With lockdown restrictions easing, many of us are feeling unsettled or anxious. Olga Preston, registered nutritional therapist, shares her tips for what we can do to protect ourselves inside and out

What is the ‘new normal’? No one is quite sure of that. The only sure thing is that life is now different for all of us; our routines are different, our abilities to interact, our workplaces, the way we shop and the way we socialise.

We are adapting to how life is at the moment, but none of us know how life will be in a few months’ time and that can be unsettling for many of us. What do we do to protect ourselves inside and out, to create resilience not only for our immune system, but for our mental health?

1. Keep sugar down

Remember sugar increases anxiety. If you fancy something sweet, then enjoy seasonal fruit, strawberries, watermelon, nectarines or satsumas - all a joy, especially when eaten together with plain yogurt, cottage cheese or a handful of nuts to avoid fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Take a bag of mixed nuts with you if you go out, to avoid getting hungry and reaching out for a bar of chocolate!

If you go out and must have that sugary treat, make sure that you have it as dessert, and your main meal contains protein.

If you are meeting friends for a picnic, take some olives, crudités, humus, falafels, chicken pieces, or cold sausages and some nuts, especially if you might be having a glass of prosecco. Make sure that you eat before you drink.

2. Take one day at a time

Focus on getting through the next few days, not the next few weeks or months. Concentrate on your loved ones; your family and friends, the people that nurture your soul.

Choose your outings to be safe and to maximise the joy that you will get out of them. Choose to meet the ones you love in the open air, in a park or by a the river; go for a walk, sit for a chat, enjoy nature, breath in and enjoy your surroundings.

3. Exercise

Enjoy a walk, jog, run, cycle, game of rounder’s or even Frisbee. Take the dog for a walk, or if you do not have one, borrow one! Encourage your loved ones to come with you, get some fresh air and refresh your mind. Keep a positive mind, think about the things you enjoy doing and what you would like to do in the future.

4. Keep one celebration at a time

We have all been waiting for the time when we can go out again and enjoy a celebration with our loved ones. However, beware of too many celebrations and too many celebratory drinks. Pace yourself, and pace your drinking. Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks, and always have alcohol with or after food.

5. Immune support

Protect your immune system and your mind by eating good sources of protein, colourful vegetables, and seasonal fruits. Enjoy the sunshine and fresh herbs from your garden (if you have one); add some mint to your sparkling water, add some coriander to soups, parsley to stir fries, ginger for teas, fish and soups, and squeeze lemon onto salads. Enjoy the flavours; feed your body and your brain.

Above all, remember to love everyday day, and stay positive.