Coronavirus and your wellbeing – looking after yourself
We are experiencing an unprecedented situation, not just locally and nationally also globally to protect ourselves against the contagious coronavirus pandemic.
Work is a big part of our lives. Typically 73% of the adult population are in employment and spend around 60% of their waking hours in the workplace or commuting. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure that we take an active approach to our own health and wellbeing in work (and out!)
Analyst and other non-clinical professions are now advised to work from home where possible, and quite rightly so to ensure that we can help reduce the spread of infection. That means that you will experience limited social contact and therefore it is now more important than ever that we are looking after our own wellbeing.
Eating well and staying Hydrated
- Find out about getting food delivered. For example, you might be able to order food online for home delivery. Or you could ask someone else to drop food off for you.
- Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels.
- Drink water regularly. Drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or use an app to remind you.
Take care of your mental health and wellbeing
If you’ve been asked to stay at home and avoid other people, it might feel more difficult than usual to take care of your mental health and wellbeing.
These are some ideas which may help:
- Prioritise relaxation –this can involve focusing on your breathing or meditation, you could also listen to a guided relaxation
- Try to ensure that you maintain a balanced approach to your health & wellbeing with adequate rest and activity, nourishment and hydration – keep occupied where you can and ask for help when you need it.
- Staying connected – telephone calls, using technology, writing a letter or a card to send to a loved one or someone
Connect with others
Keep in touch digitally
- Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
- You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
- If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other.
- Think of other ways to keep in contact with people if meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you’ve not seen for a while.
If you’re worried about loneliness:
- Think about things you can do to connect with people. For example, putting extra pictures up of the people you care about might be a nice reminder of the people in your life.
- Listen to a chatty radio station or podcast if your home feels too quiet.
Decide on your routine
Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall.
- Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
- If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
- Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.
If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:
- Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
- Try to respect each other’s privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.
Try to keep active
- Build physical activity into your daily routine, if possible. Most of us don’t have exercise equipment like treadmills where we live, but there are still activities you can do. Exercising at home can be simple and there are options for most ages and abilities, such as:
- cleaning your home
- dancing to music
- going up and down stairs
- seated exercises
- online exercise workouts that you can follow
- sitting less – if you notice you’ve been sitting down for an hour, just getting up or changing position can help.
Get as much sunlight and Fresh air as possible
Spending time in green space or bringing nature into your everyday life can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. It can improve your mood, reduce feelings of stress or anger, and make you feel more relaxed
It’s possible to still get these positive effects from nature while staying indoors at home. You could try the following:
- Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air.
- Have flowers or potted plants in your home.
- Use natural materials to decorate your living space, or use them in art projects. This could include leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds.
- Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky, or watch birds and other animals.
- Grow plants or flowers on windowsills. For example, you could buy seeds online or look for any community groups that give away or swap them.
- Look at photos of your favourite places in nature. Use them as the background on your mobile phone or computer screen, or print and put them up on your walls.
- Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall. Get as much natural light as you can. Spend time in your garden if you have one, or open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.
Find ways to spend your time
- Try having a clear out. You could sort through your possessions and put them away tidily, or have a spring clean. You could set any old possessions aside to donate to a cause you care about, or use online selling sites to pass on things you don’t want to keep. If you do sell anything online, you might want to delay your delivery dates until you can leave the house to send your parcels.
- You could also have a digital clear out. Delete any old files and apps you don’t use, upgrade your software, update all your passwords or clear out your inboxes.
- Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with.
Keep your mind stimulated
- Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
- Some libraries have apps you can use to borrow ebooks, audiobooks or magazines from home for free, if you’re a library member.
- FutureLearn and OpenLearn have free online courses you could try.
- There are lots of apps that can help you learn things, such as a foreign language or other new skills.
If you are feeling trapped or anxious
- If you have panic attacks or flashbacks, it might help to plan a ‘safe space’ in your home that you’ll go to.
- You can also find ways to comfort yourself if you’re feeling anxious. For example, there are games and puzzles you can use to distract yourself, and breathing exercises which may help.
- The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has more information on how to cope if you’re feeling anxious about coronavirus.
- Open the windows to let in fresh air. Or you could spend time sitting on your doorstep, or in the garden if you have one. This can help to give you a sense of space.
- Regularly change the rooms you spend time in.