From late-night routines to home workouts to waking up at the same time, how to break your lockdown hangover

LOCKDOWN drinking has become the hangover from hell for many of us — no matter how many times we tell ourselves we’re only going to stick to soft drinks tonight.

And now a new study has confirmed that, showing that the drinking habits we’ve adopted during the pandemic are still having an impact on our health.

Lockdown drinking has become the hangover from hell for many of us

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Lockdown drinking has become the hangover from hell for many of usPhoto credit: Shutterstock
Drinking habits we picked up during the pandemic are still affecting our health

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Drinking habits we picked up during the pandemic are still affecting our healthPhoto credit: Getty

NHS England found people who became heavy drinkers during lockdown remain so despite restrictions being lifted.

This could result in more than 25,000 extra deaths and cost the NHS £5.2billion. But it’s not just the lockdown drinking habits that have stuck.

From snacking out of boredom to horrible sleep patterns, bad habits have plagued us during lockdown – and are still damaging our health and well-being.

We asked the experts to show how to break those unwanted habits once and for all and get back to a healthier lifestyle.

Don’t train

Before lockdown, going to the gym was normal

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Before lockdown, going to the gym was normalPhoto credit: Getty

PRE-LOCKDOWNS, commuting to work, going to the gym and all sorts of outdoor activities were normal.

But being forced to stay indoors for long periods shattered many of those healthy habits.

Results Wellness Lifestyle (resultswellnesslifestyle.com) founder Cecilia Harris, who is also a personal trainer for celebrities like Lucy Mecklenburgh and Wayne and Frankie Bridge, tells SunHealth: “Lockdown was the perfect excuse not to move.

“Being indoors made it difficult to motivate us, but it also took a toll on our confidence.

“People now feel like they can’t train after a long break, but that’s not true.

“I always say start with a walk. Go for a 15-minute walk, and then increase that time each day. First of all, don’t go to the gym as it can be intimidating.

“Hug home workouts. Choose short sessions and then slowly build up this movement as before.”

Become a social recluse

The lockdown robbed us of personal contact and forced us to swap evenings for nights

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The lockdown robbed us of personal contact and forced us to swap evenings for nightsPhoto credit: Getty

LOCKDOWN robbed us of face-to-face contact and forced us to swap nights for nights and zoom quizzes.

This has had a huge impact on our health, as research has linked isolation and loneliness to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety and depression.

But now the restrictions have been lifted, some still prefer to stick with Netflix.

Life coach and nutritional psychology expert Jeff Spiers says, “We’ve become accustomed to feeling safe at home, and our brain tells us that socializing is scary.

“Admit that you do – a lot of people won’t realize that they turn down social events. Next, start socializing in a familiar environment.

“Invite friends over for a drink at home.

“Then plan social events close to home on the weekends and free your weekday nights.

“Every time you take a new step, you realize how much fun it was and how much better the face-to-face contact makes you feel.”

Bad sleep pattern

The lockdown has wreaked havoc on our sleep

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The lockdown has wreaked havoc on our sleepPhoto credit: Getty

SOME experts called it “coronasomnia”, others called it “the sleep pandemic”, but whatever the label, lockdown has wreaked havoc on our sleep.

A University of Southampton study showed that the number of people suffering from insomnia has increased from one in six to one in four, and that poor sleep persists.

Life Coach Jeff says, “To correct this, start with a sleep routine. Decide on a bedtime and make sure you start your bedtime 30 minutes before.

“Turn off the lights and stop screen time — turn off the TV, close the laptop and put down your phone.

“Next, start with a routine that you will follow every night: brush your teeth, wash your face, etc.

“When you go to bed, take a pen and paper and write down a to-do list for the next day, and at the end write down anything that’s on your mind.

“Finally, set an alarm to wake up at the same time every day.”

Bored while snacking

More than 40 per cent of adults in England have gained weight during the pandemic

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More than 40 per cent of adults in England have gained weight during the pandemicPhoto credit: Getty

MORE than 40 per cent of adults in England have gained weight during the pandemic, with the average weight gain being half a stone.

Boredom while snacking or eating out of fear were the main culprits — and for many, the habit has stuck.

Life Coach Jeff says, “We need to replace the old habit with a new one.

“For example: Old – eat a candy bar at 11 a.m. every day. New – make a cup of tea every day at 11 am.

“Old – open the kitchen cupboard after work to look for a snack. New — walk around the block.

“If you catch yourself starting to pick up an old habit, say to yourself, ‘Stop.’

“Shout that out loud if you must.

“Finally, celebrate your success. Every time you do the habit swap, give yourself a pat on the back.

“This will strengthen the neuro-association and anchor the new habit faster.”

Bad posture

Home workers have reported high levels of lower back pain

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Home workers have reported high levels of lower back painPhoto credit: Getty

WHEN the pandemic hit, laptops became commonplace and had a huge impact on our bodies.

Homeworkers report severe back pain, shoulder and neck pain, tension headaches and even buttock numbness.

If you’re still working from home, wellness expert Cecilia says, “Stop sitting on the sofa or a dining room chair — invest in an office chair.”

“Elevate your laptop to eye level with a laptop stand, or buy a separate screen to relieve neck pressure.”

Next, whether you’re at WFH or in the office, introduce exercise.

“Doctors recommend getting up and moving every 30 minutes. This sends oxygen-rich blood to tired muscles.

“Try my favorite stretch: Stand up and stretch your arms out to the sides.

“Rotate one shoulder forward, the other back, and rotate your arms. Now backward the other way.”

Steps to reduce your alcohol consumption

If you're still ramping up units after lockdown, you're not alone

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If you’re still ramping up units after lockdown, you’re not alonePhoto credit: Shutterstock

IF you’re still ramping up units even though lockdown is over, you’re not alone.

GP Sarah Garsed says: “For some patients lockdown reduced the amount of alcohol they drank, but for others it created a major problem that they are struggling with.”

Here’s how to get your drinking under control.

COUNT UNITS: If you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week (equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or ten small glasses of weaker wine) or have been struggling to curb daily drinking since the end of lockdown, it’s time to step up your consumption to rate .

SLOW DOWN: When it comes to alcohol, we talk about addiction and habit, and it’s important for people to feel supported in making changes.

Start small instead of trying to suddenly give up.

Take things gradually, don’t go cold turkey because you’re less likely to quit.

SET BUDGET: Set a budget for alcohol when visiting the supermarket.

Not only does this limit the amount you buy, but it also lets you see how much money you’re wasting on alcohol that could be spent elsewhere.

See the cents stack up!

MAKE A PLAN: Before you start drinking, set a limit on how much you will throw back.

For example, say to yourself, “I’m going to have a tall glass of wine,” instead of just opening a bottle and displaying it on the coffee table and seeing how it goes.

LESS STRENGTH: Turn your wine into a spritzer or your beer into a shandy by adding lemonade to half the glass.

You can also buy lighter spirits that taste exactly the same but have a lower alcohol content. There are now a whole range of non-alcoholic beers.

DRINK ENOUGH: Drink as much water as possible during the day.

This will help you stay hydrated and make you feel more hydrated, making you less likely to want to drink as much alcohol.

If you drink, alternate glasses of water.

TO ASK FOR HELP: Talking to your GP is key to getting help for alcohol problems. NHS doctors can advise you on how to change your habits.

They can also check your health and refer you to a program if they think it would benefit you.

Don’t be silent if you need help!

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