6 Tips for Staying Healthy While Staying Home
Many of us are worried about the ongoing COVID-19 situation, experiencing all sorts of anxieties about our health, our loved ones, our finances, and how we are going to cope during this period. These are unprecedented times, and it is no easy feat to state how much COVID-19 has affected all of us so far.
Nonetheless, the upcoming #stayhome circuit breaker measures implemented by the Singapore government will drastically change life as we know it. Given that our usual routines will be altered beyond our control, how do we then maintain a sense of normalcy essential for our mental health?
If there is just one recommendation that I could give that would make the greatest impact on your emotional and mental health, it would be this:
Create and maintain a regular routine
Here are some essential tips for creating and maintaining a regular routine during these times:
01 | Make time for movement everyday
Being in a confined space for long periods of time can feel depressing. Whether indoors or outdoors, it makes a big difference to your mood when you schedule time for 30 minutes of movement every day.
Here are some ideas for moving daily:
- Take a walk or jog around the neighbourhood park
- Do some light stretches or yoga exercises
- Try a home workout on YouTube
- Find some fun ways to incorporate exercises that you have been doing outside
For this #stayhome period, I am looking forward to restarting Insanity (a home workout programme), and attending some of the ‘live’ fitness classes that multiple fitness professionals will be offering via web conferencing in place of my regular gym workouts.
02 | Stay connected with others
Maintaining healthy relationships with others is important for our mental health.
Here are some ideas for staying connected while staying home:
- Organising daily or weekly accountability calls with friends or colleagues
- Holding social gatherings via video conferencing (Our book club is reading Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion via Zoom this month!)
- Having a Netflix Party with friends
- Staying in touch with friends and family members via phone messaging, video calls, or via social media platforms
03 | Schedule in quiet time
It is easy to turn to our mobile phones and laptops continuously throughout the day, since it will be our main form of communication with the outside world during this period of time. It is important for our emotional and mental health to schedule quiet time for ourselves and disconnect with the outside world from time to time.
Here are some of my favourite apps for unwinding throughout the day:
04 | Maintain regular sleep and wake hours
It is not a big deal if you wake up late the next day after a night of binge-watching Netflix till late. After all, there is no morning rush hour traffic to contend with, and maybe even no one to check if you are ‘at work’ on time.
However, it is easy for this habit to spiral downwards quickly, and you may find yourself sleeping later and waking up later more and more frequently. Having irregular sleep hours leads to a number of problems, such as difficulties falling sleeping and staying asleep, and also fatigue and difficulties concentrating during the day.
As tempting as it may be to forgo regular routines during this period, try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day.
05 | Set out key tasks for the day
Having time flexibility is one of the likely benefits of #stayhome. Without having to commute to the office and having someone to tell you what to do and when, it is easy to feel that the days are passing by in a blur.
Whether you will be working from home, or whether you are taking this time to explore something else or to take a break, set out a few key tasks for your day.
It could be a simple list of 3 to 5 things that you would like to accomplish for the day, such as:
- Read 10 pages of a book
- Call Grandma
- Pack kitchen cabinet
- Send email to Jenny
- Put on a face mask
06 | Block off time for self-care
Here is the critical step to making self-care work – blocking off time on your calendar for it.
Self-care is something that rarely happens by chance. It needs to be scheduled in just like any thing else that you would like to do. Block off time in your calendar for exercise, personal reflection, and other things that you would like to do for self-care, such as reading or listening to music.
For me, time for exercise and my morning routine are the first things that I block off on my calendar every week, even before I schedule in any work commitments. This ensures that I always have some time during the week for self-care, no matter how busy I may be.
As we weather the storm given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation, I hope you keep in mind the importance of creating new routines and maintaining a regular routine during this period of time. I also hope that you found this post insightful in giving you some suggestions on new routines that you can set up during this period.