The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a time of change for all of us and with change can come uncertainty. Therefore, looking after your wellbeing during this time in particular is key for you to keep feeling mentally and physically fit. For World Wellbeing Week, we’ve brought together some ideas to promote wellbeing.
Follow the tips below for a simple way to keep on top of your wellbeing in this unusual time:
C - Caring
Selfcare is very important for your wellbeing. Nurturing yourself means you can then care better for other people. It is important to listen to your body and mind and take out time when you need to, to maintain feeling healthy.
It is also good to have ‘me time’, where you can be open with yourself and reflect on how you have been feeling. Meditation is a great way you can open your mind and express your thoughts and feelings, reduce anxiety and be true to yourself.
O - Observe (nature)
Take time to stop and appreciate what is around you. There probably won’t be a time like this again, with the lack of cars and pollution, so what an opportunity to take time out in nature. I think you’ll agree, especially if you are in a city-setting, we have never heard so many birds and wildlife, so it’s a great time to go out and explore!
Spending time in nature can really help with anxiety. A great tip when exploring (but can also be done wherever you are) is to follow this technique: Acknowledge FIVE things you see, FOUR things you can touch, THREE things you can hear, TWO things you can smell and ONE thing you can taste. This should help you focus on the present and also appreciate what is around you.
R - Rest and Relaxation
You shouldn’t feel guilty if sometimes you need a day to recoup. You may feel like you haven’t done much physically, but with the current daily updates, and bombardment of information we are receiving through a variety of channels, this can also make us feel physically exhausted.
If you find it hard to switch off, here are some suggestions that might help:
- You can access a variety of meditation and adult sleep story videos through YouTube, which can help you to fall asleep.
- Find a good book to read before bed, which can help relax your body and help you to sleep.
- Your body needs to cool down slightly before you sleep, so although all your bed cushions and blankets may look nice, they could be preventing you from sleeping.
- Online you can find relaxation movements you can do in bed to release body tension and help you relax into sleep.
- Have a soothing bath, pamper yourself and let all your worries float away.
- Write down your worries, you won’t be able to fix them in bed and they will only distract you from relaxing/sleep. You can look at them with a fresh pair of eyes in the morning.
- If you can try and keep your bedroom just for sleeping, this can prevent distraction while you’re trying to relax. Therefore, try and refrain from playing your X-Box or studying in your bedroom.
Whether or not you need to get up at a particular time the next day, having a similar sleep routine each night is beneficial for your wellbeing.
O - Organisation
Just because your day-to-day life may not be ‘normal’ presently, it is still important to keep routine to your days. Structure is important to be able to still feel in control, make the most of your time and reduce stress.
It can be useful to create weekly or daily goals to motivate yourself to be productive. But make sure you schedule what you find fun and relaxing into these plans too!
N - Nutrition
Although your favourite fast food supplier might have reopened now, you don’t have to rush back, however tempting it may be. Of course, it is great to have a treat, but it is also important to look after your health with a balanced diet. This will not only help your physical wellbeing, but also your moods, cognitive behaviours, thoughts and feelings.
Yes, what you eat is really that powerful! This is because different foods contain specific nutrients, vitamins, supplements and minerals our bodies need to function efficiently and promote immunity.
A balanced diet includes eating at least five portions (roughly handful sized) of fruit and vegetables daily and a good source of protein, such as, meat, fish, or meat-supplements such as Tofu or Quorn. You also need a good variety of vitamins and minerals. The Eatwell Plate diagram is a good visual guide of a balanced diet with examples.
It is also important to note, that we eat for all sorts of reasons, not just hunger. Therefore, before you reach for your next snack, perhaps consider:
- Am I thirsty?
- Am I distracting myself from doing something I don’t want to, e.g. a household chore?
- Am I bored?
- Am I feeling low? Perhaps sad, stressed or anxious?
- Am I eating regular balanced meals?
A - Active
Exercise, love it or hate it, can improve mood, reduce stress and balance your wellbeing. This doesn’t mean everyday you have to exert yourself to the maximum, try instead looking forward to a daily afternoon walk and make the most of the fresh air. Or set yourself a challenge, similar to ‘Couch to 5K’ and build up to it, perhaps also trying to visit new destinations as you do so.
It is important to find an activity/sport that you enjoy, so you keep it up!
- Online workout videos
- Cycling – look into the many cycling schemes available
- Walking – you could even take your dog or a friend’s as long as you social distance
Even activities such as gardening or washing your car count towards physical activity and help boost your wellbeing. Or look at our ‘Keep moving to beat the blues’ blog for a fun way to keep active!
A is also for Appreciation – be thankful for the amazing NHS and its staff, who are working so hard to protect us and their families. Plus, all the other keyworkers, such as teachers, carers and supermarket staff!
If you do find yourself struggling in the current circumstances and not feeling yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help - talk to a GP or family and friends and listen to their advice.
Don’t struggle alone
If you have any questions, worries or concerns, then please get in touch with our Student Affairs team, who will be happy to help