Top tips to protect your health and wellbeing during the lockdown

As the UK acclimatises to further social distancing rules and the extended lockdown period, we thought we’d share some top tips on surviving lockdown.  Most of us now understand the seriousness of this health emergency. 

Hopefully, the message is getting out there that this is one of the worst health emergencies we have experienced in peacetime.  This experience will impact all aspects of health and wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional health). There’s no getting away from the Coronavirus topic at the moment and our newsfeeds have a constant supply. 

It’s good to keep informed of any subject and you should try to obtain your information from good and reliable sources of information.  The World Health Organisation WHO or Public Health England are good sources of information.

WHO definition of Health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

It can feel like there are lots of things out of your control at the moment.  However, there are so many things we can control and make conscious decisions that will positively impact on our health.  Looking after our health (physical, mental and emotional) has never been so important and we find ourselves prioritising this above anything else.

Maintain a routine

Get up and get dressed!  Maintaining some sort of routine will give you some structure and purpose.  Of course, not everyone is sitting at home doing nothing!  There are people working at home and they are exceptionally busy.  Most parents have less time since the schools closed because of homeschooling or just keeping the children entertained. 

If you are self-employed, there is still plenty to do while at home. If you are working from home it’s so important to switch off the computer and if possible, shut the door of the study. 

Some people find it challenging working from home and not just because there are distractions (another cuppa anyone?), but they often feel like they should work more hours. For those people out of work or not able to work, this is a testing time.  And, that’s why it’s important to have some structure. 

Avoid lazing around all day – this really won’t help your physical or mental wellbeing.  Of course, nominate a day to have a proper rest.

Daily exercise

If you’re not working during the lockdown it’s tempting to sit on the couch, watch TV and do nothing.  Or perhaps get up later and treat this time like a holiday.  It’s a hugely worrying time for most people.  The worry of losing a job or the financial pressure is all too real. Equally, if you are working at home make sure you take breaks and get up and away from your desk. 

People that aren’t used to working at home actually work longer hours.  There are so many distractions at home it takes some discipline to focus purely on the workload.  Some people feel unproductive and enough work longer hours. Claim your daily allowance and go out of the house for a walk, jog, run or cycle.  Observe social distancing of course however, it’s important for your mental wellbeing and physical health.

Sleeping pattern

Are you exhausted?  You may not be physically doing as much as you would but you are feeling lethargic and so tired.  Mentally it’s a difficult time for most and it’s the worry about the future.  The future is all in our minds at the moment.  We are making it up.  So, try to focus on the little things you can do today that will make a difference in your future.

Doctor Hilary Jones (Good Morning Britain) gave his advice.

  • Take time to switch off – don’t watch the news all day.
  • Don’t take an afternoon nap – if you feel tired go out for a walk
  • Turn off devices and don’t take them to bed with you. Light impacts our sleep and body clock.
  • Read a positive book before you go to sleep, this will help you drift off to sleep
  • If you have to watch TV before you go to bed, watch something positive and uplifting

Keep in touch during lockdown

It’s isolating not being able to socialise with friends and family as you would normally do.  Mum’s missed out on being pampered on Mother’s day, we missed sharing Easter Eggs and probably many birthday celebrations have been postponed – including Her Majesty The Queen.  Happy Birthday ma’am!!

Social media has had it’s fair share of criticism over the years, however, it’s been a blessing for so many of us.  What a great way for everyone, friends, and family to keep in touch and still see each other.  There’s been more interaction and communication during lockdown than there was before the lockdown.

There have been so many activities on social media and it’s great to see so many events, meetings, classes, and lessons continuing online.  The conversations with family and friends have been great to witness and some people admitting they now spend more time communicating than they did prior to the lockdown.

Mental wellbeing

Another really important aspect of health that is being significantly impacted during lockdown is our mental health.  We all have mental health and now is the time to get in tune with those voices in your head.  It’s normal to have self-talk and now is a really important time to listen and address what sort of things you are saying.  Notice the words you are using or the questions you are asking yourself.  If you are asking positive and thought-provoking questions, you are likely to get powerful and thought-provoking answers.

Make a conscious effort to rest, relax and slow down.  Do things that calm and clear your mind.  Particularly if you are feeling mentally exhausted, consider doing some activities that clear your thoughts.  Have you ever tried meditation?  There are loads of YouTube videos on the subject or play some relaxing sounds – it’s free.

Take a bubble bath, light the scented candles and relax back and forget about everything for 30 minutes or so!  Read a book that takes you to somewhere completely different or watch a feel-good movie and escape.

Summary:

Maintain a routine:  Get up and dressed and plan your day.

Add events to your calendar and diary: Networking, webinars, training online, meeting up with the family and fun events like ‘Pub’ quizzes or Comedy nights, etc.

Look after yourself: Eat well, drink plenty of water and maintain a regular sleep pattern.  Avoid those tempting afternoon naps!!  Dr. Jones said so!

Claim your exercise allowance:  Go out for a walk, jog, run or cycle.  If you need some ‘me’ time, take that day’s allowance on your own and suggest this to other members of the same house.

Read positive resources:  Read a book or website

Learn something new:  Online courses are very popular right now and there are free courses or tutorials.

People are genuinely concerned about the Coronavirus and the effects on their health and financial future.  If you have any questions use the #AskDrH on Twitter or sign up to Martin Lewis website to get accurate and quality information.