tigers and preserve life at all costs, not to optimise the body for a long day of sitting around worrying about whether they’re going to catch a virus (or money, or body image, or relationships, or anything else for that matter).
When the body gets stressed, we go into a “sympathetic state”. This means the body automatically diverts blood towards the muscles – specifically the arms & legs, the areas we need to move our body in order to fight something or run away from something. This is why you don’t need to think about whether or not you should jump out of the way of an oncoming speeding bus – your brain communicates with your fight or flight response system and you instinctively get out of the way to preserve life. That’s how powerful our bodies are.
The problem with this is that if there is no real and immediate threat to life, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more of a liability than an asset. With no fighting or fleeing to be done, the body just sits in a state of stress for no reason. Blood is transferred to the skeletal muscles – which means it moves away from the essential areas that need it most like the kidneys and liver for waste removal & detoxification, the digestive system for digestion, reproductive organs for… well you know what.
The point is, if the essential organs don’t have an adequate supply of blood & nutrients, they can’t perform the processes essential to general health. This has a damaging effect on the immune system and literally weakens our defences against any virus or infectious disease, not just covid-19.
So, calm your tits. Regardless of how bad the situation is in the world, there’s nothing we can personally do to change it, other than stay at home. So stay at home, relax, and follow the rest of the tips in this article to sure up your body’s natural defences.
Physical and mental wellbeing hinges on you looking after your body. So do it!
Most of society right now is sitting on the sofa, watching Netflix, drinking their bodyweight in beer or spirits and getting fat. While that may be keeping them safe from the corona virus (for now), it’s also causing massive metabolic damage on a global scale. The whole point of staying at home right now is so the spread of this virus doesn’t overwhelm the NHS – but what do you think will happen over the next few years as a result of current circumstances? A massive downturn in people’s movement combined with a massive upturn of processed food & alcohol consumption has the potential to lead to an even bigger demand on the health service, in my opinion.
So, we have a responsibility both to ourselves and to our NHS to look after our bodies during this period of lockdown and beyond. Making ourselves weaker, unhealthier and more susceptible to disease is bad news for everyone. Bad news for us, out families, and our health service.
So MOVE! We’re allowed to exercise, even if it’s not at the gym. Do a workout in your living room or garden, go for a walk or run, stretch, do something active to blow the cobwebs away. Make smarter food choices – I’m not suggesting you have to go on a diet right now but not eating like a 5-year-old because you don’t have to go to work is a really sensible approach to take.
Small actions like this may not seem life changing, but they could be the difference between you staying happy, healthy & sane during these challenging times or you going in the opposite direction.
If you need some help with this, I’m giving away a completely FREE home workout plan with videos to help you kickstart your movement in lockdown. Click the button below to grab your copy!
Mental health was important before we were all consigned to our own homes, and now we are it’s even more vital. Human contact has just been reduced to near-zero, and that can have a really detrimental effect on our mental health. That’s why we need to make a concerted effort to look after our minds during this period.
As discussed earlier in this article, the mental stress we go through has a massive impact on the physical plane – weakening our immune system & defences against viruses or diseases of any kind.
(Note: Break down the word disease: Dis-Ease, not being at ease with things. If you aren’t at ease mentally, sooner or later that will manifest physically).
Having a routine is a great place to start when it comes to looking after your mind. I like to bookend my days with a morning and evening routine and be disciplined enough to stick to it. That means having a wake-up time & bedtime.
The benefit of a morning routine is setting yourself up to win for the day. The way we start our day has a massive impact on whether we go to bed with a feeling of achievement and satisfaction or a feeling of waste and dejection. That is massive for our mental health. Here’s a few things to include in your morning routine:
I really hope that was useful and got your brain juices flowing in regard to how to approach the corona virus lockdown. If you enjoyed this article it would mean to world to me if you could share it with one person that you think would find value in it.
Andy Clements – Personal Trainer, Physique & Mindset Coach