Dr Larisa Corda shares her 5 things to do during lockdown and as a keyworker
As a frontliner on the NHS during this pandemic, I get very little time off to relax but when I do, it’s really important for me to recharge and replenish physically and mentally. So, with that in mind, here are my top 5 go to remedies:
1. I love spending time in nature. I’m fortunate to have a garden and live in a place surrounded by lots of natural beauty. It means that even during lockdown, I don’t have to go far to get the benefits of the peace and calm you get when you spend time walking on your own, going for a run and filling yourself with gratitude for the wonder of the natural world whose beauty seems even more profound in lockdown. Sometimes all you need to do is feel the sun on your face, look up and appreciate a clear blue sky and notice the feel of grass under your feet. Spending time in nature has scientifically been shown to have both a physical and mental benefit to our health and is something that has become so necessary for me, that it’s worth the longer drive to work!
2. Whether I do it in the morning, afternoon or evening, exercise is such an essential part of our wellbeing. It helps boost the immune system, improves blood flow and oxygenation to all of our organs and stimulates mood by helping to release serotonin. My favourite thing to do is yoga, because it helps focus my mind, allows me to practice mindfulness and also helps me to stay physically fit and flexible. I love doing hot yoga but in lockdown when it’s not possible to go to a studio, I try to practice yoga in the garden where I get the benefit of exercise along with spending time in nature. Both of these things just help to reset me and I’ve discovered over time that yoga is something that suits me as a personality and my body type, whereas for other people it may be something else. It’s really important to adapt exercise to suit you.
3. Meditation is something I learned to do several years ago at a silent retreat! It was pretty intense but it provided me with an incredible insight into its benefits and the skills to learn to tune out the stress of everyday life. I really believe that so much of our health is dictated by the mind, and if we neglect this important aspect of ourselves, we can never be truly healthy. So, investing in the time to meditate, whether it be for 5 or 10 or 20 minutes each day, and whether you do it when you wake up or before you go to bed, is really important because it helps you to deal with stress, which we all experience. If we don’t have a way of dealing with stress, the excess cortisol and adrenaline can cause all sorts of damage to our bodies, including hormone imbalance, so having an effective strategy, such as meditation, can be a very powerful way of dealing with this.
4. I have kept a journal ever since I was a kid. Part of this is to do with the fact I love to write and find it very cathartic, but as I’ve got older, I’ve also noticed that it helps me to process so much of what happens that I sometimes don’t even have time to register, given how fast paced and busy my life can be. Journaling is a really important part of allowing me to express emotion and cultivate gratitude and appreciation for the things that happen in my life. It’s such a powerful way of changing your perspective and in the years to come, it’s nice to know that this will be something I can read back and remind myself of what it was like to live through all those experiences.
5. Having a litle ritual before bedtime is such an important part of setting yourself up to have a good restful sleep. The amount of time I can spend sleeping is often limited, hence why I need the sleep I get to be as restorative as possible. Studies have shown that good sleep restores immunity and helps our minds and bodies to detox. It’s something we can’t compromise on and to help calm me down before going to bed, I love to run a bath and use essential oils, as well as a face mask and a natural scented candle. This gets me into the mood to go to bed when I then do a little bit of reading or journaling before nodding off. It also means I look forward to the close of the day and honour this time for myself.