As the world shuts its doors, our nation’s windows are firmly ajar. In the UK we have endured typically horrible weather for what feels like eternity. Many of us will have bemoaned the timing of a pandemic that has forced us indoors, just as the sun has begun to shine.
For some, the gym shutting represents the perfect excuse to give the step machine a wide berth. For others, it represents an infringement on normal routines. But whoever we are, and whatever our habits were, many of us are having to renew our focus, rethink our priorities, and ensure our health comes first.
As such, we’ve gone in search of the best online resources for staying healthy: from nutritional courses and resources to yoga live streams, from London veg delivery boxes to self-care advice.
While comfort eating and sofa days are highly tempting, and absolutely allowed, balance remains crucial.
For those with time on their hands and looking to take it pretty seriously, check out www.futurefit.co.uk. They offer certified online nutrition courses, including diplomas in weight loss management, childhood, pre- and post-natal nutrition, behaviour change and plant-based diets. Courses can be done simply to further knowledge, or in lieu of career changes, as they carry professional certifications.
Visit thefoodmedic.co.uk, an educational platform run by Dr. Hazel Wallace, which bridges the gap between traditional medical advice and the latest thoughts and developments in nutrition.
Nutritionforlife.co.uk is a similarly popular blog written by Alex Gear, a London based nutritional therapist, nutritionist, health coach and naturopath. Find recipes, health and sleep advice, and child-tailored information, too.
For those with young families and looking for support in feeding infants, the charity First Steps Nutrition Trust is a great database, with information to support eating well from pre-conception to five years. Visit www.firststepsnutrition.org
For teaching your young ones about healthy lifestyles, go to www.foodafactoflife.org.uk. The site has free resources for teaching 3 year-olds to teens about where food comes from, cooking and healthy eating.
It’s never too late to form healthy habits, check: www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-guide
For healthy eating blogs, we love www.nadiashealthykitchen.com, which covers options for multiple diet types.
Similarly, the Kitchen Shed is a firm favourite for clean eating options with handy shopping lists. Go to www.thekitchenshed.co.uk/tag/healthy-eating-blog-uk/
For these trying times, we highly recommend Jack Monroe’s blog; cookingonabootstrap.com. Jack offers simple, budget recipes, many using canned and long-lasting foods. All of Monroe’s books, including Tin Can Cook, can be purchased through the blog. Also head to Twitter and tag #JackMonroe’sLockdownLarder. Tweet whatever is in your cupboards with the hashtag, and at 5pm every day the TV chef will respond with recipes to whip up with whatever you have.
The nation’s favourite, Jamie Oliver, also has a new TV show with a similar theme. Catch Keep Cooking and Carry On every day on Channel 4 at 5:30pm.
Local fruit and vegetable delivery services
Accessing online delivery services has become increasingly hard, as supermarkets struggle to keep up with increased demand. Many are requesting that those who are low-risk leave delivery spaces for the vulnerable. However, many independent and small businesses across London are delivering fresh produce, as well as cupboard staples.
Visit www.organicdeliverycompany.co.uk. From salad to eggs, the Organic Delivery Company has you covered – for reasonable prices considering the quality.
www.oddbox.co.uk/home-box are dealing with a huge influx in customers too, but this commendable sustainable organisation is definitely worth checking.
Farmdrop offers farm-to-table food, delivered to your door in a slot of your choosing. Again, demand is high, but the site allows customers to queue online, even if they shut the page. Go to www.farmdrop.com.
Fruit4london.co.uk are an environmentally-friendly company who use minimal packaging, and offer vegetables too.
Farmaround.co.uk offer assorted fruit and assorted veg boxes. Waiting times are longer than usual, but the quality remains top notch.
There are also a couple of wholesale businesses repurposing themselves for the consumer market. Go to directmeats-foodstore.co.uk for everything from luxury steak selection boxes, to non-meat cupboard essentials. Delivery is offered across Essex, Suffolk, London and Kent.
