Coronavirus: Top 10 tips for surviving the lockdown
A GP from somewhere within the UK created this list after self-isolating for two weeks
They do not necessarily reflect those of the GPs at Allesley Park Medical Centre
1. Keep to a routine – everyone is in unfamiliar territory with the current pandemic, so keeping some normality and routine is vital. Try to get up and go to bed at your normal time. Getting enough sleep, eating regularly and keeping hydrated will help optimise your health to fight the bugs off. Children can be particularly sensitive to upheaval, so try and make their day structured with set ground rules/boundaries, and stick to them.
2. Variety is the spice of life - A variety of activities will help stave off any boredom, you don’t have to just resort to box-sets and daytime TV. Gardening is a great activity, and fun to do with kids. You don’t even have to have a garden, as many things can be grown easily on a window sill. Local garden centres are also offering free home delivery. Reading a book or keeping your mind active with puzzles/quizzes/crosswords etc. are easy activities to get started with, and there are loads of activities available online, for adults and kids, that have been made free during the lockdown. Why not try to learn a new language, a musical instrument or broaden your horizons with a free opera broadcast? Audible’s audiobooks for kids are free whilst schools are closed, and David Walliams’ World’s Worst Children stories are free to listen to at 11 every morning. Rosetta stone is also giving kids 3 months free access to their online language courses.
3. Regular Exercise & fresh air – exercise is often the first thing to go out of the window when our daily routine is disrupted. Exercise not only keeps us physically well, but is also a great way to de-stress and protect our mental health. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, if you are stuck indoors there are lots of HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions you can do quickly, or do something simple like walking up and down the stairs a few times. Anything is better than nothing. If you can get outside even better, 30 minutes of a brisk walk/run/bike is plenty (maintaining your social distancing!). Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ is doing a regular 30 minute PE class everyday on YouTube, which is popular with kids. If you are lucky enough to have your own garden or outside space make the most of it if the weather is nice. If you don’t, or if you struggle to get out, then open the window and let some fresh air in. A bit of sunshine is also great for keeping your Vitamin D levels topped up (sorry through a window doesn’t count!). If it’s a clear night why not go out for a walk in the evening and do a bit of stargazing?
4. Healthy eating – like exercise, when our routine is disrupted or we get stressed, eating habits can go to pot. Try and eat regular meals. Avoid too much snacking, or if you do, try to choose healthy snacks like nuts or fruit. Use it as an opportunity to get adventurous with cooking, and learn some new culinary skills. If you have kids at home, baking or cooking is a fun activity to do together and educational for them too. There are loads of recipes ideas online if you need them.
5. Limit social media & news feeds – it’s great to stay informed, but getting obsessive and tuning in all the time can be detrimental. If you are finding your anxiety ramping up, try to stay away and limit access to once a day. Also make sure you get your info from reputable sources, have a healthy scepticism of anything you read online or on social media. If you are not sure, look on official websites (NHS, Gov.uk) or ask your friendly GP (practice website or e-consult if available).
6. Help neighbours – elderly, unwell, or immobile neighbours are going to be at greater risk during this period. If you have time why not give them a call to check on how they are doing, and if you are doing an essential shopping run ask them if they need anything. Many communities are setting up formal volunteering groups which you could get involved in.
7. Stay connected, make the most of technology – we are fortunate to live in an age where there is a huge number of ways to keep connected. Just because you are in isolation doesn’t mean you can’t keep in contact via telephone or video call. Many methods offer group chats/calls so you can get the extended family all together, or your kids can keep in contact with their friends. Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, Zoom are a good starting point.
8. Support local businesses – restaurants, bars and shops are going to take a big hit in the coming weeks, and without support may struggle to keep afloat. If they continue to offer home delivery or takeaway why not treat yourself now and again and support your local community. We will miss them when they are gone if we don’t!
9. Look after you mental health – as mentioned already, routine, exercise and avoiding too much social media/news can all help safeguard your mental health. However, if you are starting to struggle there is help out there for you. Calm and Headspace are great resources for anxiety which usually need a subscription but currently are offering free content. Your GP can also help or signpost you if needed, and there are many other charitable organisations that offer support online or by telephone*.
10. Relax, give yourself a break – particularly relevant if you are trying to juggle working from home with or without kids who need home schooling/supervising. I would hope that most employers will be supportive and understand that productivity just isn’t going to be the same in the current situation. So cut yourself some slack and don’t put yourself under too much pressure – everyone needs a bit of me time and a break.
And finally...remember this isn’t going to last forever, summer is just around the corner and we will soon be enjoying long sunny days and BBQs again. Stay safe, be kind and supportive to each other and we will come out of this stronger.
*Mental health support resources (UK):
Calm – app for meditation, sleep and relaxation, all ages. Currently offering some free content
Headspace – mindfulness resource. ‘Weathering the storm’ collection currently free.
British Association of Clinical Psychologists
Mind, the UK mental health charity, 0300 123 3393
Mental Health Europe: “8 ways to look after your mental health”
Give us a shout: 24/7 free text service for anyone in crisis, text 85258
Samaritans: emotional support (all ages), 116 123
British Psychological Society – useful leaflet on how to talk to children about corona virus
Child Helpline International
The mix: free service for 13-25 yr, 0808 808 4994
Childline: free service for up to 19 yr, 0800 1111