Finding routine in the chaos

Ok I must admit I have been hesitant to write a blog this month, my inbox is overflowing with email alerts, blogs and how to stay healthy via…. (insert idea here). So what do I have to add to the noise I ask myself?

I thought instead of sending out lists of immune boosting foods and workout videos (just kidding I am not a personal trainer) I would take you through what I have learned about trying to stay healthy while doing an isolation vacation.  Don’t get me wrong, I know this is not a holiday, but it is the Easter break, so I am just pretending that it is.

Sticking to a routine as much as possible has really helped me stay on track with my health goals. Last year I did a lecture series around Australia and one of the main points of the lecture was about routine and circadian rhythms. Your body really wants to be on a schedule, and I think being in lock down is one of the best opportunities to do this. I know routine is boring, but it is exactly this that our body thrives on, it feels safe and thus will then relax, let you sleep more deeply and may possibly let go of those last few kilos you have been trying to shift.

Routine you see, makes your mind and body feel like it’s in control of a situation. This is especially important in 2020 when there is so much chaos and uncertainty in the world around us. All the little things you do every day that you can control and do as a routine will help to decrease stress levels and this in the end can help support our overall wellbeing as well as our immune system which is suppressed by stress and cortisol levels.

Getting up and going to bed at the same time every day/night is one of the best things you can do for your body. Even you night owls should set a time to go to bed. The other point of routine is eating. I am not about to ask people to do some big dietary change in the middle of all this stress BUT there are a few simple things you can implement right now that can go a long way to not needing to do a 12 week diet challenge when we are finally let out of our houses.

Now that Easter is over, finish off those chocolate eggs and stop buying all those things you know you shouldn’t be eating. If it doesn’t come home in your grocery cart you can’t eat it, it’s that simple. I know I know; you will only have 2 squares of Chocolate each night you say as you put the bar into your grocery cart. I have said this to myself many times and it NEVER works, at least for me and for 90% of my clients. So, my suggestion would be clean out the pantry and the fridge, do a deep tidy/clean and stock it with only foods that you know are fabulous for you. Yes, I know food rewards are fun, especially in such stressful times but treats are not the answer to stress.

The other issue at the moment, at least in my house is the constant snacking. Whenever someone wants a break from work or home schooling it is common to walk to the kitchen to see what there is to eat. This habit can see your food intake double overnight. So how do you stop this from happening? Well hopefully you have done the pantry clean out so there are only good foods, but this in itself is not enough as eating an entire jar of macadamias or rice crackers and hummus is still not what your body needs every 5 minutes. So, the plan is to eat 3 meals a day. Yes, that’s right, just 3 meals and no snacks unless you are feeling physical hunger. We have been fooled into believing we need to snack constantly, and this is just not true for most pf us. I would say if you are exercising then yes maybe 1 snack per day, depending on your volume of exercise. Circadian rhythms also exist for every organ of the body and we now from research that the digestive system also has its own rhythm. Our digestion is strongest in the morning until around 2pm and then slows down in its overall capacity to deal with foods. Even our insulin has a rhythm and follows near the same peaks and lows as our digestive processes. Ok that’s enough science for now let’s get back to ideas and suggestions.

So, try for the next week, to only snack if you need one, not if your brain and taste buds are just bored. Take breaks from working online but do it by making a cup of coffee or herb tea or by going out into the sunshine even if its just a balcony and changing your scenery. Better yet, get out and do some exercise or deep breathing techniques to break up the day. If you still find you are snacking too much, then the good old FOOD DIARY is a favourite of mine. Leave it visible in the kitchen or on the fridge and write down EVERYTHING that you eat and drink and what time you do so.  It is amazing what we forget we have eaten, especially if its on the run or in front of the TV or computer.

So that’s it from me, nothing grand and life changing to fix your immune system or world poverty but some basic steps to work on to assist you being as healthy as possible while we spend our lives at home for the time being.

Routine

  • Time we wake
  • Time we go to sleep
  • Time we eat meals
  • Time we exercise

Awareness

  • Food intake
  • Snacking habits
  • Life routine and habits