How to social distance and remain well
Governments around the world are putting measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19 such as self-isolation and social distancing.
The New Scientist website explains social distancing as:
‘Practices in changes in behaviour that can help stop the spread of infections. These often include curtailing social contact, work and schooling among seemingly healthy individuals, with a view to delaying transmission and reducing the size of an outbreak.’
(For information on about social distancing, see the end of the blog)
As occupational therapists, we understand just how anxiety-provoking these measures can be, especially for those who are already vulnerable. But we have some tips and advice to share with you on how to remain ‘well’ when social distancing.
Establish a routine
A routine is essential to provide meaning and structure. We suggest setting time aside for exercise, housework, mealtimes and downtime. The busier you are, the quicker the time goes by!
Work from home – effectively
For those still working (from home) it’s more important than ever to write out a daily schedule to follow. Try to wake up at your normal time and set key goals and tasks for your day ahead. It’s also essential to get dressed! Getting up, showered and dressed will make you feel ready for the day. Try to find a space to work with a table that is away from your room. It’s important to distinguish the home and work boundaries, this will also help you to switch off at the end of your working day.
Take regular breaks
Just as we would normally be recommending, try to take regular, short breaks throughout your day. We are more productive after taking a 5-10-minute break every hour or so, as this rest bite will re-focus our minds.
If you are feeling particularly anxious, take a moment to practice some breathing techniques such as square breathing.
When we are at home it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. But we mustn’t forget to hydrate ourselves, as we need at least 2 litres of water a day to function. Even a 1% drop in hydration levels can leave us feeling fatigued.
Stay in contact
Thanks to technology, we can now stay in regular contact with family, friends and work colleagues over the phone or video chats! Staying at home doesn’t mean we can’t stay in contact. Schedule in daily calls, FaceTimes and Skypes!
Get some fresh air
The government have explained that social distancing shouldn’t get in the way of going outside! You can leave the house for exercise – just try to stay 2 meters away from other people.
Look after yourself
Above all, remember to look after yourself. Try to eat a balanced and healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables and aim for a ‘normal’ bedtime. Establishing a healthy sleep routine is paramount for our wellbeing. If you are finding it difficult to sleep, give yourself an hour or two of ‘wind down’ time, this could include having a bath, drinking some herbal tea, meditating and reading. Take a break away from your screen and the news and focus on yourself.
More on social distancing
The current UK government guidelines:
‘Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce the social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough
2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, varying your travel times to avoid rush hour, when possible
3. Work from home, where possible. Your employer should support you to do this.
4. Avoid large gatherings, and gatherings in smaller public spaces such as pubs, cinemas, restaurants, theatres, bars, clubs
5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media
6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services’
We hope these tips come in handy.
If you have any queries or would like more information about our occupational therapy services, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.