The coronavirus pandemic has altered the rhythms of daily life in both big and small ways. For many of us, the well-worn routines we found comfort and stability in have all but fallen away. We have had to adapt, and quickly. A few months in, we’re now feeling the effects in full force. The anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the situation has also caused many of us to not only lose track of our greater goals, but also loose a foothold on the basics: sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Thankfully for us, Melbourne-based naturopath and nutritionist Freya Lawler is to the rescue with some practical advice you can apply right now (she is also offering online one-on-one consultations to help navigate this time).
Read on for her tips below.
Schedule self-care into your routine
Plan your week ahead on a Sunday. I live by this and recommend this daily in practice with patients. When scheduling your plans for the week, whether in an online calendar or physical diary, I recommend always scheduling self-care and wellness activities before anything else. Because without our health what do we have? When we look back on this period of our lives, how wonderful will it be to appreciate the care we took, the extra steps of self-love and the extra attention we spent on self? I truly believe we can emerge from isolation in a better place than we were before. But, it takes dedication and commitment. Begin scheduling your self-care and see how it feels. To end every day knowing you dedicated time and space for you, not just your work, is a deeply satisfying practice.
Stick to a balanced and nutritious diet
This is a hot topic at the moment. I am receiving daily emails from patients asking how to do this. So many of us have needed to adapt to this current landscape and transform our lives in record timing. Because of this, eating habits have been thrown on the back-burner and food has simply become fuel; the nourishment and romance of cooking and preparing have been forgotten. To reinvigorate our eating habits during isolation, I suggest initially doing an audit of your fridge and cupboards and passing on any foods that no longer serve your current needs. Inviting in balanced and nutritious eating habits whilst in isolation requires commitment and skill, so get rid of the temptations.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Plan your rough weekly menu (down to the snacks) on a weekend and do your shopping based on this. Shopping at a local farmers market is a welcome outingduring this time; something to get dressed up for! Re-design your cupboards; fill your bench with jars of nuts, seeds and condiments to uplift your meals. Locate your favourite recipe books and have them strategically sitting on the kitchen bench. Finally, listen to your intuition and ask yourself this before reaching for food, preparing dinner or deciding which takeaway to order: how will this serve me and how will it meet my current goals? How do I want to feel in one week’s time, one month’s time?
Stock up on pantry staples
Pantry staples can fully elevate the simplest of food to a true epicurean delight, which is so welcome whilst we don’t have access to our favourite restaurants. For the fridge I recommend stocking up on dips, crudités, sauerkraut, seeds, plant-based milks, broths, miso, and salsa. For the pantry, try gomasio, dukkah, a great granola, seed crackers, extra virgin olive oil, a great white wine vinegar, honey, and array of nuts.
Don’t neglect your mental health
A nice way to uplift ourselves in the present is to think of our future-selves and how we want to feel once life begins to settle down. Did we want to achieve something particular in isolation? What steps can we take to get there? Through this practice, you’re considering how you want to feel in the future, whilst putting in the current groundwork to ensure you get there, so it’s a win-win situation. Of course, being gentle with ourselves is of paramount importance, removing the daily pressures we’re typically exposed to and really getting to know ourselves in a way we haven’t before. Ensure you receive the support you need—booking a tele consult with a counsellor or psychologist is more available than ever before—and ensure you’re socially connected with friends and family.
Stay active when confined to the home
Join an online dance class! This is my number one favourite at the moment, a cardio workout combined with a major endorphin lift, excellent music, and absolutely hilarious. My favourites are by @groovetherapy_101, @ryan.heffington (free live Instagram classes daily), and @bettygrumble (Grumble boogie live Instagram classes at 10am daily). Fight your boredom with curiosity, get moving in a way you haven’t before.
See the silver lining
I truly believe this time will allow many of us to take inventory of the lives we used to live and, hopefully, appreciate the current beauty of slowing down, getting to know ourselves a little better, and enriching our home-care practices. There is no doubt once the world begins to fall back into normality, we will realise we are living in a different world to the one we left behind prior to this pandemic, particularly from an environmental standpoint. I do hope this promotes a positive change in regard to the way we live our lives, who we vote for, what we consume, and which businesses we support.
You can follow Freya Lawler on Instagram or book an online session here. The ELEVATE packages are designed specifically for support during isolation, including two 15-minute check-ins, and two 45-minute consultations as well as a personal wellness plan and ongoing email support. Words and photography supplied by Freya Lawler for Really Well.