10 tips for staying active, and sustainable, during social distancing

14 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to changes in everyday life for people all over the world, including here in Australia.

As of this writing, the Prime Minister has announced that we may have to keep social distancing measures in place for the next six months in order to protect vulnerable populations and stop the virus from spreading at a drastic rate.

All of this time indoors can certainly take its toll.

Spending time away from loved ones, working remotely and remaining at home for long periods of time can be a lonely and difficult experience for many people. But there are things we can do to help keep up our spirits while exercising our bodies and flexing our mental muscles, and there are ways to do it sustainably.

Here are our top tips for staying active and sustainable while social distancing: 

1. Prioritise mental health

Spending prolonged periods of time indoors and alone can be difficult for anybody to handle. For people with underlying mental health conditions like anxiety and depression, the prospect of staying home alone can feel even more intimidating.

If you find yourself in this situation, and you’re already prescribed medication to help manage your symptoms, be sure to continue doing so. Have extra medication on hand in case you encounter difficulty picking up more at any point.

Connecting with friends and loved ones can help most people manage some melancholy moods. Use video chat to joke around, and commiserate, with the important people in your life.

If you’re alone, and struggling, reach out. If you’re not sure where to turn right now, take a look at these resources.

2.    Move your body

One way to keep your attitude elevated is to continue getting regular exercise, and there are several ways to do it without heading to the gym.

Outdoor cardio workouts

At present, outdoor exercise is still a great option for getting outside, taking in some fresh air and staying active.

Whether you want to go for a run, take a bike ride or head out for a brisk walk, exercising in the great outdoors is a wonderful way to promote circulatory health while spending some much needed time outside your home.

The important point here is to avoid crowded places and keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people. Be sure to monitor government sources in case guidelines change, prohibiting outdoor exercise or closing certain parks.

Strength and endurance workouts inside

Even indoors, there’s a lot you can do to stay healthy. You don’t even need a home gym. Put on some clothes that allow you to move freely and do some crunches, lunges or push-ups. Online tutorials and recorded routines can also provide ideas for more intensive equipment-free exercises.

Exercising indoors is a great way to stay fit while practising social distancing.

Flexibility training and yoga inside

Make sure to stretch regularly, especially if you’ve made the transition to working from home. Too much time sitting in one spot isn’t ideal for your body. Take simple breaks to stretch and walk around every once in a while. You can also pull out your yoga mat for an extended stretch session.

3.    Support sustainable causes

If you find yourself with some extra time on your hands, consider researching out to environmentally friendly causes. You may not be able to go out and volunteer in person right now, but some sustainable organisations may be looking for pro bono work that can be done remotely. See if any of their open opportunities match your skill set.

If you can afford it, donating is always an opportunity, too. You can also share links for donating to eco-conscious groups on social media to help push the message forwards.

4.    Remote work: Stay sustainable at home

If you’ve joined the growing ranks of telecommuters during this time, make sure your home office is set up for sustainability.

For starters, continue to recycle - and compost, if you do so - just as you normally would. Reuse as many of your office supplies as you can, and recycle what you can’t. Also, make sure to fully power down your electronics when they’re not in use, and unplug them, too.

5.    Exercise your mind: Use online resources

Don’t neglect your need for mental stimulation. Online resources can be a great opportunity to learn something new. Many e-learning providers and cultural institutions are now sharing resources online for free, due to school closures. See if your favourite museum, playhouse or concert hall is taking part.

It could also be a good time to learn more about your super. If you’re keen to do some long-term planning for retirement, try out our savings calculator to find out if you’re on track or if you need to make some adjustments.

6.    Exercise your mind: Take out a tabletop game

Are you practicing social distancing at home with family members, roommates or a partner? Do you have some old board games collecting dust in the closet?

Now’s the time to become a formidable opponent at chess. Unlike video games, board games typically require zero electricity. They can be an intellectually invigorating way to spend an evening. Plus, unlike binge-watching old episodes of your favourite TV show, you have no idea how the next game will play out!

Tabletop games can provide hours of fun and an opportunity to practice critical thinking during social distancing, with no electricity required. 

7.    Exercise your mind: Live a literary life

Here’s another option for hours of electricity-free indoor entertainment: Revisit your home library. Now’s the perfect time to pick up a book you’ve meant to read for years, or to revisit a beloved classic. Re-reading an old favourite will bring back memories, and you’ll probably discover something new.

Starting a journal can be a great way to reflect on what you’ve read and also to process how you’re feeling from one day to the next during this complicated time. Who knows? You might discover you’ve got a natural talent for writing!

8.    Exercise your mind: Try your hand at a new hobby

Maybe this isn’t the time to take up a resource-intensive hobby. But, it’s a great time to work with what you have available for now.

Maybe you’re a budding birder or you’ve got a palette and acrylic paints that you’re ready to put to use. Perhaps you’ve got a clear patch of ground in your backyard and you’re ready to become a gardener. Find what works for you!

9.    Sustainable self-care: Prepare wholesome meals

Upping your meal preparation game, perhaps by trying out new recipes that freeze well, is a great way to minimise your shopping trips and exposure to others while still eating fresh, homemade food. For added sustainability, try out some plant-based meals, use root-to-stem cooking principles and compost whatever you can’t cook with.

10. Sustainable self-care: Clean up at home

While you might not be able to join your neighbours to clean up a public park, you can use your added time indoors as an opportunity to tackle outstanding home cleaning projects or sustainable household improvements.

These are, of course, challenging times, but together, we’ll get through it. In the meantime, we all need to do our bit by practising responsible social distancing and making the most of our time at home.

To stay informed about COVID-19 and related issues, check the official government website.

If you’re an LGS member, read our COVID-19 pandemic updates to be kept informed on market updates and how LGS is supporting members through this time.

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The information on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional financial, taxation and or legal advice tailored to your personal circumstances prior to making any financial decision.