Coronavirus Top Tips for Health in Isolation
If you are fit and healthy, many of you are hopefully still able to work, whether remotely from home or in the workplace if you are an essential worker. However, if you or your family are unwell or have any symptoms associated with Coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate and remain at home for the time currently stipulated by the government at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/. We have created this list of Coronavirus top tips for health in isolation to help you through this.
It is completely normal to feel anxious at this time. We have limited control over our lives at present and no one knows how long the situation will last. There are many different sources of information. Some are better-informed than others, so we are not always sure of the truth. The government has recognised the threat to mental as well as physical health during the outbreak. They have published guidance on mental health and wellbeing at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing.
We have compiled a few Coronavirus top tips for health in isolation to help you through this outbreak. Some may be more relevant to you than others, but others are probably applicable to all of us. Have a read through and we hope they help!
Tip #1: Seek information only from reputable sources.
These may include the BBC, the NHS website or trustworthy organisations such as MIND, the mental health charity. Whilst your friends on Twitter or Facebook may have the best of intentions, the information they post may not be the most balanced, accurate or up to date. Browsing through various social media sites is likely only to increase any anxiety you may be feeling. Try also limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak. Perhaps set yourself a specific time to read updates, or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.
Tip #2: Keep checking up on family, friends and neighbours.
Social media is not always a bad thing; during isolation, it can be a wonderful tool to reach out to others. Try staying in touch by phone, video chats, social media or contacting people you trust online, whether it’s old friends you haven’t contacted for a while, or those you usually see often. You can also do so as a group: there are many tools and games available to help you interact with friends and family, such as Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp video, Google Hangouts, Skype and Houseparty to name just a few. Try doing a quiz night, a board game online, or just having a good old chat.
Tip #3: Take up a hobby or project.
If you are trying to work from home, whilst also home-schooling children and trying to keep on top of the housework, the chances are you have little time spare and will fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day. However, if you are in enforced isolation and cannot work from home, or live alone and have few other distractions, try taking on a project or starting a hobby you have always wanted to tackle. This could be a great time to read that book, learn an instrument or new language, or do the one thing you have always wanted to do, but have never seemed to find the time. Look on this time as an opportunity to create new positive routines. Think about writing a plan for your day or week. Having a schedule to stick to will make it easier to come through the days sane.
Tip #4: Stay Active.
It can be tempting when staying at home to lounge around, eat badly and never really get into gear or do anything constructive. Whilst this can be fun for a short time, in the longer term it is likely to take its toll on your mental and physical health. If you are able to, try to get outdoors into the fresh air and go for a walk or run. If you have been advised to stay indoors, try doing some home-based exercises and making the most of any private outdoor space you have, such as a garden, balcony or even just an open window. There are many personal trainers now offering classes online, which can be done in the safety of your own home with no equipment needed. Some are free and suitable for children and the elderly, as well as for those physically fit, such as those offered by Joe Wicks on Youtube. The NHS also has 10 minute home exercise video routines that you can easily follow at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/for-your-body/move-more/home-workout-videos/.
Tip #5: Eat and drink well.
Try to ensure you eat well and limit your alcohol intake. While it is tempting to view the current situation as an excuse for increasing your alcohol intake from normal levels, it is likely to make you feel more anxious, increase your weight and result in a decrease in your overall health. If you enjoy a drink, try to stick within recommended levels. The current UK guidelines advise limiting alcohol intake to 14 units a week for women and men. This is equivalent to drinking no more than 6 pints of average-strength beer (4% ABV) or 7 medium-sized glasses of wine (175ml, 12% ABV) a week. Try also eating a variety of foods of differing colours to ensure you have a good balance of nutrients. Think of it as eating the rainbow, with lots of vegetables and fruit if possible. Remember that frozen or tinned vegetables still count as one of your 5 a day. The UK’s eat well guide is a great visual aid to ensuring a good balanced diet: www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide.
Tip #6: Keep your mind active.
If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy, try finding an alternative. There are many free tutorials and courses online, or you could try your hand at writing, playing board games, crossword puzzles, jigsaws, or doing something creative, such as drawing, painting, crafts, Lego, knitting or crochet.
Tip #7: Get enough sleep.
Although this may be easier said than done, sleep is essential for good mental and physical wellbeing, so do your best to get as much rest as possible. If we do not need to get up early for work it can be tempting to stay up later and later in the evenings . Feeling anxious or worried can also affect your sleep. Try to stick to your normal sleep routine and avoid screen time before bed. Limit your caffeine intake in the afternoon and create a restful environment. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help.
Tip #8: Take time to relax or practice mindfulness.
This can help with anxiety, worries about the future and can improve your wellbeing. There are many mindfulness apps available, such as headspace or calm. They can guide you through relaxation techniques and practicing mindfulness. Useful resources and information can also be found at:
Every Mind Matters | One You
About mindfulness | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems
Try box breathing if you are fit and well to help you relax. Breathe in to the count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4 and hold for 4. Continue for a few minutes, or as long as it takes for you to wind down. If you are lucky enough to possess a smart watch, many also have a breathing app. Try doing this a few times a day to help aid relaxation.”
Tip #9: Treat yourself.
Whether you enjoy a warm bath, listening to music, watching a new film with a glass of wine, cooking your favourite food, reading a good book or even painting your nails, make sure you indulge yourself at least once a week. Perhaps try planning one evening when you dedicate some time to yourself, especially if you find yourself normally running around the house looking after everyone else. Perhaps schedule that time with your partner or housemates, and ensure that they do so too.
Tip #10: Make plans.
Whilst this cannot be set in stone, as we do not yet know when the current situation will end, think about making plans to do something fun in the future. This can either be alone or with family and friends, but having something to look forward to can be hugely beneficial. This time of worry and relative lockdown will end, so your plans will come to fruition at some point! Complete an internal wellbeing questionnaire and suggest activities or events that would help boost your wellbeing at work. Thinking positively about the future and what it will bring may help you deal with any current worries.
We hope that you have found our Coronavirus top tips for health in isolation useful. If you liked our Coronavirus top tips then please let us know by commenting below. You can also read more tips on our blog, including ones on productivity.