A spring clean for the routine?

With spring upon us and light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, now might be a good time to curb those bad habits and embark on a new, healthier you.


It’s hard to believe but it’s been a year of social distancing, staying home and for many, working remotely. A year of Zoom calls, endless Netflix, facemasks and missing family, friends, hugs and all that was familiar pre-pandemic.

If you picked up some bad habits in lockdown, or rediscovered old ones, you are not alone. A recent YouGov survey found four in five people in the UK have developed unhealthy vices in the last 12 months including smoking, a poor diet and staying up late – and yes I’m as surprised as you that ‘binge watching television’ did not make the list. 

Like many, I’ve stayed at home more (making me less active than I’ve ever been) and developed a rather unhealthy relationship with sugar. In my lockdown haze chocolate, cake, ice cream have become a permanent fixture in my day, although thankfully not together.

But with our roadmap out of lockdown unveiled, I can’t help but feel positive about the summer months – garden get togethers, pub lunches and picnics on the beach. And with this almost imminent return to ‘normal’…a sudden pang to get back to more normal habits as well.

With that in mind, I’m sharing my five simple changes to get me on the roadmap to a ‘normal’ routine, and hopefully I’ll bring some of you along with me.

  1. Share your goal – if you read anything about ditching bad habits or instilling new ones the first thing you learn is that telling others makes you more likely to succeed
  2. Carve out time – the most important thing in making your goal a reality is having a plan you can stick to. So, if like me, regular exercise has slipped, set aside a realistic amount of time and at a point in the day that you can make it happen
  3. Learn to make three nourishing recipes – yes, we should all be eating healthily everyday but giving yourself a manageable target makes it more likely. Since working at the AOP, I often think about how eating a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables ensures you get those important vitamins A, C and E to support your eye health as well as omega-3 fats, found in oily fish 
  4. Book your health appointments – you may have delayed your dental check-up and sight test, but they are vital for your overall health and you will feel better knowing it’s in hand 
  5. Do a tech detox every evening – put your phone on charge at 7pm and leave it overnight, without checking it. You will feel less tired and your eyes will thank you for it 

If you don’t feel comfortable going for a routine sight test just yet, there are still plenty of things you can do to help protect your vision. For a start, you can watch the AOP’s video, top tips for healthy eyes, or read the advice on a range of common eye conditions and how to identify symptoms.

Of course, if you do have any concerns about your eye health you should contact your local optometrist immediately, and get back to regular sight tests, at least every two years, as soon as you feel comfortable doing so.

Serena Box Serena Box is the PR and Media Manager at the Association of Optometrists.