20200510 103923Looking through social media, it is apparent that we’re all finding Lockdown 2.0 decidedly tougher than first time round. A bit like The Hangover or Grease, the sequel just isn’t bringing the same good-time vibes as first time round.  

Gone are afternoons baking sourdough and doing yoga on the North Inch, and in its place is weekends sleeping until noon and a walk to the snack box.  In fact the only end-of-tunnel light I see regularly is the one shining from the fridge at 11pm most nights.

Experts have speculated on the various reasons as to why this may be the case, with the common themes ranging from increased uncertainty – that old blitz spirit has been used up and spat out – to the cumulative impact of the last 10 months on our lack of human connection.  Throw in the short days, cold weather and frosty parklands and it's easy to see why it feels so different.

I’m aware this isn’t the usual ‘YAY, Let’s Go People’ intro you’re used to from a LAL blog – bear with us the good bits will come – but I think it’s really important to recognise that this is tough on everyone. 

For me, it’s definitely about human connection. I am fortunate to live in a house as a family of four – but still, I miss my Mum.  I miss my friends.  I miss my clients and colleagues.  My niece has just been accepted into four different universities and I’ve not thrown a Sunday afternoon party complete with food, booze, mocktails and dancing to celebrate.  First world problems? Maybe. And certainly, I am of the opinion we’re all doing this for the greater good. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  

So, what can we do about it? 

The question I’ve been asking myself this week is why I’ve not adopted a proper at-home fitness routine yet? I know through years of writing for LAL, and from first-hand experience, that exercise works in the battle against stress, lethargy, and that general feeling of blah.  First time round I did the Lockdown Diaries Blog and really enjoyed tuning in each week to try a new workout from the LAL At Home Hub.  They’ve not vanished – they’re still there. 

I think though, that I was enjoying being back to my Body Pump class at Bell’s, doing a gym circuit at Rodney and seeing the other 3-dimensional people around me, that all of this just feels a little ‘second best’.  And no-one truthfully enjoys second best. 

However, neither do I enjoy this general air of apathy and sluggishness and so over the past 10 days I’ve been out walking in the mornings, and this week I clicked onto the ‘Working From Home’ stretches that I’d used first time round.  Guess what? It has helped. 

I decided not to do my usual nonsense of ‘I’ll walk every day’ and targeted myself for 4 mornings a week instead – up and out before the girls are even awake is how I’ve chosen to do it.  I’ve also set an alarm on my phone to buzz me at 11am and 3.30pm as a reminder to get up from my desk and stretch. Simple. What’s surprised me most is these small steps have actually put me the mood for a proper workout and this morning I got up and tuned into the Kitchen Workout that Marcin devised in lockdown 1. I’ve also been sleeping better, and generally feeling more energised. The experts may be right people!

If you’ve been feeling like your get up and go has got up and gone then here are some top tips for taking those first baby steps back into activity. I’d also recommend reading the Beat The Winter Lockdown Blues article that the Wellbeing Team helped me with a couple of weeks ago.  There are some great tips there and it’s a good place to start in terms of getting you into the right mindset. 

Get Your Motivation Motoring

1. Walking or Running. This is the easiest way to get yourself moving and will also ensure you’re getting a daily dose of fresh air.  Take a walk around your neighbourhood; there are loads of great ideas for Perthshire walks over on the PKCT website. If you want to set things up, why not try our Couch to 5K or 5K and Beyond programmes? Guaranteed to make a runner out of you by summer!

2. Stretching. Sitting at a desk all day is never good for you. Sitting at a dining room table or makeshift workstation – a number of you with kids and partners sharing – is a recipe for stiffness, back ache and stress. Making sure you get up and stretch is a quick fix that will make a LOT of difference. 

3. Les Mills Alternatives. We know LOTS of you love a Les Mills class (me included!) which is why our team created these fab at home 'Les Mills Alternatives' routines to keep you going. They’re super easy to follow and you can adapt them to suit your fitness levels. If it's been a while since you were at class you may also want to check out the Learn To videos to help you warm up and cool down properly. 

4. Instructor Led Routines. If you’re missing the motivation that comes from your usual LAL instructors, then head over to the YouTube channel and tune in to one of our fantastic, pre-recorded sessions. From Arlene talkig you through a pilates session to a full body workout with Blair in his Christmas Jumper,  it's joyful stuff!

5. Find Your Level. If you start too high you’ll quickly become bored and de-motivated. Likewise, if you’re actually quite fit and play around with gentle stretches too long you’ll miss the challenge and start to disengage.  This is more true than ever when you're not with other people or a live instructor to push you on / slow you down. The LAL instructors have pre-recorded different intensity workouts for all fitness levels that include core, cardio and plenty of tips and tricks for using items around the house to build strength and intensity. 

Top Tips To Stick At It

  • 20200517 105217Set a schedule and stick to it.  When you work from home it’s all too easy for the two to blend into one. Try to set strict rules around work and free time if you can.
  • Take regular breaks from screens. More time at home in winter has led to more screen time for the majority of us. Everything we do is on a screen - work, meetings, chatting to family and friends, binge watching Netflix. Increased screen time has been linked to anxiety and poor sleep so set your phone alarm (oh the irony!) and take a stretch / walk / 20 minute circuits break (print out that Les Mills alternative instead of watching a video for this one!).  

  • Take a day off. We really don’t want to waste our annual leave sitting at home do we? But the truth is you do need the rest. Reset your thinking on this one and book some time to yourself. Just having a few days away from work commitments will help with that feeling of overwhelm.     
  • Find one or two workouts you enjoy. Both physically and mentally, you know that fitting in workouts can be a great way to improve both body and mind.  All you need to do is find your favourite workout tunes, and start!