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We’re more than a month into lockdown. Katarina, our Marketing and PR Manager, has some tips on how to stay sane and healthy during these unprecedented and often difficult times.
I am sure that the coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t require an introduction and that all of us have had a taste of this new, strange world we now live in by now, one way or another.
On the 23rd of March, the UK government decided to put the country on lockdown to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the at-risk groups and the very brave medics, who I am in awe of every single day.
At the time this blog post was written, it has been exactly one month, one week and five days since I and so many others started seeing our homes as our places of work, leisure and everything in between (but hey who’s counting?!). A bit of “work-from-home” time may have sounded idyllic to start with and, I am not gonna lie, I do find a few days of that quite refreshing and productive.
However, more than a month into self-isolation, I’ve realised that I and many others were unprepared for the physical and mental consequences of the lockdown, the virus and the impact it has had on the economy and many other sectors of our everyday life. Studies show that loneliness, fatigue, lack of motivation, increased anger and mental health issues are some of the negative outcomes of self-isolation.
In the last one month, one week and five days I have had my up days and my down days, but saying that, I am a true believer of working through the difficult times, constantly moving forward and finding ways to keep myself healthy during the lockdown. On World Health Day, my colleagues shared images and advice on what helps them keep going during their time in self-isolation and I want to use this as an opportunity to share my own and the Passion Digital team’s tips on managing our health during lockdown.
Pick up the phone and call your parents or friends at least once a day. There are plenty of great apps and platforms out there that allow you to see your loved ones, host group chats and virtual parties. I am sure that you may have heard of Skype, Zoom and my personal favourite, Houseparty.
I start every day with a glass of lemon water and make my bed. Then, before work, I take a 30-minute walk and grab a coffee (takeaway, of course) from my local cafe (#supportlocalbusinesses). During the first half an hour of my working day I set my daily goals, but make sure that they are reasonable and there aren’t too many to build a sense of achievement when I check them off my list.
This is only a small part of my daily routine, but if I make time for it, these little steps make me feel in control and alive. These actions can be anything – for example, our Content Marketing Manager Rosie keeps a healthy and nutritious diet that makes her feel good about herself. Not only that, it is also great for your immune system and mood.
Physical activity is an amazing cure for body and soul, and the team at Passion Digital is all for it! Our Junior Paid Social Media Manager Katy is going out for morning runs, another colleague is doing exercise challenges and I do pre-recorded and live virtual fitness classes.
A few great at-home workout resources that I am using are free 30-minute live classes by Barry’s Bootcamp, yoga for any level by Yoga with Adriene and a short but effective plank challenge app for those times I would rather relax on the sofa but can spare seven minutes.
Coronavirus news is EVERYWHERE! Take time to understand how much information you can take in before it hits you… badly. Finding a good balance between keeping yourself educated and aware of the situation and absorbing everything that is in the tabloids is very important. I try to predict my reactions and mood daily. If needed I limit my social media intake, turn off my news notifications and only read the news from reputable sources and at a point of time that suits me.
It may be nice to distract yourself with fun activities in order to take your mind off the current circumstances. For example, Nathan, our UX designer, has recently purchased a Lego version of the coffee shop from Friends, Rosie does a fair bit of lovely crocheting and I have rediscovered my love of reading and cooking.
Whether you are self-isolating by yourself or with somebody, you need to make the space you live in nice. Rearrange your furniture, clean out things that you don’t need and create a comfortable environment where you can function and think. If you live with your partner or family, make sure that you have some alone time.
It is important to mention that now and then I remind myself that this is not a regular situation and that it may be hard to carry on with workouts, distractions, development and keeping the positivity afloat, as that can lead to a burnout. Sometimes we just want to feel sorry for ourselves and that is okay. Taking a little bit of time out of the day to be kind and considerate to ourselves is vital. My colleague Lola, our Content Strategist, does that by taking time to make herself a tasty smoothie. This can also be done with 10 minutes of meditation with Headspace, a piece of cake or a glass of wine.
In order to stay motivated on a daily basis I try to visualise where I am in the midst of this worldwide crisis. I direct my thoughts to opportunities and things I can control, either in the moment or after this is over. I compare my situation to other people’s, both those nearby and far away from me; I am trying to be grateful for the things that I have. I also think that all of us should give ourselves credit for doing something helpful for our society, even though it only requires us to stay inside, which seems like such a small thing to do.
My main and final piece of advice is to take one day at a time. Nothing lasts forever, and as long as there is the slightest movement forward with your body and your mind, you will emerge on the other side stronger, and with personal and professional insights that often only come during crises and challenges.