Looking After Yourself During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Now, more than ever, we need to be looking after ourselves and those around us. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that has seen whole countries go into lockdown, and hundreds of thousands of people worldwide have lost their lives. We must reclaim a little bit of time where we can for ourselves and look after our mental health and wellbeing.

However, when leaving your house for anything other than the bare essentials is discouraged, and you have to maintain social distancing, how can you keep your mind and body well? In this post, we will look at a few of the things that you can do.

This is fundamental if you want to stay healthy, but it can also be challenging at the moment. There are some food shortages in stores, and we are having to think very carefully before going grocery shopping. However, if you have a plan in place before you go to the shops, you can avoid panic buying and wiping out supplies for the rest of your community. 

Before you head out, take inventory of what you already have in your refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards and plan meals around those. Every meal should be nutritionally balanced - the NHS Live Well plate is an excellent representation of what you should include in your meals.

You might not be able to get to the gym right now, but that does not mean that your fitness regime has to come to a complete halt. It is still okay to walk, cycle or run outside, as long as you are maintaining a two-metre distance from other people. Many fitness instructors are offering online classes at the moment to follow at home. Just check out Joe Wickes or even Oti Mabuse dance classes on Facebook and YouTube.

Remember, fitness does not have to be intense cardio-based activities or weights, either. Some everyday activities, such as gardening or vigorous cleaning, all go towards maintaining fitness levels.

Stress and sleep
Stress and sleep often go hand in hand. Not getting enough sleep can cause additional stress, and stress can prevent you from getting enough sleep. It is possible to break this vicious cycle, however.

Yoga and meditation are excellent ways of coping with stress. Try it for a while, and you will soon see what yoga does to your body. They can be done at home in a relatively small place with very little equipment. Look online for yoga classes.

In terms of sleep, maintaining some routine is key. If you have been furloughed from work or are shielding, it can be tempting to stay up late and have lie-ins. While this is fine once in a while, it can be disruptive to sleep patterns. Try to keep to a set bedtime every night and wake up at the same time every day.

Screen time can also be detrimental to getting a good night’s sleep. If possible, avoid looking at your phone, tablet, computer, or TV for at least an hour before you go to bed and certainly not if you wake up in the night. 

Another thing to do is to avoid caffeine after about 2 pm. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, and fizzy drinks such as cola.

Have a calm space
You know how children are often sent to time out to calm down and regather their thoughts? Well, why not create an adult time out area? Make it cosy and calming - perhaps a big beanbag or comfy seat with cushions and a blanket, candles or soft fairy lights, no technology other than maybe a speaker to play calming music and an air-purifying plant. When things feel like they are getting too much, retreat to the area with a drink and a book or sit and do some meditation for a while.

Maintain social interaction

While face to face social interaction is a no-go at the moment, that does not mean that you can’t talk to anyone. It just means you have to be a little bit more creative. Zoom, Houseparty, Facetime, Whatsapp - these are all great platforms for helping you to stay connected with your nearest and dearest. 

Get up and get dressed

It can be tempting when we have nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to see to sit around in our PJs or baggy sweats and forgo the shower and hair care that day. It may not seem like it matters too much in the grand scheme of things, but maintaining your usual personal hygiene routine and getting dressed every day can do wonders for your mental health.