New Covent Garden-based company Ripe London usually focus on office deliveries, but are now offering home deliveries instead. Go to ripe.london and enter your postcode to check catchment areas. Extras such as milk and bread can also be added to boxes.
Japan Centre (www.japancentre.com) can also keep you stocked in a huge range of Japanese food and drink, including many staple foods. They’re experiencing unprecedented demand and are rationing amounts of noodles and rice, but are definitely worth checking out.
We’re all cooped up; some parks have shut, and many of us aren’t natural runners. Luckily, anyone with an internet connection can access a whole host of exercise classes, as gyms and specialist fitness centres turn to live streaming. While some are free, often on Instagram, those with the means can consider paying for online workouts and supporting local, independent enterprises.
For those wanting to push themselves to the limit, Barry’s UK is famed for its gruelling workouts and is now streaming live offerings via Instagram. Go to @barrysuk on Instagram.
Ballet may sound ambitious, but there is some merit in being able to try it out in the privacy of your own home. Tamara Rojo, principle dancer and artistic director of the English National Ballet, has launched a number of easy to follow videos; just go to www.youtube.com and type in ‘English National Ballet’.
Sticking with dance, Seen on Screen offers dancers of all abilities the chance to learn celebrity dance routines: think Britney and Rihanna – from professional trainers. Tune in to the livestream via Zoom, or through Instagram (@seenonscreen.dance).
Start your day right: Rosa Reeve from Pilatespluswellness is offering a free Pyjama Pilates class daily, for 20-30 minutes at 6:30am. The class is streamed live on Instagram and kept for 24hrs for those not keen on the early hours. Rosa is also doing Zoom virtual classes for summer term. Go to www.pilatespluswellness.com (@pilatespluswellnesslondon).
For a £5 fee, support a London independent: Sophie Richie, founder of DiscoBarr, is live streaming barre classes every day, bringing underground house and Eighties disco to your living room. Go to http://www.discobarre.com/
Yoga and pilates studio Triyoga is running free online classes, six days a week from Monday to Saturday. The classes are bookable through the studio’s website; go to www.triyoga.co.uk.
Fly LDN are also offering free classes via Instagram Live; there are flow yoga, low-impact and barre classes at 8am, 12.30pm and 6pm every day. Check Fly’s Instagram page for the day’s schedule (@fly_ldn).
More yoga: independent Walthamstow studio East of Eden is live-streaming its entire normal schedule of classes. They’re sticking to usual membership prices or £12 per class – but if you can’t afford full price, email the studio for a £5 discount code. Go to www.eastofeden.uk.
While older, vulnerable people will be severely limiting their time out of the house, it’s still important to keep moving. Go to moveitorloseit.co.uk to get a free support pack for older people. Live workouts can be followed at https://www.facebook.com/MoveItOrLoseIt1/.
Lockdown, isolation, global pandemic… all are words/phrases conducive to anxiety. In such uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to practice self-care, and to look after our mental health. Many websites advocate walks, podcasts, learning new skills, exercise routines and distraction techniques. All are worthy options, but further help is available; don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Visit www.helloself.com to access online clinical therapy support, at a fraction of face-to-face cost. The site is also posting Covid-19 advice, sketches, blog and videos: https://www.helloself.com/covid19.
Practicing mindfulness can also be helpful, and is recommended by the mental health charity Mind. Check out what they have to say on the matter at: www.mind.org.uk/information-support/drugs-and-treatments/mindfulness/. Also have a look at NHS guidance at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mindfulness/
There are also plenty of apps that can help you on your mindfulness journey, the most well-known being Headspace. Download on iOS or Android. The basic elements are free, but there are also in-app items to purchase.
Other apps we recommend are Calm, which instantly greets users with meditative outdoor sounds, and Portal, which for just £3.99 (on iOS), transports you around the world, offering relaxing vibes, sounds and breathing exercises.
Finally, the lovely people at Pigletish have put together a digital care guide for adults. It’s for anyone struggling with social distancing / self-isolation, and offers plenty of ways to keep boredom and anxiety at bay. Visit https://pigletish.com/care.