How did you cope?
Have you picked up any bad habits from the pandemic? If the stress of COVID and living through the pandemic has disrupted your healthy routines, you’re not alone!
Several recent surveys about the impact of COVID have reported interesting facts. For example, around 70% of respondents in one survey reported gaining more weight during quarantine. Another survey conducted found that 65% of those surveyed took time off from exercising during the lockdown. Other research has shown an approximate 25% increase in alcohol consumption since the pandemic began.
Many people fell into the trap of an unhealthy lifestyle during the COVID lockdown. Such unhealthy habits include such as going to bed too late, increased alcohol intake, more takeaway meals, less activity and other such challenges.
Now is a good time to take on new habits!
Struggling with Bad Habits from the Pandemic?
It has been over a year and a half since life changed dramatically for many people. Many clients have fallen into some unhelpful habits over this challenging time. These bad habits during the pandemic may have negatively impacted on health & well-being.
‘Bad’ habits can gradually creep into one’s life and before you know it, you are stuck in a bit of a rut. For instance, several clients have found that take-outs and alcohol consumption have increased over this last year and a half. As an example, Roger, one of my clients, found that he was drinking approximately two glasses of wine each night. This was increasing his calorie consumption by nearly 2000 extra calories per week and explained his steady weight gain.
Roger decided that he didn’t want to rely on alcohol every night to relax. He wanted to get back to only having alcohol on the weekends as he previously did before COVID. As part of his efforts towards developing healthier habits, we decided he would cut back to one glass a night for two weeks. He would then work on cutting it out entirely on weeknights from there.
For many clients, like Roger, alcohol was acting as a stress reliever. So, we agreed that it was very important for him to have other healthy outlets, finding ways to self-soothe without relying on alcohol. It was vital to put other deliberate coping mechanisms in its place. Roger decided that when he arrived home, he would go for a 15-minute walk before doing anything else. He also found that listening to music was also helpful on his daily walks.
Time to re-evaluate
Another client, Michelle, found that she and her partner were now ordering take-outs much more often, sometimes up to twice a week. Like Roger, Michelle realised that fast foods were part of her ‘relaxation’. Unfortunately, they left her feeling bad about herself. The extra food added to an ongoing feeling of being an unhealthy weight.
Other clients have found that working from home might have been initially enjoyable. But this has meant that they have got into an unhealthy habit of being much less active.
Due to COVID and the lockdown, others have been going to bed much later than before. This habit has often been accompanied by snacking late at night. For many, this has led to waking up later, just before starting work, without having time for eating a proper nutritious breakfast.
Whatever the unhealthy habit that may have developed since COVID began, it may be time to re-evaluate! The habits that may not be serving you well anymore. Probably, the opposite!
It doesn't matter if it is going to bed too late, too much alcohol, lack of activity & movement or an increase in fast foods. Perhaps it's time to re-focus on what's most important in your life?
It’s been over a year and a half since COVID began. So now is a good time to make sure your habits are working for you and not against you. This is especially important for your health, well-being and for being a well-balanced weight.
Good News – you can undo Bad Habits!
Roger, mentioned before, acknowledged that his habit of too much alcohol wasn’t working for him anymore. Others have agreed to reinstate an earlier regular bedtime. Going to bed on time would ensure getting enough sleep. With the added benefit of less late-night snacking. Getting up earlier in the morning would allow time to exercise in the morning, allowing a better way to begin the day.
This is good news! With understanding, patience and practice, you can undo any of the unhealthy habits you developed during the pandemic. And you now have the understanding and power to shift your focus to establishing healthier ones.
Here are some top tips for developing new habits:
* Start small rather than going for something too big
* Make it easy
* Remind yourself of all the many benefits of the new habit
* Know that forming habits take about 60 days, so give yourself time and don't give up!
* Know that habits go through 3 phases:
- Really hard!
- Up & Down
* Go easy on yourself! Notice any efforts and positives rather than what you have not managed
Some suggestions of areas to work on:
- Rein in stress eating and find other helpful self-soothing outlets
- Don't work extra hours, getting back to normal working hours such as 9 to 5.
- Moderate how much alcohol you're drinking, going back to the pre-COVID intake
- Stop skipping workouts and get back to regular exercise
Forming Healthy Habits is now part of my new improved 'Health Matters' online course: Learn HOW to be a healthy person & HOW to lose weight!
If you’ve let some bad COVID habits creep in, now is the time to re-evaluate them!
Be in touch to find out more.