Is lockdown feeling a lot harder for you second time around? You’re not alone. Managing the kids, back-to-back Zoom meetings, housework, cooking and perhaps financial stress… the lockdown fatigue has definitely set in for a lot of us. Here’s some top tips to help you through lockdown.
It’s no secret that our normal non-lock down routines look very different to our current ones. Everyone will be feeling the effects of lockdown differently, whether you’re missing your morning commute, your fitness routine, the Saturday morning sport, or Sunday brunches, there’s one thing all these activities have in common… they involve us getting up and out of bed in the morning, and enjoying some of that early morning sunlight. Even if we never realised it at the time!
With (mostly) everyone now working from home, these routines have gone out the window and too many of us are not getting outside to get sunlight early in the day. Here’s some tips to help you through lockdown.
Catching the early morning sunlight
If you’ve been spending most of your time inside, then make it your goal to get at least 20 minutes of sunlight on your face this week. That’s right, directly onto your face. Sit outside in the sun with your eyes closed and feel that warmth on your eyelids. You could even take a cuppa out with you and take a moment for yourself.
Sunlight is so important for our mood and general wellbeing. Here’s some of the ways it helps our body:
- It’s needed to help our body produce Vitamin D: this helps you maintain and build healthy bones
- Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body
- Sunlight can also help regulate sleep
But time of day is important for this and early morning sunlight is the key when it comes to promoting sleep. The first hour in the morning can make or break how you sleep at the end of the day. How? Sunlight hitting the back of the eye causes a message to be sent to the supra-chiasmatic nucleus to regulate the body’s production of melatonin, which regulates our sleep patterns. Light suppresses melatonin (which we don’t want in the morning when we’re beginning our day), while increasing our cortisol (which we want to be nice and high in the morning).
Sunlight treatment is widely used overseas to help with symptoms of depression and even SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) by getting patients to sit in front of a window each day to get 20 minutes of early morning light. Getting up to do this each day will help to regulate your routine as well. That sunlight hitting your face will help bring a little bit of cheer into your morning, and lift your spirits for the day. It is so hard to get into a routine for many at the moment. Instead of beating ourselves up over things like routines, just try this one little step and get up and get that early morning sunlight!
Doing it early in the morning also means the light is weaker and you’re not putting yourself at risk of sun damage. Here are 5 tips to help you through lockdown.
Tips to help you catch that morning sunlight
Now we know just how beneficial that morning sunlight is, here are some tips to help you catch it while in lockdown:
1. Make it your time
Not an early riser? Time to change that! Think of the benefits. Not only do you get the chance to soak up that gorgeous morning sunlight, but you get to enjoy the peace and quiet ahead of a busy day with the kids. Before long, you’ll actually start looking forward to hearing that alarm go off. Pop your slippers and dressing gown in a handy spot and set your alarm for 6am. Jump out of bed, wrap up warm, and make yourself a cuppa. Head outside and sit with the sun hitting your face for 20 minutes. A quiet moment just for you. You’ll find yourself in a much better place to start the day when the kids arise.
2. Get the family involved
If you are no longer getting kids to school, then try and set a new morning routine to see you through lockdown. Get everyone out of bed just 15 minutes earlier and do a walk around the block. Make sure you are walking in as much sunlight as you can. This will reset the kids clocks too and help with bedtime routines. That’s right, bedtime routines will actually become even easier thanks to a little morning sunlight. Plus, you’ll all come back feeling refreshed, in a good mood and ready to start the day.
3. Get moving
Early morning sunlight and exercise is a winning combination. Don’t have time to exercise? That’s okay, it doesn’t have to be long. Get yourself a Tabata timer on your phone. Pick an exercise and aim for eight rounds at 30 seconds each. It will take you less than five minutes, and if done well (ie, you put the effort in), it’s the equivalent to 20 minutes of running. Get your exercise and stretching done in the sunlight and you are set for a successful day.
4. Chase the sunlight indoors
Can’t get outside? Find a space in the home where sun comes in and try to position yourself in it for 20 minutes. The earlier in the day the better. Even better, pull up your favourite chair where the sunlight hits and start your day huddled up on the couch with a cuppa in one hand and a good book in the other.
5. Exercise with a friend online!
If you are really struggling to stay motivated, then make plans to catch the sunlight with a friend. Even if you just make a phone date each day to sit in the sun while you chat. Holding each other accountable really does make a difference. Philotimo is also running a fitness challenge for women, which will get you outdoors in the sun each day. The best part, it’s very low-tech: all you need is a skipping rope and a phone.
Mothers are also welcome to join their FREE Saturday morning fitness program 8am – 9am on Zoom. It’s a bit of a giggle, you’ll get quite fit AND you’ll learn some new self defence skills. You’ve nothing to lose by giving it a try. Best of all, your girls can do it with you. Don’t lose heart or hope. Stay motivated and we really will get through this together.
Rose runs Philotimo Freestyle Jujitsu where they encourage women everywhere to learn self defence, and with enrolled children, all of their mothers train free. Too often we put ourselves last; Rose provides a space where mothers can train while their kids are also with them.