This is a strange and surreal time, but once you’ve come through the initial shock and disbelief then how you respond next and what attitude you take will shape how you come through this situation. Here’s some things for you to think about and try out.

1          Let’s look at our individual resilience – what is it?

It’s basically the way we respond to and react to adversity.  It’s about how we face the challenges that are thrown at us, making sure we keep ourselves mentally and physically well, particularly if working from home when we’re not used to that.

It’s about keeping things in focus, checking our own responses and reactions and being aware of ourselves so we can change if necessary rather than allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed.

If you do find yourself becoming anxious or overwhelmed then ask for help before it becomes a major problem for you. Don’t forget, you’re not alone if you do feel this way, but you don’t have to suffer alone. Many people feel that way too.

2          Keeping positive

We need to find the positives and opportunities, even in a bad situation so be grateful for the good things we have – not everyone is as fortunate.

Write down your achievements each day, keep them in a notebook somewhere near you – it doesn’t matter how small you think they are, they are positive reminders so   look at them at the end of the day and when you need a boost.

Start practising techniques to reduce stress, which includes meditation and mindfulness (we’ll come onto this later on in the next blog). Say to yourself each night:

“I’m going to get some sleep and wake up tomorrow and do it basically good enough. It doesn’t have to be perfect – just good enough”

3          Keeping a routine

Routine is important to keep structure and normality in our lives so if you are working from home, not working or furloughed at home… get up at your usual time, but practise some meditation if you’re not driving and have a bit more time.

Get dressed – smart casual is fine for being at or working from home – resist the urge to wear your pyjamas all day! Follow your usual skincare and make up routine (if appropriate) so you look and feel as you normally do, which will boost your morale.

Your hair may be quite long by now as the hairdressers are closed so try tying it back. Be brave and look at some videos online before cutting your fringe and only the bold will have a go with hair clippers. Check the settings on these if you go ahead!

Depending on your home circumstances – especially if you have family living at home:

  •  Schedule work time into the day – but don’t try to do all the hours in the day.
  • Schedule breaks into the day – you need some headspace too.
  • Try to set up a workspace and a chair as you would at work but be careful about your sitting position if using an ordinary kitchen or dining chair and table.
  • Think about your posture, back, hips, elbows and wrists so you don’t set yourself up for a repetitive strain injury, aching hips or back.
  • Get up from your work once an hour – if you have a sit stand desk use it. You can set a timer on your phone to remind you. Stretch out – particularly your shoulders and arms, roll your head around to ease your neck muscles and wiggle your hips.
  • Close down from work at a set time – try not to burn the midnight oil.
  • Go to bed at your usual time – switch off phones and tablets. Listening to a relaxation recording to help you drift off.

4          Keeping in touch

It’s important to maintain contact for your own and others mental health so you don’t feel isolated and reminds you that you have family, friends and colleagues, even if you can’t actually meet up with them.

Set up a zoom or skype account for your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. These are free to download and it means you can actually see people. Remember they can see you and where you are too so make sure you look presentable and that what’s behind you is also tidy!

Set up video calls with friends and family. What’s App is very popular, free to download and easy to use as is Face Time. After a while finding something different to talk about is a challenge so you could set up a quiz, talk about a film, programme, or books. Try to have a positive end to the call.

Talk to one person outside of work every day. This is important for your own wellbeing so you don’t focus on work all the time. Not everyone has the internet, especially older people so call your vulnerable relatives or neighbours on the phone to check they’re ok.

5          Keeping fit and healthy

Maintaining good physical health is very important for our mental health. The very nature of staying in the house means we’re not moving so much so take the recommended daily walk.

Also try to do some exercise indoors or in your garden if you have one. There are lots of programmes and videos on tv and online to help you so find one that suits you, your age and fitness levels and try to do something every day.

If you like yoga or pilates but your usual class isn’t running then there are lots of online classes to follow. Ask your usual teacher if they are doing an online class you can join in with.

Build daily exercise into your schedule and now the weather is improving if you have a garden, do some work on it and sit outside to get fresh air .

Eat as healthily as possible. We all know we should eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg and have a balanced diet, but do we always do it? Plan your meals out for a week and try to get only what you need when you go shopping and ditch the biscuits, cakes and chocolate – they’re full of sugar which is addictive. If you think of them as a treat then just buy enough to have one of them a day……

Planning your food actually works out cheaper than just buying what looks good and ending up having a cupboard, freezer full of things you’re not going to eat. If you have time, use it to sort out and clear out your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Get rid of stuff that is way out of date and list what’s actually there. Then you can see what you need and plan a menu that uses up what you already have. You may have some unusual combinations of flavours but there’s no point in keeping stuff that you never use. If you do have items that are in date but don’t want – donate them to your local food bank.

You’ll have more time to actually eat so take time to enjoy your food, make it a pleasurable experience:

  • Take small mouthfuls – savour it and chew well to enjoy the flavours.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your brain hydrated. It’s recommended to have 8 glasses a day – about 2 litres. Your body will get used to it, even if you do need the loo more often at first.
  • Sugar in food will mean you could start putting on weight so hide the biscuit tin, don’t buy them or have 1 a day as a treat
  • Try to limit alcohol, particularly in the week. If you maintain a routine where you do certain things on weekdays, tell yourself it’s a work day and you don’t drink then.

There will be times though that you feel you need a drink so mark the bottle with felt tip pen so you don’t overdo it. Don’t ruin any good work you’re doing for your liver by  binge drinking at the weekend though.

I hope this helps you!

More to come on the next blog to help you through this tough time

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