Lockdown survival kit

These are testing times indeed, the likes of which none of us has experienced before.

How exactly the world of work, training, finance & government is changed irrevocably afterwards is not clear yet, but I’m sure it will change in a massive way…

Sticking to the basics at a time like this is crucial – it keeps things simple and ensures we stay well and continue to function & actually survive this crisis. 

Wash your hands. Stay at home. Save lives. Protect our NHS. 

The health triangle shows us 3 aspects of health – all of which are under threat from this COVID-19.

Health triangle

We need to focus on these basics to look after our own health at this critical time.

I prefer to think of ‘connection’ rather than social health, which is another term used to explain this model. We have had to break physical contact to beat the spread of the virus, however we face a threat to our health because we’ve had to make this massive change. Our physical access to exercising being limited is also a major threat to health, as is the endless 24/7 stream of bad news and worse to come if we do not break the cycle…

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So what can we do to look after our health? 

The key is to accept that this is happening & there is nothing we can do to change it. Adjust our thinking and learn to surf the wave of what lockdown brings. 

The 5-a-day you need for mental strength today, more than ever!

5 ways to wellbeing

1. Connect 

Humans are social beings – we do well around others & miss contact when we can’t get it – like right now in lockdown – if we aren’t careful. We don’t like to feel alone or isolated in general, although some of us are more comfortable in our own company than others. For some people – not being in the office and around others on a regular basis is a massive change to deal with at this time. Don’t under-estimate that. 

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Right now – we can still maintain a connection with others, even if we can’t physically be together. Using our mobile devices has never been more acceptable & necessary. 

Who are you going to FaceTime today?

Line managers – think about checking in with your team, rather than checking up. Maintaining this connection with your people is crucial during the major adjustment most of us are making as people struggle with homeschooling, finding a quiet place to work etc etc

2. Be active

Use your daily chance to get outside for exercise, whether it’s a walk, cycle, run or whatever you enjoy doing. Maintain the distancing rule of 2 metres and do this activity from your home. 

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Are you exercising with Joe Wicks each morning? 

Exercise makes us feel good, the release of chemicals, the improvement over time, our improved metabolism, benefits for sleeping and exercise has even been proven to be more effective than anti-depressants to combatting depression. 

I try to get my exercise in early in the day. Do whatever suits you. Do the best you can with what you have available, wherever you are stuck for this period. Something is better than nothing.

Nutrition and hydration are key for physical and mental energy & health – again, do the best you can with what you have available during lockdown.

3. Keep learning

One of the positives of this period for many of us is the gift of time. Time is often quoted as being the most valuable commodity available there is in this life. What a gift to receive! 

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If you find that you have some extra time because you don’t have to commute, iron or go all the other places you used to go – then why not use this time productively? Learn an instrument – Fender are giving free lessons for 3 months! There are all sorts of freebies out there right now, find a look for something to suit you. The trick is finding something you will enjoy doing. What about fixing something, putting up that shelf you have been meaning to do for ages? Having a de-clutter… You don’t have to enrol in anything formal – I just learned how to make a house sign on YouTube using my palm router. 

Neuroplasticity proves that our brains can develop and grow, even as we age – protect yourself against dementia as well as having some fun. Try something new!

4. Take notice

Enjoy the moment. All we actually have is what we are doing right now – if you can learn to engage with that, you will calm your mind & improve your focus. This isn’t just about breathing exercises & yoga – we can find mindfulness opportunities in all corners of everyday life when we know how to find them. high performing teams and athletes have embraced these practices and reaped then benefits, so why shouldn’t you?

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I love to notice what’s around me in nature, which you can do as you exercise once a day outside. Don’t wear your headphones, but choose instead to listen to the sounds of nature – I bet you hear more now that there is less traffic and people around, even less aircraft overhead. Get curious too – what kind of bird was that? Was it male or female? Look it up when you get home… Notice smells when you are preparing food – chopping coriander or ginger, how it feels to gently rub your fingers over a rosemary plant in your garden and then smell your fingers. Take pleasure in those moments. Forget about email, the bills, the virus – just for a moment or two, but that’s what it’s all about. 

5. Give

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Our NHS, emergency responders, key workers and essential staff are giving so much for us – if you are reading this and are one of those amazing people at this challenging time – thank you! Giving something to others, even if it just is a smile or our time, is proven to make us feel good and improves our outlook, wellbeing and happiness.

5 Comments. Leave new

Thanks Andy – I always read what you write, and it does help me, even more so with the Coronavirus changes 👍

[…] Like the five fruit and veg you’re supposed to eat every day for good physical health, there are five scientifically proven things to do every day for good mental health. These are: Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give. You can read more about them in this blog.   […]

[…] Like the five fruit and veg you’re supposed to eat every day for good physical health, there are five scientifically proven things to do every day for good mental health. These are: Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Take Notice and Give. You can read more about them in this blog.  […]

[…] with other people is one of the ‘five ways to well-being’ set out by the NHS. This can mean having a heart-to-heart conversation with a good friend or it can […]