From ASCENDs CEO – Christine Wyard
The Government has now advised that if you have an underlying health condition(s) or if you are aged 70 or older, you should be social distancing for up to 12 weeks. This means staying in your home and having no physical contact with anyone.
We know that during this period it’s really important that you look after your mental and emotional well-being as well as your physical health.
Below are some tips and general advice that will help.
Firstly, it’s important to highlight the need to avoid additional sources of anxiety, especially if this is something that you are already challenged by in normal daily life. Lines are going to become blurred as routines shift and we have to create new structures which take time to settle.
Secondly, it’s key to reduce or remove sources that could trigger you and quite understandably be upsetting. These sources would be the media and even friends, family members, partners and neighbours. The ten tips below will greatly help towards reducing anxiety and reduce any fears you may encounter.
It’s worth pointing out two key sources of stress that we need to become aware of.
A. Limit News and Social Media time. It’s important to stay informed, especially in these current times, however it’s important to maintain a balance. Consider watching the news such as on the BBC once a day and looking at Government official sites once a day only. Avoid regular tabloids and associated websites. If you do read them make sure you get confirmation from an official authority before accepting what you read or hear. Consider turning off notifications and alerts on your phone so that you control the stream of information.
B. Limit gossip and hearsay about the virus and related topics. For all our well-being it’s important to stay connected and in touch with friends and family. However, we can easily be swayed with false news or hearsay. Therefore it’s especially important to be vigilant about we what we hear and take in and what we pass on. Stick to the facts and use common sense. If you don’t know, don’t say or if you are not sure ask.
10 Tips to adopt while social distancing
1. Establish a daily routine.
Routines provide structure and purpose.
For example avoid watching the news in the late evenings and consider mid morning once a day instead. This will help to regulate yourself and process any information, but give you time to focus on the day.
Consider having a change of cloths. If you are doing work change into work type cloths and then casual for the evening. This again can break things up and differentiate your day.
2. Balance your weekly routine so you have a good mix of work (activities that have to be done), rest and leisure.
3. Think about the regular activities that are most important to you.
What are the important elements to these?
Can you adapt them to carry out in your home?
4. Set daily goals to provide purpose and a sense of achievement.
This might include working through that list of the things you keep meaning to do, but never get round to!
These unusual times can be a great opportunity to focus on tasks that you have neglected at home or start a project you have been meaning to do for so long.
5. Identify the triggers that make you feel low and look for ways to reduce or manage them. Remember to limit exposure to negative or distressing news and friends or family members who may feed off the negative environment.
6. Talk with family, friends and neighbours to help them understand how you feel and how they can help.
– Can they talk you through using apps on your mobile phone, for instance?
– Can you help them reduce their stress and worry? How might you do that?
7. Take care of yourself.
Eat and drink healthily with plenty of fruit, vegetables and water, to help boost your immune system and energy levels.
8. Avoid staying still for too long.
Exercise and regular movement will maintain fitness and strength.
If you are working from home, take breaks and eat away from your “desk”.
Ideally, if you have the space at home create zones for different activities, so that you are keeping things varied and different. Pack things away (such as laptops and files) after your work day if you only have one area to both work and rest in.
9. Have a good sleep routine.
If you are struggling, try avoiding tea and coffee in the late afternoon and evening, take a bath, using blackout curtains, listening to gentle music or deep breathing exercises.
10. Keep in touch and support each other.
Arrange to speak to someone most days on the phone or via the internet. Speaking to others will help with anxiety and is a good opportunity to share support. Avoid discussing the current situation or the latest news bulletins. Unless it is critical. Avoid hearsay about the virus or related topics. If you don’t know don’t say or if you are not sure ask.
On the upside
To finish – it’s important to remain positive. As was mentioned in the tips above.
This can be a very productive period, if we choose to be pro-active and look after ourselves and our loved ones.
You can tackle those projects around your home that have been crying out for some attention. Even start an exercise routine you haven’t tried before. There’s a YouTube video for just about anything! Like Yoga or Pilates.This could be an opportunity to learn a new skill. Join an online course. Start a new art project or a new hobby. Write that book you have always wanted to start, but never found the time.
Most of all stay safe and remain supportive towards yourself through using these tips above and those close to you.