Thank goodness no one is going to grade me on how I’m doing during lockdown, because I’d probably get a fail. I think I was doing alright when the weather was hot. I cooked scrumptious meals enjoying a lovely glass of wine with my dinner. I live in Queensland so March and April just felt like a strange but endless summer. Part of me pretended that nothing was wrong.
Someone told me there are three stages to reacting to the corona virus. The first is panic – we are frightened and panic buy everything from tinned food to toilet paper. We are convinced we’re going to die and organise our wills. We lock ourselves in. Then we move onto stage two and discover that life in lockdown isn’t all bad. We spend time with family, enjoy this less-hectic world, walk on the beach, play scrabble. Next we move onto stage three. What is stage three? you ask. Out and out madness! We all lose it in a big way – hey, I could be approaching stage three.
Sometimes I feel that I’m not just suffering from a lack of exercise and simulation, but a spiritual malady. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing faith in the world. I’ve been pretty unimpressed with China’s behaviour (boycotting Australian barley and beef) and the rising death toll around the world is so depressing. It’s too easy to feel defeated, but I worked out that there could be something else impacting my well-being.
A new study has found that spending a lot of time on the couch hurts our mental health. Researchers from Australia’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute have released a study that shows that too much time sitting is very bad for your physical and mental health. The study is published in Translational Psychology.
Before the Coronavirus, Australians were sitting on average for 10 hours a day, but it’s likely this will have risen with the pandemic with most of us stuck in the house.
The researchers examined data from more than 40,550 Swedes, with each person reporting how much of their leisure time is spent seated, how much they interrupt their sitting and whether they have any symptoms of mental illness.
Those who spend 75 per cent or more of their leisure time seated are three times more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety compared to those who are sat for less than a quarter of their non-working time. Those who regularly stood and moved reported half the rate of mental illness symptoms compared to those who just sit.
Baker Institute head of physical activity research Professor David Dunstan said the lesson is that people need to sit less. So why does sitting affect mental health? When you sit, you’re not contracting your muscles, meaning there is lower blood circulation and not enough glucose is being carried to the brain.
Sitting can also cause inflammation in the body, which hurt us physically and mentally. Other possible factors are increased screen time (TV, computers) and less sunshine – both contribute to mood disorders.
Basically binge watching TV during the lock-down is bad for us, so if you’re feeling a bit lethargic and dispirited get up and go for a walk – better still go for a run!
Let’s be honest there is so much of our lock-down lifestyle that is unhealthy. Here are a few I’m guilty of.
A carb fest. As well as binge-watching too much TV, we are also cooking our hearts out making pasta, pizza, cakes, slices, puddings, even breads. We will be a nation, maybe a world, with a weight problem after this.
Too much booze. It’s true, as I said earlier it’s like we’re stuck in the holiday zone!
Family co-dependency. We are now all just co-dependent on the people we’ve been locked up with and will suffer separation anxiety if we’re ever sent back to work.
Home repair insanity. Have you noticed how crowded hardware stores are? All we do is fix up our homes now. Please make it stop.
Vege preoccupation. I know so many people who’ve turned their whole gardens into vegie patches. Come on people, you can not eat that much cabbage.
Being overly chatty to checkout attendants. We so rarely interact with people that we take every chance. Come on, the checkout chic does not want to hear your life story, what you are cooking for dinner or the problems you are having with your kids.
Social media self-obsession. Please don’t document your whole life in lockdown and post it on the internet. It is okay for Andrea Bocelli to post up visions of himself singing opera in a cathedral, but no one wants to see or hear you sing Cold Chiesel in the shower. Keep it to yourself.
Living in your pyjamas. What time are you getting out of your pyjamas? If it is after 12pm, then you have a problem. Maybe you should consider sleeping in your clothes! It’s an option if you are no longer prepared to shower and change. At least if you wear clothes 24/7 you will be properly attired to leave the house – if they ever let us!
Okay people, that was fun, but if you feel that you are struggling and turning into a giant sloth, then fight it. Consider joining a boot camp in a park – many local gyms are now doing this. Buy a bicycle and hit the road. Just don’t let lethargy win. Do not turn into a giant sloth.
A sloth – they are cute, but do you want to become one?
I don’t know if I’ve shared these with you before, but here are my favourite Coronavirus jokes:
* Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.
* I used to spin the toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.
* I need to practice social distancing from . . . the refrigerator.
* PSA: ever few days, try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pyjamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
* Homeschooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job!
* I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks we’d go from Daylight Savings to Twilight Zone.
* This morning I saw a neighbour talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into the house, told my dog . . . we laughed a lot.
* Quarantine Day Five: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business!
* My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
* Day Four of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.
* I’m so excited . . . it’s time to take out the garbage. What to wear, what to wear????
* I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyardia. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroomia.
* Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks women with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.
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ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.