For those of you lucky enough to remain in employment and be able to work from the safety of your home, perhaps with the children in tow, trying to adapt won’t have been easy. Humans like structure and routine as it keeps our lives simple and rewarding. So, when your routine is turned upside down instead of just doing your job you are now having to become a teacher, counsellor and coach to the other members of your household. It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself!
There have been lots of fantastic blogs lately on wellness and self-care during this time and rightly so. Our health has never been so important. It’s unusual to be told to stay indoors when being out in nature has such a feel-good factor for so many. At times like this when we are forced to adapt it’s crucial to try and embrace change as positively as possible.
We all know we should eat well and exercise and fortunately there are lots of apps, YouTube videos and recipes to help you with that. There is still more you can do though. You must make time each day to take care of yourself. It can be something very simple like a nice hot bubble bath with your favourite e-book and some candles – you could even add some “spa” music to help you unwind (you’ll find some great free tracks on YouTube!). In fact, any music can lift your spirits. We’ve changed our routine at home to include music at the beginning and end of each day, partly to break the day up and offer some variety but mostly because it encourages us to sing and dance, forgetting about our troubles and motivating us to complete our daily activities.
Staying in touch with family and friends is key, especially when we can’t go out. Ok so you can’t go for dinner or a drink after work, but you can use some of the many video platforms out there Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to stay in touch with everyone. Now more than ever, it’s crucial to talk to the people you trust. Tell them how you feel, listen and understand their story too. Offer reassurances and opportunities to “change the record” from the daily stresses can help us to feel that we’re in this together – and it won’t last forever. We all need to be reminded of that sometimes! No one knows how we should be managing this situation, there is no right or wrong way to feel, but having the ability to lift yourself up when you’re feeling down is incredibly important for you and your family. Talking to our loved ones can often do this effortlessly.
Breathing exercises can be very helpful, particularly in stressful situations which usually have an impact on your breathing. I often find myself with tensed shoulders and taking slow, short breaths when I’m under pressure. By simply identifying your actions you can remember to relax your shoulders and take 5 deep breaths with your eyes closed. I find lying down to do this exercise is the most effective, but in your chair will work too. You can feel like you’ve had the weight taken off your shoulders and a pleasant release. You can go further of course and try some meditation. I use an app called Insight Timer which is free, or Calm which you have to pay for, but they have meditations for everyone from beginners to experts. They also have extra resources like nature sounds and videos along with support with sleep and mindfulness for children. It allows me to clear my mind and focus on what’s important. I often find the answers to any questions to struggles I have been experiencing. It does take a bit of practice though, so worth sticking with it daily if you can!
Here’s a little video I made myself when exercising the other day:
Getting enough sleep at the right time sounds like an obvious thing to say but it’s very easy to start disrupting your routine. Whilst many of us are working from home at the moment, we might be tempted to stay up later and use the time saved from the commute time for some extra time in bed! Which is a great idea, right?! Of course, there’s nothing more wonderful than waking up naturally instead of the annoying alarm. But studies suggest this could lead to oversleeping or disrupting your sleep pattern completely. Resisting the temptation for afternoon naps (if you can!!) will help maintain a good night’s sleep. Encouraging everyone in the household to stay close to the normal bed time routines will help maintain sleep now and will help make “going back to normal” a more seamless transition too.
There is lots of stress and worry for everyone at the moment but there is also lots of useful support available locally and globally. Reach out and talk to the relevant people if you need to. That’s what they’re there for. Focus on the positives and be grateful for the things you have. We will come through this stronger and more united as an island.
Stay safe and all the very best.