It can be difficult to feel healthy in our bodies and minds during lockdown. Although we can be outside for an unlimited amount of time, we might not feel motivated to do an intense workout. Equally, we might feel more tempted by takeaways and junk food. As the UK government announced at the start of June that UK citizens can go on holiday providing they self-isolate for two-weeks after, the thought of being able to wear designer swimwear in the near future might be possible.
However, these are difficult times, and beating ourselves up certainly isn’t productive. So, instead, let’s consider some small changes we could make to our daily routines that will have a transformative effect on our mental and physical health.
A practice inspired by regions in the world that have the highest life expectancy and who are healthy in the body and mind, is known as blue zoning. The concept of ‘blue zoning’ is all about helping you realise your potential and bettering your health, without making drastic changes to your life.
With this said, lets look at how emulating this healthy lifestyle that blue zone regions have into our lives during lockdown can help us.
Blue zoning: What is it?
Communities known as ‘blue zone’ ones have been thriving around the world for years. These are communities of people who live long and healthy lives — in fact, these people have the oldest life expectancy in the world! From Icaria in Greece to Okinawa in Japan, people are thriving into their 100s, and each detail of their lives contributes to this impressive feat.
Moderate physical exercise has been built into the day to day lives of people who live in blue zone regions. Gentle exercise and healthy habits such as climbing stairs more often are proving to be more beneficial than hitting the gym and living life to the extreme. Blue zone populations show low rates of chronic disease and, since following in their footsteps, regions which have emulated this blue zone lifestyle have seen drops in obesity, smoking, and BMI.
Despite each blue zone having unique features about them, they all have a particular theme to follow. As well as a focus on light exercise (such as brisk walking) and habitual activities, the regions mainly stick to a plant-based diet and are more likely to be spiritual.
How to blue zone during self isolation
Being able to blue zone your home during lockdown isn’t as difficult as you might think. You’ll be amazed at how simple changes in your routine will benefit your health and your mood. Walking, cooking, cleaning, and other habitual activities all contribute to a ‘blue zone’ way of life. Optimising your home for these activities is the first step towards beginning your ‘blue zone’ lifestyle.
Here, we discuss ten easy ways to blue zone whilst at home.
Increase your steps through organisations
Simple things such as placing the remote control at the opposite end of the room could help increase your steps. Get creative! Whatever gets you up on your feet and moving about. Make sure you need to head up and down your stairs frequently throughout the day.
A Fitbit or other fitness tracker can be used to monitor your progress
There is no better way to see the extent of how beneficial these small household adjustments are. Monitor your steps every day and you’ll be surprised by how much you walk while you’re trying to stay on your feet slightly more than usual.
Prevent your eyes from straining by reducing the lighting
If you’re working from home, it’s better to keep the room bright, rather than go for a mood lighting theme. This way, you’ll reduce eye strain when trying to focus.
Make your home de-convenient
Nowadays, relying on household appliances to do almost everything around the house is common. But if we want to make the most out of our new blue zoning lifestyle, we need to go back to completing tasks manually. From lawnmowers to egg whisks, go back to basics.
Changing laundry days
Without realising it, bending down to pick up laundry can damage your back more than what you think. It’ll do your posture wonders to elevate your laundry basket slightly higher up. When it comes to laundry day, don’t strain your back carrying a heavy load — go back and forth with smaller amounts to get your steps in.
Reorganising your kitchen cravings
Out of convenience, we are most likely to gravitate towards the closest snack to us. So, if you want to cut out the unhealthy foods, simply make them less accessible and keep a full fruit bowl in a prominent place instead.
Have enough sleep
You’ll be pleased to know that regular day time naps and a healthy amount of sleep is commonly encouraged in blue zone regions. Use your fitness tracker to monitor your sleeping pattern to make sure that you’re getting enough rest.
Ensuring the optimal temperature is achieved when sleeping
Monitoring your heating system and getting it between 15 to 19 degrees celsius has been proven to be the best temperature to sleep at. It is also a good idea to block out all sources of light so that you get the best sleep possible.
Switching to a blue zone diet
Seeing the difference a plant-based diets makes is definitely worthwhile. Blue zone diets are also heavily dependant on whole grains, nuts, and legumes, so try to introduce as many of these as possible.
Having time to relax is important
Blue Zone regions often focus on preventing stress and having a more laid-back approach to life. Take time to de-stress and don’t work yourself too hard. After all, you deserve a break during lockdown.
Although these minuscule changes may not sound like anything much, blue zoning your life is all about making small, manageable changes that can have substantial benefits on your body and mind. Why not give at least some of these ideas a go? Before we can try out the true blue zone experience in Icaria, or Sardinia in Italy, until then, give your lockdown habitat a blue zone makeover!