Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll know that Coronavirus, or COVID19 as it is officially known, has hit the UK, not quite as hard as Italy and Spain… Yet. I have friends and family all over the world and having spoken to them and kept up to date with the news, it seems that the UK are probably taking the softest approach towards it all, or at least they were until they eventually announced lock-down earlier this week.
I am hoping you are reading this whilst you are limiting face to face contact with people. If you aren’t then you need to heed the advice or you may be putting lives at risk. Let’s slow the spread of this disease so the NHS can keep up and keep the death rate down.
If like me you are stuck at home, but you actually can’t do too much/any work at home for varying reasons, you may be susceptible to all this having a detrimental effect on your mental health. I am rubbish at being by myself and to make it more intense, my partner is away Monday to Friday and my son lives in a different country. I have some top tips for those who are isolating by themselves who are relatively fit and well. If you are in ill health, be it MS, COVID19 or a plethora of other things, please do read on as you’ll be able to partake in the non-physical elements of my boredom busting tips.
Exercise, exercise, exercise. Most gyms are shut. Most gyms, or at least the PTs that worked in them, are posting workouts online that you can do in the comfort of your own home/garden. Even if you are not au fait with many of the movements, a lot are posting easy to follow videos on websites such as YouTube. Don’t want a full blown work out? Do 5 push ups, or squats (or any other exercise) everytime you walk through a door, walk up and down the stairs, go for a walk outside; just ensure you go by yourself, or in as small a group as possible from your own home, and stay 2 metres away from anyone else. Any groups outside of more than 2 people (not from the same household) may end up with a Police fine. Not just that, but you’re a dickhead and the majority of the nation will agree with me that you’re all dickheads.
Housework. Still not sold on the exercise thing, but scared that you will not burn off the calories you are consuming? Kill two birds with one stone and get some housework done. Not only does hoovering and dusting get your heart rate up, but as well as feeling better about yourself, you will be in a lovely, presentable, clean home. I know I feel a lot more at peace with myself when our house is tidy, and it stresses me out when it is messy (like now with DIY stuff ongoing!).
DIY. For most, it means Do-It-Yourself, in my case ‘Destroy-It-Yourself.’ I am rubbish at DIY, but I am good at destroying things. I’ve ripped the carpet and underlay off the stairs, pulled out the nails and staples and am now in the process of sanding the stairs. I think I am entrusted to prime the stairs, but the OH can paint them. Yes, the dust is stressing me out (and aggravating my asthma), but once I’ve done them, I’ll feel a sense of achievement. This is the easy part, the hard part will be painting and sticking some vinyl tiles on which is the OH’s domain, so she will be more than happy that I have done the groundwork. Happy (future) wife = happy life.
Catch up with Family & Friends. Not in person, because that at best means a fine and at worst means spreading COVID19 amongst your loved ones. WhatsApp and Skype (as well as other websites and apps) support group video calls so natter away. A couple of friends and I have set a group video call at the same time each day.
Learn something new. How to do a French Plait. A new language. Yoga. Make something that has been in the back of your mind your new goal. I have just enrolled on a Mental Health First Aid Course and after that, when the OH is back, she can help me to learn her mother tongue; Polish. I might also give yoga or pilates a go in the coming weeks as it’s something I keep putting off, and one of the classes at the gym that fills up super quick and everytime I think to book myself on there are no slots left. If you don’t want to keep your body active, at least keep your mind active. You don’t have to spend money on learning new things; scour YouTube or do a simple Google search and you’ll be able to find step by step videos on how to do things. All of the things.
Make a new playlist. Music motivates me. I absolutely have to have music for any kind of workout and certain songs make me work harder. When I create a new gym playlist I wait until I have a workout that I have been dreading (a half marathon perhaps) and listen to it then to entice me. It can also make housework go quicker (and a boring drive, but you shouldn’t be doing that really at the moment unless absolutely necessary). I discovered this 30 Day Song Challenge image doing the rounds on social media and sent it to a friend this morning; we each pick a song a day that either reminds us of each other, or that we like, that falls under the daily category then add it to a Spotify Playlist we created.
Make a timetable. Or set daily goals. Or make a to do list (my personal favourite, it’s so satisfying ticking off what you have done). Whatever you need to do to get up and do something everyday, instead of staying in your PJ’s and having a duvet day (of course, if you are unwell then please rest!) do something that at the end of the day you can say that you have achieved. Mine this week consists of indoor rowing at some point, study in the morning and house stuff in the afternoon. I am rather enjoying watching Piers Morgan with my morning coffee. Man has no filter, and whilst I don’t always agree with what he is saying, I totally agree with everything he says about idiots in this country ignoring the government’s advice/guidance on COVID19.
Read a book. This is something I rarely do and probably should do more of. I much prefer non-fiction to fiction, as I am a people person and like to learn about people. Any recommendations of biographies etc are welcomed! This is something I won’t do until I have finished the online learning.
Volunteer. The NHS have announced they need 250,000 volunteers to help in various different ways. If you and everyone else in your household is in good health then please consider becoming an NHS Volunteer Responder. You can help by collecting shopping, meds or other essentials for someone who is self-isolating, transport patients home who are fit for discharge, transport supplies between NHS estates, or (safest option and one that I would do during an MS relapse) check-in and chat – a befriending service over the phone for individuals at risk of loneliness. Find out more and sign up at www.goodsamapp.org
Anyway, that’s my top tips for this first week in isolation. Stay sane dear reader and don’t hesitate to get in touch with further ideas. I am usually an outdoor person and hate hate HATE being stuck indoors, but I am trying to approach this with a glass half full ideology in that I can have some me time and still be productive.