RECENT events and the continuing challenges we are collectively facing have had a huge impact on our mental and physical health. It’s important to remember that we can still take some simple steps to regain control and improve our well-being and mood
Taking a walk in the countryside or a local park is an instant mood booster and the perfect tonic for long days spent indoors. If you’re lucky enough to have a green space on your doorstep then spend time exploring new footpaths and taking in your natural surroundings. One of our key placemaking principles is to incorporate open spaces and ‘nature for people’ within our developments. According to mental health charity Mind, spending time in nature is proven to relax you, reduce stress and help with problems such as anxiety and depression.
Gardening and even growing your own food outdoors can also be therapeutic. Many of our developments now include allotments. Alternatively transform a small part of your garden with a raised bed to make planting easy and accessible.
Food for thought
Now may not be the time to start a strict diet, but eating well and providing your body with good nourishment can improve your mood and energy levels – much needed if you’re trying to juggle work commitments with looking after family members or home schooling.
Fitness and lifestyle coach Kathy Mordue says: “It’s easy to get confused when it comes to health and nutrition as there’s so much information flying around especially at the start of the New Year. However, there are a few simple ways you can make changes for the better such as making sure you drink enough water, eat enough protein and take care of your gut health by eating probiotic foods or supplements. Diets are notoriously ineffective and rarely work in the long term. Instead, try adopting a healthier lifestyle and focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.”
Kathy says: “It sounds obvious but exercise really is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health - especially in these testing times. Go for a walk, jog, run or bike ride - anything to get your heart rate up and those endorphins buzzing.”
As part of our purpose to provide a better way to live, all of our Redrow developments have handy access to footpaths and cycle routes making them easy to get around and providing plenty of opportunities to exercise outdoors.
For those who need routine, regular online classes can be a great substitute for the gym and Joe Wicks has proven they can be done with the whole family. We’ve previously looked at other ways new technology like Pelaton’s offering can help in our home tech article, but if you’re not ready to invest at that level then keep it simple with a good mix of cardio and weight based activity.
Kathy adds: “Lifting weights is also hugely beneficial to strengthen your muscles and improve your body composition. And the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while doing nothing! Start off with exercises that use your own body weight to create resistance against gravity like press-ups, squats and sit-ups. Then move on to add free weights as you become stronger.”
While socialising opportunities have been severely limited over the last year, virtual meet ups with neighbours, friends and family have become the new norm. We may have started off with the humble quiz night but we’re now seeing a new wave of creative ways to interact online.
Kerry Davies, a cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT) at Talk 2 Change, advises clients to stay connected to their loved ones virtually and applies this to her own life too. She says: “While repeated lockdowns and social distancing have left many of us feeling isolated, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with neighbours, friends and family. I’ve set up an online Zoom exercise class with my friends which brings us together and keeps us active. It’s a great way to stay connected and helps us to remember we are not alone. Virtual book clubs, knit and natter sessions or even taking an online class over a video call can all be really beneficial. So find something you enjoy and get your friends and family on board.”
To ensure your meet ups are free from interruptions, high-speed broadband is a must. All our latest Redrow homes benefit from ultrafast broadband via Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP).
Practise self-care and remember to switch off
Experts agree that self-care is hugely important at the moment and this can be practised in a number of small ways that add up to improved well-being.
“If you’re working from home, try to create a separate work space that you can leave at the end of the day and switch off,” says Kerry.
With a new Redrow home, flexible layouts mean you can create the perfect area for home working, whether you opt for a dedicated study or define an area in a mixed-use space. We’re also now offering home office furniture as optional extras in selected designs, including built in desks and storage, via the dedicated members’ area of our website My Redrow.
Kerry adds: “Plan your day with some structure, which can help us to feel safe, and try setting some small daily goals within your routine. We’re missing out now on some of our naturally produced anti-depressants - such as joy, pleasure and a sense of achievement – that come with our usual daily activities. By creating these opportunities in our lives at home, which can continue even during lockdown, can really help.
“Try limiting your consumption of news and social media and instead read a good book or enjoy an interesting podcast. Writing down worries can also help. Then refocus your attention on something else such as a sensory activity or write down three positive things you are grateful for, no matter how small. This helps to bring our focus back to things which are within our control.”
For more on how Redrow is creating a better way to live see www.redrow.co.uk/a-better-way-to-live