Looking after yourself is so important during this time and understand it's difficult to do when you have so many other worries to think about both within and outside your household. Remember, no one is perfect, we’ve never been in this situation before!
There’s some great advice and tips on how you can look after yourself on Public Health Wales.
Here are some top tips on how to help you look after yourself
Plan ahead (if you need to stay home or self-isolate)
- Develop a checklist for staying at home (think about food, cleaning materials, money/managing bills, managing your commitments, connectivity, developing a routine, exercise, connecting with nature, entertainment, how to relax).
- Consider and plan for those in your home who are considered vulnerable.
- Get help with any housing issues you may have.
- Energy costs may rise if you’re at home more than usual. Think about how to manage your energy use, and whether you can get support with your bills.
- Talk to your neighbours and family - exchange phone numbers of household contacts / create a contact list.
- Set up online shopping accounts if possible.
- Plan out the full 14 days (if you need to self-isolate) on a calendar.
- Prepare some activities e.g. a list of books to read, exercise ideas.
Find what works well for you to reduce anxiety
- Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous adversities. Use those skills to help you manage your emotions during the challenging time of this outbreak.
- Look after your own wellbeing and physical health during this time.
- Find out about different sources of support you could use/access for further advice.
Maintain a regular routine
- Follow your regular routine as much as possible.
- If you are unhappy with your current routine, this could be a chance to do things differently e.g. make time to do things important to you. Identify habits you want to start.
- Plan how you’ll spend your time:
- write it down, put it on a wall
- plan activities for different days
- leave space for new ideas to develop (so that you can follow your interests as they arise).
Manage your relationship with media and social media
- Think about how and when you access media / social media.
- Minimise watching / reading / listening to news that makes you feel anxious / distressed.
- Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious, including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries. Consider taking a break / limiting how you use social media / not scrolling through timelines or newsfeeds.
- Seek information updates at specific times during the day (e.g. once or twice a day). Sudden / constant news reports can cause anyone to feel worried.
- Seek information from trusted / credible sources.
- Get the facts – not rumours / misinformation. Facts can help to minimise fears. Sharing accurate information about COVID-19 can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.
- Seek information on practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones.
Keep being physically active and maintain being healthy
- Exercise regularly.
- Have a regular sleep routine / do what you can to get a good night’s sleep.
- Eat healthy well-balanced meals.
- Drink enough water.
- Maintain your social networks / draw on support through friends, family, neighbours and other networks. Let people know how you would like to stay in touch and build that into your routine.
- Keep regular contact with loved ones through e-mail, social media, video conference and telephone, internet, instant messenger.
- Help older people to stay connected; this may involve helping some older people use new kinds of technology for the first time.
- Connect with others in a similar situation e.g. join a peer support community.
- Helping others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.
- Working together as a community can help to create solidarity in addressing COVID-19 together.
- It’s also important to remember that this can be a difficult time for children as well. If you have children in your household, doing things like sticking to a routine, making time for play and being creative, and staying connected with friends and family can help.
Dealing with domestic abuse and sexual violence in the home
- If you are experiencing, or know someone who is experiencing domestic abuse and sexual violence whilst staying at home, visit Live Fear Free for advice (including online chat). Or call the helpline on 0808 80 10 800. This service is available 24/7.
- You can also make a silent call to the police – dial 999 – then 55 if you can’t talk.
Manage your anxiety / stress / emotions
- Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry during a crisis. Acknowledge that you feel this way; exploring why you feel this way can help. Don’t ignore your anxiety.
- Do something you can control e.g. express anxiety by writing down what you feel, or keep a journal.
- Avoid using smoking / alcohol / other drugs to manage emotions.
- Share your concerns with others you trust and in doing so you may end up providing support to them too.
- You don't have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself.
- Think about your thought processes and bring it back to the present and what you actually know and feel. Hold these feelings gently an allow them to change as you breathe gently to become calmer.
- Use tools such as breathing techniques and mindfulness for dealing with managing anxiety.
- If you have panic attacks, plan a safe space in your home. Use games / puzzles / breathing exercises to help with anxiety.
- If you find the coverage on COVID-19 is too intense for you, talk it through with someone close or get support.
- Talking things through with someone can help lessen worry or anxiety.
- If you need to talk to someone, contact Mind Cymru on their Infoline service or search for another service that’s local to you.
Stay mentally active
- Set time aside for reading books, magazines, listening to podcasts.
- Borrow e-books / audiobooks from some libraries. If you’re a library member in Wales, the Borrowbox service helps you do this.
- Access free online courses and learning apps.
Do things you enjoy
- Keep busy with activities.
- Try relaxation exercises, such as breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness.
- Develop / maintain hobbies e.g. reading, cooking, listening to the radio.
- Find ways to relax and be creative and take notice of the moment, for example through arts, DIY, writing, playing a musical instrument, yoga.
Stay connected to nature
- Keep your windows open to let in fresh air.
- Get as much natural sunlight if you can.
- Get outside into the garden / sit on your doorstep.
- Go for a walk outdoors; however, stay more than 2 metres (6ft) from others (unless self-isolating).
- Have flowers / plants around the house. Grow plants on windowsills.
- Listen to natural sounds e.g. by using apps.
- If you can’t get out, try drawing a picture of nature to bring it into the room or try noticing what we can learn from nature.
Make time to notice your gratitude
- Be still for a moment and reflect on what you are grateful for.
- Take a moment to appreciate a really small thing – hearing a bird sing, smelling a flower, feeling sunshine on your face, drinking a cup of tea.
- Can you think of 3 things you are grateful for each day?