By: amy bishop
Author: Research in Practice
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant that our everyday routines and situations have rapidly altered. Many of us have been unable to visit family and friends, have been working at home, adapted to new routines and accepted many changes. We shared ideas back in March, not knowing how long this would last. As workloads have increased, and days grow darker, it is even more important to hold onto some of the basics of self-care. We wanted to remind you of the small things you can do to keep yourself well.
During the colder months and longer evenings, it is important to stay connected with friends and family. With COVID-19 restrictions in place it will be more difficult to see loved ones face-to-face for festivities this year, so make the effort to pick up the phone, arrange a video chat, send a greetings card, or have some virtual nibbles with friends. If you know people nearby, make sure to arrange a walk and take a coffee with you. A recent article on keeping connected with our peers during lockdown spoke of finding other ways to connect during lockdown.
We would also recommend that you stay connected whilst working (whether remotely, or in an office or workspace). Regular remote catch-ups, virtual ‘drop-ins’ or online ‘meet and work’ spaces can enable you and your colleagues to have time and space to catch-up and to feel present with others. Some of our Research in Practice Partners also shared new ways of working in their organisations at the recent Link Officer Annual Meeting on virtually everything – sharing our learning so far.
We have also heard from Partners in Rochdale delivering virtual mindfulness meditation sessions, a multi-agency response to enhance wellbeing and resilience on the Isle of Wight, and colleagues from the Practice Supervisor Development Programme (PSDP) taking the opportunity to consider several of the most popular models and concepts from the PSDP and how these may be useful in their application to the current circumstances of the pandemic.
Try to ensure you get some natural light where possible. At this time of year it can get dark very early, so plan your day to factor in a walk outdoors, or if you have a garden or park nearby, go and sit outside. Getting to see nature can give you a break from the same indoor setting and can help your wellbeing.
In addition, exercise is very beneficial – go for a walk, run or cycle if you can. Exercising for as little as 20 minutes can stimulate endorphins.
Trying out something new can keep your mind stimulated and occupied, it can also give you a sense of change from the routines you’ve become accustomed to. Reading a good book or listening to music also has many benefits for the mind. These can stimulate new thoughts and ideas, transport you to another world and can often improve your mood. You could learn a skill or start a new hobby, such as baking bread and cakes, knitting, completing puzzles or creating crafts. It could also extend to completing those much overdue DIY projects around the house.
It is important to remember to get enough downtime in order to recharge your batteries. It has been an unprecedented year for all of us, so try and maintain a regular sleep pattern and average eight hours where you can.
Stay up-to-date with the current affairs and events, but keep track on when it is time to take a break. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with too much news or information, this can cause anxiety and concern over things you largely can’t control.
Take some time each day away from a screen. This year technology has truly been a lifeline for many of us, but it is still important to have some time off being ‘online’.
The pandemic has lasted the best part of a year, so you may already have established routines in place, however it may be helpful to consider where you want to adapt when you can. Although the current situation means opportunities to plan ahead may be limited, start small and look at the things you can control. Take a piece of paper and write down some notes, these could be goals for the future or things you can do tomorrow, anything that brings positive thoughts and ideas.
As we enter 2021, and with promising news of a vaccine rollout, we can hope to have more freedom to do the activities we choose and freely see our friends, family and colleagues in the future. We recognise that not all of these points will be transferable if you are grappling with childcare or other caring support. However, most importantly, ensure you are looking after yourself and those around you.
With love from us at Research in Practice.
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