- 01 April 2020
- 9 min read
Tips for nurses when not working and in Coronavirus lockdown
Chloe, Registered Mental Health Nurse, has been thinking about activities nurses can do when not at work during the Coronavirus lockdown measures.
The world that we’re living in due to the current Covid-19 pandemic is a scary and unfamiliar one for most.
A government imposed “lockdown” isn’t something that I think most people would have ever imagined possible, but here we are.
I am fully in support of the lockdown, I think it’s the only way we can slow and eventually stop the spread of this virus, if anything I think much of the country needs to be taking it more seriously.
I’ve seen far too many people not sticking to the government guidelines, under-estimating the seriousness of this pandemic and quite honestly putting more people in danger.
However, that doesn’t mean I under estimate the massive impact this lockdown and the overall situation is having on people’s mental health and general well-being.
Well-being is something I’m incredibly passionate about so I wanted to create a list of suggestions that might help some people to feel a little less overwhelmed by the current situation.
Exercise from home
There are countless free apps and online resources available to you.
YouTube is a particularly great place for this.
There are work outs for all levels of fitness, to target different areas of your body, with or without any work out equipment.
You don’t even need to do a traditional “work out,” you could do an online Zumba class, yoga session, pilates, dance class.
Whatever floats your boat there will be something on YouTube you can follow along to and get moving.
Exercises releases endorphins, which are hormones that make you feel happier and less stressed.
You can also get endorphins from eating chocolate, so that’s also another option!
The present guidelines allow for people to leave their house to exercise once a day, providing you aren’t symptomatic of course.
Make the most of this uncharacteristic British weather and go for a walk, run or bike ride.
Be sure to follow social distancing rules though and avoid other people that don’t live in your house whilst out.
Limit your time on social media
Try to limit the amount of information you see about the current situation.
It is of course important to make sure you’re aware of the latest government advice, but considering avoiding the news and/or social media.
If you’re constantly being bombarded with different information, much of which is overly fear-mongering, then you’re going to feel overwhelmed.
There is also ways you can block certain words from appearing on your social media (search online if you’re not sure how to do this) so this is well worth doing if you want to keep using social media but want to restrict what you’re seeing.
Plan your day
If you’re off work/university during this lockdown, try to plan out your day a little bit.
You don’t need to create yourself a timetable with military precision, but a little structure will make everything feel a little less overwhelming.
Maybe create yourself a to-do list for each day, or list a few activities you want to complete in the morning, and other things you want to do in the afternoon.
Most of us aren’t used to having so much time on our hands, it probably felt exciting at first, but I imagine the novelty very quickly wears off.
Try to avoid eating lots of junk food, despite the boredom and temptation.
Spikes and drops in your blood sugar will make your mood even worse.
If you’re on lockdown with family or housemates, being moody is not going to help you all get a long peacefully!
Learn a new skill
Ever always wanted to do something but never had chance?
Well now is your time! Maybe start learning a new language, order yourself some knitting needles.
Whatever it is you want to do/learn.
But on the other hand, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be ‘productive’ during this lockdown.
Some people will find this helpful, others won’t. It’s important to think about what you need right now.
For me personally, it’s keeping busy and being productive.
But I know not everyone is like that.
Do a good deed
If you’re feeling well, consider helping out others in your local area that might be more vulnerable.
If you know there’s someone you lives nearby who’s a bit older or has physical health conditions, consider dropping your contact number through their letter box so they know they can reach out to you if needed.
Plan a trip for the future
Mentally plan a future trip abroad you want to take.
Pick a destination, find a hotel you love, make a list of activities you want to do whilst there, maybe even some of the local foods you want to try.
Then once we’ve got the all clear to travel again, you can just go ahead and book it.
I know a lot of people are devastated that upcoming holidays are cancelled, so this might help to cure that wanderlust.
Stay in contact
Staying in contact with friends and family despite not being able to see them is really important.
Skype people, call and text them.
Make it old school and send them a letter or a personalised photo card so they know you’re thinking of them.
I’ve even sent a couple of friends that I know are really struggling at the moment a little present in the post to hopefully put a smile on their face.
Plan to cook one of your favourite meals, unless that meal involves pasta because you might be hard pressed to find any at the moment!
Cook something you've always wanted
A similar idea, cook something that you’ve always thought about making before but never got round to.
Maybe you’ve always wanted to cook a completely vegan meal, or make a curry from scratch.
Find a recipe online or in a cook book and go for it!
Get some sleep
Try to stick to a regular sleeping pattern.
If you’re off work or uni it can be hard to stick to a routine, but it’s worth trying to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at roughly the same time each morning to avoid messing up your circadian rhythm.
Find some DIYs on Pintrest, maybe paint or draw a picture, get yourself one of those adult colouring books.
Have a massive clear out.
Get ahead on your spring cleaning.
Maybe it’s your clothes that need sorting out, or your garage.
Set aside a pile to donate to charity once the shops re-open and maybe some items to sell online.
Limit your screen time
Hours and hours staring at a screen will give you a headache, make you feel lethargic and mess with your sleep.
Avoid sitting around in your pyjamas all day.
Some people might prefer to get dressed into ‘normal clothes’ whereas others might prefer slouchy/comfy clothes.
Whatever works best for you, just avoid sitting in PJs for days and days.
Catch up on work
Got a deadline upcoming?
Get ahead on your uni work/work projects!
Even if the deadline is months away, it’s worth starting now.
It will take the pressure off a bit closer to the time, and mean that once we’re able to start socialising again you’ll have more free time for friends and family.
Considering trying mindfulness and/or meditation.
This might not work for everyone but some people find it useful for taking the edge off their stress/anxiety.
Again there are loads of great ‘follow along’ style videos on YouTube for this.
Have an at home ‘spa night’.
Go all out and have a bubble bath, exfoliate, hair mask, face mask, cheeky glass of something alcoholic.
Whatever helps you to de-stress and switch off.
If you live with other people, considering creating your own “championship.”
Play every board/card/video game you have in your house, create your own points-based system and then keep a running tally of the score.
Put a few incentives in place, like maybe the loser has to buy a round of drinks when the pubs re-open, or the winner gets to pick the film of the choice for your next movie night.
Volunteer to support the NHS.
If you’re someone that likes to keep busy the NHS are currently looking for volunteers to help with all kinds of things such as dropping off medication to those who cannot currently leave their homes and chat with people over the phone who might be isolated and lonely at the moment.
There’s loads of different ways you can get involved to support both your local community and the NHS at the moment.
These are just a few of the things I recommend but I’m sure you can come up with a few of your own too.
The important is that we all need to be taking care of ourselves and our own well-being, as well as supporting those around us.