It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for; springtime is upon us and will hopefully be filled with sunnier days and cheerier moods allowing each and every one of us to start emerging from these wintery days of lockdown and severe lack of sunlight, and when it does happen we need to be ready. Ok, so we may be a long way off complete normality, but now the days of socialising with friends, holidaying on the beach and enjoying some much-deserved catch-up time with family is on the horizon, it’s really time to start getting our minds and our bodies back into shape.
I don’t know about you, but the slightest hint of freedom had me filling up my online shopping carts with clothes and accessories that I know have no chance of fitting me just yet, but instead of feeling the usual distain of complete hopelessness, I’m feeling unusually motivated to work on myself and get back into a vaguely acceptable condition for those long days of sun and laughs, wearing my new outfits and shoes that I definitely should be wearing in before braving the great outside.
So, it’s going to take a bit of work for many of us, but with greater days ahead and time on our side, this should be a fun time to get to know ourselves again and get back into our normal routines, and even discover some new ones along the way!
So, where do we start? On top of the physical preparation, we must make sure that our mental wellbeing takes a priority too. For many people this last year has been a lonely one, with little or extremely limited time outside, and no visiting the people that mean the most and seeing the usual places that make life normal. We have to try to remember that everyone is in the same boat and are all equally looking forward to better days, but for some it may not be as simple as that. It will be common to have feelings of anxiety in joining the world again, so as much as you may be excited to see your best friends, it is important to let them also decide when they are ready to join you at their own pace.
Life as we know it may not ever go back to normal completely, and it can get overwhelming for a lot of people to accept changes in how we socialise. Prepare yourself for this by setting your own realistic expectations, so you don’t feel let down or saddened by the new normal. Jetting off on holiday without masks, or pre-drinks at the airport may not happen just yet, but we will get there in time, it’s just about the baby steps to get back into a social mindset, and a great place to start is by getting your body back into a normal routine. When you look the part, it is easier to feel the part.
Detoxes and Diets
All kinds of diet fads present themselves to us through different mediums and all promise to help us lose belly fat in 6 weeks or feel more alert by drinking a celebrity-endorsed tea for a month. The truth is, only you know how your body works and how it responds to different diets, not all of them suit each person’s lifestyle or body shape and it’s important to remember that in the countdown toward lockdown lifting.
There are things that do work though, and without having to change much in your existing routine you can incorporate a few things just to make sure your body is healthy, which is definitely more recommended than a crash diet in a bid to lose unwanted pounds. I honestly think that sugary snack sales at my local supermarket have probably gone through the roof due to my insatiable hunger for chocolate and all things sweet, and while I know this cannot continue if I’m ever going to fit into my new jeans, I also know it won’t do my body any good to cut food out completely.
So the change comes in switching up my sugary goodies for healthier ones, that way I can still snack at intervals in the day, but know I’m actually doing my body a bit of good in the process. A handful of blueberries and some almonds gives just enough sweetness to trick my brain into settling that craving, but also provides the body with the energy it needs to fuel my needy vessel for a few hours before dinner time.
As a source of fibre and protein the nuts pack a punch, so you don’t actually need to eat too many of them to get the benefits from them, and blueberries are loaded with vitamin C and potassium for all-round good health. Known for their antioxidant properties as well, berries are great for keeping the body clear and boost the immune system.
The great thing about this tiny change in diet is it doesn’t take a lot of work and is majorly beneficial, once you start to see a few changes just from cutting sugar, it makes adding more healthier options to the diet that much easier. Green vegetables, fresh fish and steamed rice has never tasted so good!
This is the one you’ve either been missing or dreading, there’s no in-between. So many people have used their time away from the world wisely, keeping on top of daily 5k runs, exercises at home or following daily online videos in a bid to shed some lockdown weight. I applaud all those who have made the effort and are on track to come out of lockdown looking and feeling fantastic, you’ve set the bar and should be so proud of your achievements.
I, on the other hand, fell out of love with exercise as the winter set in and let all those hours of hard work getting into shape last year fall by the wayside. But it’s ok! Everyone is going through something different right now and just because some of us lost our fitness mojo, it doesn’t mean we can’t get it back, and with the weather slowly starting to join or side, exercise will feel a lot more normal once we get back into it.
