20th March 2020

20 tips for better health in isolation or lockdown.

‘The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter and the spirit heals with joy.’   Proverb.

Our mind affects our body and our body affects our mind, look after both. Focus out as well as in.  

Websites and people mentioned are local examples from where I live.  Look for people doing the same where you live.

 

  1. Eat healthily and consciously.

Obvious I know, but not as easy when you can’t shop as frequently or you’re bored or stressed.

Stop to eat and notice what you are eating, take time to enjoy and appreciate it.

Have fun exploring new meals with what you’ve got. Look out for healthy eating tip or recipes on line. For example, www.Sunrisesunsetfoods.com

Where you can, eat fruit and veg and have a varied diet. I don't mean vary the chocolate or crisps.  Remember, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’.

Book virtual lunch or dinner dates with friends, family, colleagues or neighbours.

It may be tempting to comfort eat; have a healthy snack, drink a glass of water or distract yourself by doing something else.

Drink plenty of water to keep your fluids up.   

  1. Exercise and move.

Keeping or getting physically fit is great for the body and mind.

Exercise every day in any way you can for at least half an hour.

There are plenty of qualified fitness instructors working online and providing sessions virtually. Find out what your local gym or personal trainers are doing.  Check out @fit2flexuk or James’ Gym in Herne Bay for examples

  1. Develop a healthy daily routine and rhythm.

Schedule when you work, rest, play, exercise, chat to friends, eat, have family time, have ‘you’ time.

If you like structure and planning, type or write your schedule down.   If you prefer to be flexible consider what you want to do and achieve in your day and make sure you do all or most of it.

A clear routine helps children to feel safe and know what is happening next. In uncertain times, certainty is important.  If you are a family working from home and looking after children, a schedule clarifies who is working and who is looking after the kids when.

Purposely approach each day to avoid drift and boredom.

  1. Look on the bright side and consider opportunities

 

  1. Know NHS and Government advice and limit the time you take to research it each day.

Know what is expected of you and comply with it without dwelling on it.

Search for the good news in the world. Positivity significantly impacts on happiness and longevity of life. 

  1. Be sociable.

Schedule online or phone coffee mornings with one or more of your friends or neighbours.

Join others online for exercise, a book club, knitting circle, baking etc. 

Set up social media groups to chat, pass positive messages, encourage and support each other.

  1. Recharge your batteries daily

Understand how you recharge and where you get your energy. 

Do you get energy from others and the world around you?  Take time every day to chat to someone. If you can, go outside and look around, watch a nature programme to see how beautiful the world is. Connect with others.        Or

If you draw your energy from within, if you like peace and quiet then take time to be by yourself, even if it's a short time. Read a book, go for a walk or run if possible, watch something you can get lost in.  

Find a way to recharge that works for you, communicate that to others in your household. Respect each other’s differences.  

  1. Sleep well

Your body mends and repairs and your mind works things out while you sleep. 

A good night’s sleep helps us face the day. There are lots of great books on the importance of sleep and tips for sleep.

Eat at least two hours before bedtime, preferably more, to allow your food to be digested. Turn off electronic screens an hour before bed, start to wind down and relax.  

Avoid or reduce your alcohol or fizzy drink intake, neither helps with reparatory sleep.

  1. Breathe, breathe and breathe some more

Breathe deeply and evenly for 2 minutes or more to help you regain perspective and balance and reduce stress.

When we are stressed we don’t think clearly or make good decisions.  Breathing deeply un-triggers a stress response and helps us gain perspective on a situation.

There are numerous apps on mindfulness and ‘balanced breathing’. Practicing mindfulness or balanced breathing several times a day will make a huge difference to your physical and mental health, reduce anger, and help to calm a situation.  

  1. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Understand how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Lovingly tell those you are living with how you feel, what you’d like from them and how they can help you.

Listen to others in your house, especially children and young people. Really listen and hear what they have to say, how they are feeling and what they want from you.

Practice communicating, really communicating with others. Do this with a generous, non-judgemental heart.

  1. Working from home – move, socialise and plan.

I don't mean move house, I mean move about.  Build in a 10 minute break every hour when working from home. Get up and move around. Stretch, making sure you move your neck, arms, shoulders waist, legs and hips.  

If you are used to being interactive or social at work, then schedule virtual meetings with colleagues to catch up. Do more than the formal ones.

If you are a team leader in a conference call or virtual meeting, include time for chat as well as business.  

Break the working day up with other things, especially if you have children at home.

Plan how to fit work around your children and children around your work.  Ask others how they are managing this challenge. 

  1. Have family time.

Family is important whether they are your family by birth or people you consider part of your wider family.   Contact them and those you don't usually speak to.

Socialise with those you live with – odd I know. Find games to play, puzzles to do or things to make.  Have fun.

Play as a family, laugh and exercise as a family, eat as a family and practice mindfulness or balanced breathing as a family. 

  1. Practice gratitude and positivity.

Find 5 things you are grateful for everyday. 

Tell someone else or write them down. Saying it aloud or seeing it on paper increases the impact.  

  1. Be kind and generous.

To yourself and others. 

A kind word costs nothing. Be generous with your view of others. Most of us are doing our best even if it isn’t good enough.

Be kind to yourself, you too are doing your best. If you wouldn't say it to your best friend don't say it to yourself.

  1. Take control.

Look at your finances and work out where you are. There are many experts who can help you plan and manage. Look at a blog by Jack Neale from mymny.co.uk  Share the best tips you find with others.

We can’t choose what happens to us but we can always choose how we respond. 

Choose to respond positively and avoid blaming others.   If you want to know more about blame look up ‘Brene Brown and Blame’ - It's a great 3-minute clip, or watch the full Ted Talk.

It will make you think as well as laugh.

  1. Look outward.

When we look outward our own lives take on a new perspective. Helping others makes us feel better about ourselves.

Who would welcome your help? How can you help them? Take notice of others and offer to help where you can. Get involved in your local community.

Find out what your local Church, Mosque, Synagogue or community are doing online.  For example, the Church I belong to is running meetings and regular fun events for youth online.   They have set up a ‘buddy’ system to ensure that those living alone get regular contact from someone else.

Think of local small businesses struggling to survive at the moment; the independent shops, trades, and those who rely on face-to-face contact with customers. Do you know who they are, can you help them, have they gone online, do you need their services? 

Who may simply need a smile, a ‘hello’, to know someone has seen them and cared enough to ask how they are?

  1. Laugh

Watch programmes and films, and read things that make you laugh or feel good.

Connect with the positive people on social media and pay attention to those sharing good news, funny stories and words of comfort and happiness.

Tell and share jokes, look for the funny side of life

  1. Sing and dance.

Play your favourite uplifting songs, turn the music up and dance around your home.  As the saying goes ‘Dance as if no one is watching, sing as if no one is listening’.  

I promise you, you will feel better.  Dancing around your home can also count toward exercise!

  1. Reach out.

If you are on your own, or feel you are alone, reach out for support.

Now is not the time to be thinking or feeling you should be able to do this alone.  This is an unprecedented time, which requires us to be brave and ask for help where and when we need it.  

By asking for help you give someone else the gift of helping you.

Reach out to a friend, family or a trained professional. Tell them how you feel and what you want.  It’s true  ‘It’s good to talk’. 

  1. Remember

You are not alone.  

You are a child of God and are loved.

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