Tips for wellbeing during COVID-19

I started 2020, like many, with a list of goals that I wanted to achieve this year.

I started 2020, like many, with a list of goals that I wanted to achieve this year. Fast-forward to April and, naturally, my focus has shifted almost entirely to managing my own, and others' wellbeing during COVID-19. I wanted to share some thoughts and activities that I've found (through much trial and error) to be useful during this unprecedented time of uncertainty:

  • Spend some time each day outside, even if this is simply sitting outside to get some fresh air. During the first week of the official lockdown, I focused entirely on work as a means to keeping preoccupied and did not make time to be outside. After a few days of this, I felt extremely low and could barely recognise my own thoughts, which in turn meant that I really did not want to go outside. Go outside!
  • Try to maintain some sense of routine - try to establish a routine that works for you and those around you. I've noticed that I definitely feel better when I have sufficient sleep and wake up early enough to do some form of exercise before starting work. 
  • Aim to keep your body healthy - try to eat well so that your immune system is strong. I feel extremely lucky to have my health right now. I'm trying to cook healthier meals than normal because I want my body to be as resilient as possible at this time, for my own sake, and for those around me. 
  • Keep your activity levels up - without my "beloved" daily commute, my daily steps have plummeted. I've recently tried running outdoors in the morning to try and boost the numbers. It's a work in progress, however, I've certainly noticed that on days when I am more active, I find it much easier to fall asleep. 
  • Try a new activity - yoga, free online home workouts, skipping, outdoor (solo) bootcamp…the list is endless to boost those endorphins (or should that be "indoor-phins"?) Try to have fun with it. Involve partners, children and / or housemates, or join an online workout community, if you are lacking motivation. 
  • If you are working from home, try to separate the "work" from the "home" - It's important to set boundaries between working hours and non-working hours, and if possible, apply the same principle to your working location.  I initially worked from the living room and, whilst that was great for me, that was not a great living situation for the rest of the household. I then moved to working from my bedroom, which presented a new set of problems - namely, lying awake for hours on end each night, unable to switch off. I now have more balance: working from both rooms, and sometimes outdoors, which has allowed me to sleep more easily again.
  • It's okay to disconnect - whilst it's great that we have so many collaboration tools available to us, there are days when I feel a strong need to disconnect from the news, from social media, from friends and family - all sharing the latest updates about what is happening in the world. Tell others if you are feeling the need to disconnect, or if the constant focus on COVID-19 is having a negative impact on your wellbeing. 
  • It's okay to not feel okay - anger is okay, sadness is okay, frustration is okay, guilt is okay, feeling as though things aren't fair is okay. Emotions are okay. 
  • Be kind to each other - give what you can, do what you can, adapt where you can, be tolerant where you can, be patient where you can, be understanding where you can. People are struggling in so many ways that you may not be aware of. Let this time be remembered for showing the best of humanity. 
  • Slow down - consider spending your time indoors on activities you've always struggled to find time for. I've been filling my spare time with yoga, meditation, reading and cooking.
  • Look for opportunities to support - I've been searching for opportunities to support the national effort, through volunteering and donations. I've also been truly humbled by the stories I've read of the efforts to provide support to the NHS, and to the NHS itself.