The trick is to start slow, as much as we all want to see results over night, it doesn’t work that way, and in the end we will just put strain on our bodies that can cause injury or fatigue. The idea is to fall back in love with exercise again, not loathe and resent it, so start by stretching and doing some warm-up exercises to see where your body will let you go and where is going to need a little more work.
Stretching is vital before every work out anyway, so get into the habit of working those muscles and limbs and feeling loose before you exercise. If running was your thing, don’t try to hit the 5k straight away if it’s been a while, a short jog will be enough to assess your current abilities, and you can push your limits further with each run.
Don’t neglect weights and resistance training for your arms, stomach and chest. Cardio is fantastic for losing pounds, but weight training helps you build muscle and can actually be better for your metabolism with a slow burn. Whichever way you choose to do it, try and find a way to make sure you stick it out this time, perhaps some friendly competition, create a fun playlist that matches your speed and lasts your desired work out time, and always allow your body to cool down and rest when it needs to.
One thing we could all do with right about now is some serious Vitamin D! The colder months of winter are already enough to contend with, but not being able to go out and about too much is depriving our skin of all-natural sources of oxygen and vitamins that can help with a healthy complexion. Sure, it’s a wonderful feeling being wrapped up nice and warm in comfy loungewear all day, but if you’re anything like me, you’re using these layers to hide what’s underneath and it’s about time to shed the hoodies and joggers and look at getting that skin nice and ready in time for shorts weather!
Exfoliation is a great place to start, and I know I’ve missed numerous occasions where I should have been taking great care of my skin, so this next time is going to feel fantastic. A good body scrub followed by some soothing serum and a hydrating moisturiser should be enough to do the trick, but it’s really about getting the body and mind ready for the lifting of lockdown so it’s important to put aside some proper pampering time to get the job done and not rush it.
The next thing to do is concentrate on the face, and I like to treat myself to a nice cucumber mask every now and then, but if it calls for a charcoal or even more sticky methods then so be it! The good thing about lockdown is not needing to wear makeup every day, for which my face is grateful for the breather, but soon I’ll be back to my usual suit of armour and will need to make sure my face is ready for it. The tip here is to keep the face hydrated and protected against the sun. SPF is your friend in these upcoming months of endless sunny days outside, so don’t forget to apply it before the war paint goes on.
Out with the old and in with the new! As this is going to be a brand-new day for all of us, it will feel so much better to start afresh and make sure that that kit full of open but mostly unused makeup isn’t going on your skin. That can only mean irritation and we want to look our best, remember! But it isn’t just about replenishing our makeup and brushes, this summer calls for trying out some new products that will contribute to our feelgood goals.
Take the eyelashes for example, unfortunately for a lot of us, hair beauty salons have mostly been closed or unavailable over the past few months, so we’ve been letting our eyelashes loose in all their natural glory – or the opposite in my case. Without the joys of eyelash extensions to help out, it may be time to take matters into our own hands with an eyelash growth serum. After years of mascara use and eyelash curling, the last few months have probably helped give our eyelashes a well-deserved break, but they certainly do leave something to be desired. An eyelash growth serum can help give them that extra boost in length as well as some much-needed strength and shine. When an eyelash serum can turn drab and weak looking eyelashes into those of a goddess in a matter of weeks, it’s time to get applying so that our eyelashes are fully ready for lockdown to be lifted.
Yes, it’s time to start planning your summer wardrobe and putting those winter coats away. Obviously, in my case, I do have a few areas I want to tighten up before I go buying clothes a size down, but that won’t stop me from purchasing some summery slides or flattering bodysuits. Time to get out of those comfy joggers, incorporate some colour into your life.
I don’t care what anyone says, a shopping trip is does more for the endorphins than most exercise and when we finally have an excuse to look and feel like ourselves once more, there’s no time like the present to treat yourself to a well-earned spree. Even if it is online, is there really a better feeling than a delivery waiting at your front door? I don’t think so!
So, here’s to lockdown (and our spirits) being lifted once again and to ourselves for dealing with life fantastically in unprecedented times full of uncertainty. We’re all doing a great job and must remember to remind ourselves of that. It’s time to really give our bodies and our minds the treatment they deserve for helping us through this last year, so let the fun commence!