Andi Lew is a woman of many talents, she's a presenter, health and wellness coach and the best selling author of seven books to name a few of her accomplishments. Here, she reveals how to ensure your working from home lifestyle doesn't wreck your body...
Humans are social creatures. We rely on each other for joy, connection, comfort and love, so it’s no surprise a global pandemic has thrown this out of balance.
Being isolated means more than just adjusting to working from home or not seeing loved ones, it means we have to be for ourselves and do all the things we normally rely on from other people to keep us mentally well.
While we’re social creatures, we’re also creatures of habit, which is why we thrive on routine - something else we’ve had to adjust to not having. Whether it’s the lunchtime gym session or Saturday brunch tradition, routine keeps us focused, excited and healthy.
Whether you’re tentatively stepping back out again, or still in lockdown, implementing a wellness routine you can practice from home will help tackle the challenges of 2020.
Read on for my tips on how to improve your wellbeing without leaving your home.
Movement runs the brain. If we don’t move, we fail to thrive. Simple movements can have a positive psychological impact on our overall wellness and the more you stay sedentary, the more it impacts on your overall health.
When we’re sedentary, we’re usually hunched forward in a scrunched up posture - especially if working from ill equipped home offices.
In this position, there’s less blood in the brain and it’s mainly in our extremities. We find ourselves in this position when we are stressed too, so over time, the body starts to release too much adrenaline and excess cortisol builds up.
This in itself will compromise your immune system, so by moving more and positively using our stress hormones, will help boost it.
Unfortunately, when we design our living spaces, it’s rarely with space for exercise or stretching in mind. But there’s no need to shift everything into the garden, just try these simple changes:
Choose a room and push as much furniture as you can to one side to make space for a mat, any fitness equipment and a candle or something similar that motivates you to feel like this is your wellness space.
Use your time in the shower to stretch. It’s the best place to do a couple of gentle movements and spine or hamstring lengthening exercises whilst your body is warm. To do this, flatten the chest and reach forward holding the wall or shelf in front of you for a hamstring stretch. Gently roll the neck and tilt the hide side to side.
Use your bed to train abs or stretch before you get up. Before you reach for the device, and roll out of bed, lie on your back, tuck the knees into the chest, take three deep breaths and then after flattening the spine, put your arms to the sides out wide and roll your knees from side to side. Keep your feet close to your buttocks and feel the lower back stretch. Then roll to the side and get up to a kneel position. Open your knees and keep feet together. Lean forward with a flat back - chest to the bed and into this cat stretch.
This is more about transforming your mind using your movement than it is about transforming your body. Something as simple as daily stretching can make a huge difference to your day-to-day mood and wellbeing.
Raise your heart rate
You don’t need a vast space with gym equipment to raise your heart rate and to incorporate a fitness routine into your life. Try these easy training ideas to get your heart pumping:
Get a skipping rope. Skipping on the spot is great cardio and so much fun when you channel the energy of your favourite boxer, not to mention it barely requires any space.
Use your furniture to do tricep dips, planks, push-ups and stretches. However, make sure to use a stable coffee table or lounge to do tricep dips! Keep your elbow facing back and not to the side. Keep your buttocks close to the furniture and try between 10-20 dips, break then do it again x 3.
Fitplan is a great app for home workouts. You’ll be able to tap into the fitness routines of mentors or athletes you love. Even J-Lo and A-Rod have a training routine you can follow.
Use your balcony, or outdoor space if you have one, for fresh air or commit to training outside. Simply being outside in nature will immediately provide feelings of wellness.
Find your motivation
I coach my clients holistically. I like to help them figure out what their purpose is, what drives them. It’s important to identify a ‘why’ to help clients maintain their wellness routine and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Identifying what drives you isn’t always as easy as it sounds, so try the following to help you find that groove:
Work out things you like to do, visualise the best version of your life, map it out, determine an end goal then break this down into smaller, achievable goals you can easily tackle.
Try to ensure your goal is beyond changing how you look, happiness and good health comes from how you feel on the inside, not your appearance.
And now, you’re going to need support. It might not be a person: it could also be a ritual, a candle, a song or anything that makes you remember why you’re committed to your wellness journey.
Now your wellness goal is identified and you’ve found your mojo, it’s time to put this into action and keep motivated.
Remind yourself that staying well saves you money on healthcare later, you’ll also be more productive in work with a higher sense of wellbeing.
Inspire others in your circle to join you and create an accountability group.
Set yourself reminders - technology can help with this. I use Alexa on my Echo speaker to set reminders throughout the day to keep my routine on course.
I ask Alexa to tell me that an hour is up and I’ve been sitting at the laptop too long, reminding me to get up a move or take a screen break. I also get her to remind me to drink water regularly.
Be a role model. Whether it’s for your partner, children or community, it’s a great reminder that these people are looking up to you.
The key to your wellness journey, is to see it as just that, a journey. We’ll experience bumps along the road and not always be the best version of ourselves.
It’s tough to maintain our general wellbeing at the moment. A pandemic teamed with winter will challenge the motivation of even the most dedicated.
But that doesn’t matter, wellness is about making conscious decisions in your life to be healthier and to move towards the version of yourself you want to be.
Written by Andi Lew