Top tips for a healthy body and mind during lockdown in Folkestone and Hythe

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With lockdown back in effect and the nights drawing in, it’s never been more important to protect your wellbeing and practice a little self-care. Whether you’re looking for ideas for your daily walk or bike ride, somewhere for the kids to run off some energy, or how to manage your physical and mental health from home, there’s plenty in Folkestone and Hythe district to support you in staying happy and healthy.

STAY ACTIVE

We know it’s dark out there and hibernating might feel pretty tempting at the moment – but staying active really can deliver a huge wellbeing boost to body and mind.

Under the current restrictions, you can exercise outdoors alone, with the people you live with, with your support bubble or childcare bubble, or with one person from another household. For more guidance click here. Not only will it keep you moving, but it can also be a good opportunity to get some different company (safely!).

Why not unleash your wild side at The Warren, a stunning stretch of beach, where you can while away an hour scanning the ground for fossils. Dogs are welcome all year round.

Feeling brave? Indulge in a spot of sea swimming! There is plenty of research showing sea swimming is great for the body and mind, so don your wetsuit, bring lots of towels and a thermos and take a dip in The Channel for the ultimate energy boost!

For something more sedate, download a local walk from the Explore Kent website, with this walk from Hythe to Folkestone, which takes in Sandgate Castle en route. Or try a nature walk along the Royal Military Canal – the section from Seabrook to West Hythe Dam is particularly accessible and suitable for walkers, cyclists and disabled users, along with bridle paths for horse riding.

The whole family will enjoy a trip to the pine avenues of the Lower Leas Coastal Park, where kids of all ages will enjoy the play areas surrounded by trees. Remember some local play areas will be closed during lockdown so it’s best to check first.

Or you could give your arms a work out while breathing in fresh sea air by taking a kite down to the beach at Dymchurch. Let the kid in you soar.

START YOUR DAY OUTDOORS

Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, and the best way to get your daily dose is by spending time in the sunlight.

If you’re working from home, don’t roll out of bed and straight to your desk in your PJs. Try starting your day with a quick walk around your neighbourhood to get the blood flowing, or grab a coffee from a local trader and take in a bit of sea air. Most local cafes are offering takeaway coffees right now.

Whatever your working schedule make sure you head outside at least once a day and make the most of sun when it’s shining.

You can also fill your plate with vitamins by stocking up on fresh fruit, veg and fish from local traders (our tip: try the weekly essentials market in Folkestone town centre each Thursday and Saturday), or consider getting a fresh veg box delivery.

JOIN A CLASS FROM HOME

If you can’t get out, many fitness clubs and local groups are offering online classes – a great way to support local and meet new people while keeping fit!

Why not support a local yoga studio like Hotpod Yoga by signing yourself and a friend up to a Zoom class? Staying flexible is just as important as staying fit.

COASTAL ZEN

Take care of your mind as well as your body during lockdown. Whether you need quiet time alone or want a friendly chat, invest a little time every day in your mental health during the winter.

South Kent Mind has a weekly activities calendar detailing local events that you can get involved with, from virtual workshops and drawing challenges to mindful walks and cookery classes. There are also plenty of resources on their website to help you cope with stress, and a helpline if you want to speak to someone.

Also remember to take time away from your screens and spend some time on the seafront, drinking in the views. Not many people have these views, so enjoy a little digital detox while you can with a dose of vitamin sea

GET CRAFTY

With Christmas on the horizon, it’s a fabulous time to consider taking up arts and crafts – it’ll keep you busy, help you express your creativity AND your projects can make wonderful gifts! Local Creative Quarter favourite Miss Gingers is open for online orders for all your sewing needs, and her website has useful articles, such as an easy guide on how to make your own face mask. In fact, businesses in this part of town have teamed up for their own online shop – www.theoldhighstreetfolkestone.co.uk.

CULTURAL TONIC

Invigorate your cultural side and explore the Folkestone Artworks free art trail, with a variety of different routes on its website.

The UK’s largest urban contemporary art exhibition is free and accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Discover all 74 artworks by 46 artists – including Tracey Emin, Antony Gormley, Yoko Ono, Mark Wallinger, and Ian Hamilton Finlay – and explore your home turf while you’re at it.

It’s a great time to be a tourist in your own town, so discover new places and make a list of all the things you want to see and do when lockdown ends.

EAT WELL, SUPPORT LOCAL

Finally, if you’re missing being out and about, it’s important to change up your routine! Many local restaurants, cafes and pubs are offering a takeaway service so you can show your support for local businesses and try new cuisines! We love Conchitas for Mexican, Kathmandu House for Indian and Nepali and Roka Pizza for Italian and bubble waffles for dessert!

Many restaurants are keeping customers up-to-date with their current food service, using social media and Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Purple Pages – where food businesses across the districts can get listed.

Visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/purplepages to find out which of your favourite local businesses are offering door-to-door deliveries, takeaways and click-and-collect.

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