Whether you’re working from home, on furlough or still able to go to work – these tips are for you. In a stressful and unexpected time, it’s so important to look after yourself. If we look after ourselves, we’ll have more to give to those around us who need support.
The pressure we can put on ourselves during periods of lockdown is too much sometimes. You don’t have to bake banana bread, clean out the kitchen cupboards, do gardening, read 10 books and go for a run every day. It’s ok if you can’t do it all. The truth is, you’re living through a global pandemic. You’re surviving a high-pressured, worry-filled, stressful time. Well done.
It is important to acknowledge that even when the world looks like it’s starting to get back to ‘normal’ soon and there’s hope in sight… this is still going to have a toll on our wellbeing.
When it all feels too much, when you don’t know where to begin, or if you just want to maintain some good fundamentals for the rest of the pandemic and beyond… take a look at these 10 tips for personal wellbeing.
1. Power off!
I’m serious. And guys, this is coming from a millennial. Sometimes I think my whole life is on screens. But then, when I turn them off, I wake up and realise there’s much more to life.
Trust me on this one, turn off the screens, even if for 10 mins. It’s so freeing and is a beneficial practise to get into right before bedtime.
I always try and make sure that the last thing I look at before I got to sleep is not my phone! The blue light from screens stimulates our brains (yes, even with ‘night time’ mode on) and keep us awake longer.
Tip: Limit the amount of news you read at the moment – whether your source is the BBC, CNN, Twitter or YouTube. It can be tough, mentally and emotionally.
2. Go for a walk
I know this might sound simple, but don’t underestimate the power of a bit of fresh air. It’s especially worth trying to break up your day by going for a walk on your lunch break. Even if it’s 10 minutes before a meeting and you just walk around the block – it’s worth it. You’ll soon find that you’re more motivated in the afternoon after getting out in the day. Take a doggo, borrow a doggo, find a friend or just go for some chill alone time. Enjoy that fresh air.
3. Read a book
Find a topic that’s of interest to you, and read a book! Whether it’s a novel, a biography, or poetry – reading can be a welcome break from work, Zoom and chores. It’s also such a great feeling when you’ve finished a book!
Tip: When you’re feeling anxious, try reading a book you’ve read before. If not, find a light-hearted, familiar story to focus on.
Whether you’re a person of faith or not – meditating and praying is a brilliant practice for your wellbeing. Focussing on your breathing can help so much when you’re feeling anxious. Listen to some calming music and focus on breathing in for 6 seconds, then out for 6 seconds. In this calm state, start focussing your mind on things that you are grateful for. It’s a great way to start the day, or to wind down before bed.
5. Get a project outside of work
Those of you who know me even a little bit will know how much I love plants. It’s not just because they look pretty – they’re my project. Plants are a perfect example of having something to care for and focus on other than yourself. Investing in something other than work can make you feel like you’ve accomplished something of value in your personal life. This might not look like plant care for you – it might be writing a blog, doing DIY on the house, fixing up your garden etc. Whatever it is, give yourself time to enjoy it.
6. Prioritise healthy sleeping patterns
Not only is sleep just the best… but it also helps our bodies to recover ready for a new day and allows our minds to process the events of the day. If you limit the amount of sleep you get, your brain will find it harder to function the next day. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially if you share a house with a child or a puppy. But where possible, try and prioritise healthy regular sleeping patterns that work for you. Sleeping too long or too short will massively effect your motivation levels.
7. Find some ‘me’ time to relax
Rest rest rest. I don’t know about you, but in the beginning of the pandemic I got mad at myself for resting because I was like, ‘I’m not even doing anything! What do I need rest from?!’. But regardless of what your life looks like at the moment, you absolutely still need to rest. We all need to recharge and have time to feel rejuvenated. Hop in the bath and close the door to the rest of the world, or go for a walk with someone that’s ‘easy’ to just be yourself with.
8. Find a creative outlet
Whether you’re a painter or not, there’s still things you can do that are creative. Try something new, embrace a hobby. I’ve recently loved doing embroidery; it’s so therapeutic! Maybe your creativity looks like cooking something new, playing a game or having a good sing and dance to your fav tunes.
9. Move your body in a new way
I’m not telling everyone to do a big workout session every day (not unless you want to!). But have you considered just moving your body in a way that you don’t usually? Whatever level your fitness is at (even non-existent), if you could do just a little more than yesterday, what might that look like? This approach to exercise is much less harsh and condemning that huge amounts of pressure to smash Joe Wicks exercises with the unwavering energy of a 5-year-old every day. If that’s not where you’re at, no worries. Work with your body and your ability to find something that feels good and like a bit more of a challenge week by week.
10. Eat good food
Not here to tell you to diet or eat clean. Nope, if you need a KitKat, you need a KitKat. However, what I will say is that eating well can have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Have you ever had a meal made of fresh ingredients or a healthy snack and just felt so much better for it? That’s not a coincidence. Nourish your body with what it needs. Branch out and get creative with your food choices.
Tip: if you’re struggling to come up with ideas, you’re not alone. Consider creating a fortnightly meal plan so that you don’t have to think as hard about what to cook, but you know it’s going to be good for you.
Pandemics are hard
It’s ok if you’re not ok and feel like you’re hanging on for the summer by a thread. But you don’t have to just survive until it’s over… it is possible to thrive. When you start to implement these wellbeing basics, things will start to fall into place. Your energy levels will increase, motivation will begin making an appearance more, and I genuinely believe you will be more content.
It’s worked for me.
p.s. Don’t worry, hold onto hope. Good times are coming.