During our time at home it is really important to ensure that you are taking care of your mental wellbeing just as much as your physical health.
Take a look at some pointers below on how to look after yourself and loved ones during this period.
Keep a routine
If you’re currently working from home, one of the biggest challenges is being out of routine and dealing with distractions. Set up your “office hours” and then work in blocks of half an hour.
It can be difficult to stop yourself working when at home, so make sure you schedule in your finish time and stick to it, turn off the computer and don’t be tempted to slip back in to work mode.
If you’re unable to work during this period – or are unemployed or retired – not being able to go out much can also make you feel like your normal routine is out the window. Try and keep some simple things in check, such as bedtimes and mealtimes – your body and mind will feel better for it.
Stay hydrated and healthy
Not going to work or out and about makes it a lot harder to do the usual things we do to look after ourselves on a daily basis.
Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of water (at least 8 glasses a day is recommended). You should also try and keep mealtimes as consistent as possible, even if you’re not working the hours that you usually would be. As hard as it may be, keep a healthy(ish!) diet, focusing on plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Keeping your body fed and watered is one of the best ways of staying physically healthy, which is proven to have an effect on your mental health, too.
Even if you drove to work usually, you’re probably spending far less time on your feet at the minute than you did previously.
Take breaks and walk around for a minute or two when you can to keep your body happy and to get the juices flowing.
One of the best ways to stay healthy and happier is to get regular exercise. We all need 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, more easily broken up into half an hour five days per week.
Whatever your age, research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression and many other health conditions.
Knowing what to do without access to equipment can be difficult – so here are some NHS home workouts to help you get going.
Keep in touch
Staying at home all the time can unfortunately get lonely, even if you live with a large family, a partner or housemates. Although we can’t visit physically, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re communicating with each other. Modern technology means its much easier than it used to be to stay in touch with loved ones from a distance.
Consider setting up video calls so you can still see each other, or text and call as regularly as you can. Keeping a good level of communication up will make you feel less isolated.
Working from home? Isolation is one of the biggest challenges; it can be lonely, especially if you have to do it more than you’re used to. Try to make at least one phone call to colleagues per day, and don’t overly rely on email.
Just because you’re at home a lot more than usual, doesn’t mean you don’t need downtime. Particularly if you have commitments like working from home or home educating your kids, the schedule between ‘work’ and ‘play’ can blur.
Whether it be reading that book you’ve not had time for, listening to your favourite album, or taking a long bath – make sure you’re taking some time each day for yourself.
You might want to try to do something for yourself first thing in the morning before you get set up to get you ready for the day. You could do some exercise, or you could sit and meditate for ten minutes.
If you can’t find time in the morning, the afternoon works just as well — the point is to find a time and schedule something in.
Other things that can help include spending time with pets, getting outside or spending time in nature. Even if it’s only the backyard or a balcony, it can make a difference.
While we’re all at home, it can be really tempting to stay in pyjamas all day! Though this might sound comfortable, losing the routine of getting showered and dressed in the morning will make it much harder to get going each day.
Getting properly dressed (perhaps even smartly!) will help you mentally switch on for the day, feel a sense of normality and generally improve your daily routine – all things which will help your wellbeing.
While the pointers above might help to some extent – don’t be afraid to admit if things are getting too much. If things get very difficult, there are a number of online counselling services you can make use of, such as Quell, which can offer support and guidance remotely.
The Derby and Derbyshire NHS have also launched an emotional and wellbeing website which has been created in partnership with partners across the system.