Monday (23rd March), marked another dramatic change for the nation, with a decision to close most shops, except those deemed to be selling essentials, such as food and/or medicines etc. This was in addition to the closure of pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs & leisure centres, on Friday.
While many of you, including myself, will have financial worries, the even more immediate challenge, is how we can manage this new situation right now, & look after our overall physical, mental health & wellbeing, as we are now for the mostpart, confined to our homes.
I did a blog last week about how you could use the time to make changes in your homes with regard to refining/decluttering your posessions, reorganising your space etc. You can read this here
This is one of linked 2 blogs:
1st blog: In this one I will concentrate on how to look after your overall mental, physical & spiritual health & wellbeing, whether you live alone or with family. I will cover the following:
Creating a new structure
Checking in with yourself daily
The importance of exercise
Motivational goal setting
2nd Blog: to be sent out tomorrow at 11am (Friday 27th March)
The specific challenges for people who live on their own.
Managing a household that may include young children, teenagers & elderly
The importance of community support
Enjoyable home activities/new hobby ideas
Many of us will find ourselves in a position where the normal structure of our day has completely disappeared, so it is important to create a new one. We can also set daily & weekly goals, which can help with motivation.
Ideally we should:
Set regular getting up & bed times
'Check in' with ourselves 1st thing in the morning (see details below)
Ensure we do some form of exercise each day either inside or outside
If we are working from home, set aside specific working hours with breaks
Set regular mealtimes, & where possible cook healthy meals from fresh ingredients
Ensure we have leisure time to relax.
Evenings & weekends are a great opportunity to spring clean/reorganise/declutter our homes, do gardening if we have one, decorate, DIY jobs, read, watch programmes we will enjoy, and even take up new hobbies such as drawing, painting, caligraphy, learning a new language or a skill such as 'sign language' for example. In other words, do things daily, that will both inspire us & also exercise our minds.
Checking In: 1st thing on awakening, we should 'check in' with ourselves, as to how we are feeling physically, mentally & emotionally. One thing is certain, and that is, that whatever our day involves, the one person we will be with throughout, is ourselves. By identifying how we are 1st thing in the morning, we will better understand what self-care we may need during the day.
Am I feeling physically tired? If this is the case, we should plan our day with this in mind, and not set a schedule that is too physically demanding.
Am I feeling anxious? If yes, what am I anxious about. What can I do to address it today? Should I talk to my partner? Can I call a friend? Do I need some professional external advice? Where possibe, if there is something you can do today to address your anxiety, make a decision to take the action.
Am I feeling emotionally fragile and worried about not being able to cope? We all find ourselves in a dramatically changed situation, so such emotions will not be uncommon. Having to work from home, to home school children, care for elderly relatives either living with us or remotely etc, all present their own challenges. We can only do the best we can, so be kind to yourselves, commune with friends virtually via Facetime, Zoom etc. and make some 'me' time for enjoyable activities.
If it helps, write a gratitude list, read from am inspiring book of quotes (one of my favourites is 'Sayings of the Buddha - Reflections for Every Day' by William Wray, Arcturus Publishing), &/or listen to a meditation exercise online, or an inspiring podcast.
All of the above will help you to be more measured & focused during the course of the day.
My direct experience is that, if I get up and launch into the day like an exocet missile, I am more likely to be ego-driven & mismeasured. Conversely, taking time to 'check in' with myself, & have a few still reflective moments, helps me to be more self-aware & mindful throughout the day.
2. Exercise: Exercise is good for both our physical & mental health & wellbeing.
Outdoor Exercise - According to government guidelines, unless you have symptons of the Covid-19 virus and are in self-isolation, you are allowed to go outside for exercise, once per day. You should be either alone, or with others from your household, remembering to keep a 2m safe social distance from anyone else, at all times. Being able to commune with nature in this way, can be uplifting in itself.
Make the exercise a brisk walk/run or cycle ride. Where possible, incorporate some stretching exercises, if you are able to go to a park or large open space.
If you have children, as the play areas within parks are now closed, arrange some activities in the open area - a ball game, races etc.
Indoor Exercise - If you are unable to go out because you are in self-isolation, or have physical limitations, you can exercise at home. There are many exercise video's and classes online that you can follow. If you are elderly, on the BBC Breakfast programme each morning, between 8am & 9am, the Green Goddess is showing elderly people a routine of gentle exercises that can be done from either a sitting or a standing position.The link on the story & video is here
Finally, if you like dancing, put on some music & have a good old boogie on your own or with family members........ I love doing this, just glad no one can see me !!
3. Motivational Goal Setting:
Having made a decision to check in with yourself daily, & created a new structure that includes some form of exercise, setting manageable daily/weekly goals, can help to keep you motivated.
I have used lists for years both at home & work. Being able to tick off things once completed, gives a sense of making progress, which in itself is self-motivating.
If you are unable to complete the list, do not be self-critical, simply transfer the items to the next day & if necessary prioritise them.
This time at home, if you are fortunte enough to remain in good health, can be an opportunity to get projects done that you have procrastinated over for many years - indeed it can be positive time.
In addition, helping others, all be it in a safe way, not only provides a crucial service, but can also have a positive effect on our own overall wellbeing. I am currently getting groceries & medicines for 2 local elderly people. We are in contact by phone, so I leave items on their doorstep & call to inform them that they are outside, ready for them.
Yesterday I signed up to be a NHS volunteer. They have been overwhelmed by offers of support. So in these challenging times, we must look to the positive & good will of the majority of our fellow citizens. The link to sign up is here
As detailed above, I will send the 2nd linked blog tomorrow at 11am.
In the meantime stay positive, stay safe, keep the recommended social distance if you have to go out, & follow the government guidelines stringently.
Finally, join the nation today at 8pm to applaud our heroic NHS staff from your open windows. Get the chldren to make banners etc. United we stand, and will get through this together.
With Very Best Wshes as ever, until tomorrow.
07775 728 447