Advice and support for staying well
Isolation is a necessary part of life at the moment. It can make looking after ourselves feel more difficult so here are some top tips to help during this period.
Look after yourself
If you’re caring for someone else, please remember you won’t be able to do so if you are not taking care of yourself!
Keep a routine
Plan how you will spend your time – it might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall. Reflect on how much of your ordinary routine you want to follow and how you can use this as an opportunity to change some habits; for example going to bed earlier, cooking from scratch and exercising.
Set household rules
If you are isolating with others, consider a household routine that gives everyone a say. This is even more important if you have children at home with you. Respect that everyone is different and need privacy. For example, some people will want to talk about everything, others won’t.
- Try to maintain a healthy diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables. Many supermarkets now have dedicated hours to help older or vulnerable people with their shopping
- Stay hydrated- this means having around 2 litres of water per day
- Avoid too much alcohol
Keep in touch digitally with friends, family, colleagues via video chat, WhatsApp groups, or online messaging. You could use this as an opportunity to do things differently (watch a film at the same time) or get back in touch with people you have been meaning to.
- House Party App (face-to-face video and games to play together)
- Nextflix Party (watch a film together)
Get some sunlight and fresh air
Fresh air can benefit us physically and mentally. This could be as little as sticking a jumper on and opening the windows or eating lunch in the garden if you have access.
Try to keep active
Build physical activity into your daily routine if possible. This doesn’t require a treadmill, instead focus on basic activities such as cleaning the house, walking up and down the stairs, or try joining an online fitness/workout class. There are also a huge collection of home workouts and seated exercises that you can do. At the minimum, make sure you get up every 30-40 minutes.
- Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) on YouTube
- Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube
- Seated exercises
- NHS Fitness Studio
Find ways to spend your time
There are lots of different ways to keep busy during the day. You could focus on admin/clear out tasks around the house or more creative things such as puzzles, books, films, crafts, podcasts, writing, and yoga.
Mind & coronavirus
Mind have published in-depth advice and guidance about keeping yourself well mentally during this period.
Consider your finances where necessary
There appears to be a lot of support from the government but that may still take some planning. Advice from Money Saving Expert is updated regularly and pulls together different options that may be available for support.
FACE COVID is a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
In the face of uncertainty, it’s natural to feel increased feelings of anxiety or worry, feelings that can be worsened by the constant stream of news and information. We’ve put together some top tips to help you and those around you consume media more mindfully and protect your mental wellbeing.
Stay up to date using trusted information...
The best places to follow for up to date official information are:
- The Gov.UK coronavirus (COVID-19) page will keep you in touch with how the Government is responding.
- The NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) page includes a wide range of health-related information.
- If you are planning to travel abroad check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice page.
- Follow Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care on Twitter for regular updates.
- There are daily TV briefings from the government and senior experts which you can access on the standard news outlets.
If you see or need further information, make sure you check that the source is trusted and reliable.
Finally, if you’re sharing other information on social media or with friends/family, think about the impact it may have on others. If in doubt, follow the three rules – is it true (e.g. do you know the reputable source), is it kind, is it useful?
...But consider limiting your intake
The media can be all-consuming and many of us may find ourselves constantly refreshing, reading and re-reading content. This can increase the focus and anxiety around the virus and uncertainty. Follow these top tips to limit your intake:
- Don’t be afraid to mute or unfollow people that are posting unhelpful information or that you find increases your anxiety
- Turn off notifications for media outlets and engage on a more planned basis
- If you feel you’re becoming consumed, try and practice some mindfulness. The app Headspace is a good place to start
Fill your news feeds with positive news
As the WHO has recognised, the kindness and compassion being shown by many in this crisis is fantastic. Many outlets are sharing positive stories and messages, including:
Most people who work in offices are now suddenly faced with the reality of working from home, and if they have a family everyone is going to be stuck indoors together. Trying to juggle work commitments and a hectic family life can be very daunting.
- If you live in a two-parent household, it is important to discuss your workload with one another so that you can establish how your working days are going to run alongside taking care of your children.
- If your child still naps, make the most of that time and schedule your work around them, or use it as a time to focus on your own wellbeing.
- If possible, create a designated workspace, ideally that you can shut the door on, as it can help to boost focus and also helps the children to understand that is your working space. Obviously this isn’t always possible, especially if you also need to set up an area for homeschooling.
- If you need to home school your children, this can feel very challenging especially if there are subjects you know little about! Find out how much time your child should actually spend studying per day – it’s probably a lot less than you think. The rest of the time can be spent learning through play.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. If a rigid home schooling and work schedule doesn’t work for you, that doesn’t mean you aren’t doing a great job.
- Don’t feel guilty if they are on their screens more, but perhaps try to balance this with encouraging some more educational content.
- Be honest with your team and your boss. Try and find a routine that works for you and share it with them so they know you are keen to make this work. Most employers should be understanding: we are in exceptional circumstances.
- Do try and remember to have someone to one time with your children, this is important for everyone’s mental health. Remember that you are no superhuman and are just doing the best that you can.
Think about this time as an opportunity to try and look on the positive side of how you are able to spend extended, quality time with your family.