Look after the basics
|In times of crisis, it is easy to forget about our usual routines and the basics that help keep our wellbeing on an even keel. This section brings together resources to help you get better sleep, more exercise and keep you connected.|
Often the first thing to be disrupted in times of stress and anxiety is our sleep.
Sleep top tips
- Avoid screens, particularly social media and news sites before bed and on waking. It’s all too easy to disappear down the rabbit hole of social media.
- Turn off all the lights a few hours before bed apart from a lamp or candles. The absence of light stimulates melatonin production. Consider an eye mask or blackout blinds or curtains.
- Candles and red/orange-hued light bulbs simulate the campfires of cavemen times and trigger our brains to get ready for sleep.
- Have a bath before bed, then sleep in a cool room (18 degrees thought to be optimum), the drop in body temperature triggers melatonin production.
- Bed socks encourage peripheral vasodilation and help optimise body temperature.
Free sleep resources for NHS
- Sleepio sleep improvement program – use code NHS2020
- Insomnia Clinic – if you are struggling with insomnia, you can get support through an online course with Insomnia Clinic. To access this course, please email Kathyrn Pinkham. For immediate solutions to your sleep problems, you can access this sleep webinar.
Physical Activity Top Tips
- Move your body daily, outdoors if you can.
- Green spaces and sunlight improve wellbeing by inducing alpha waves in the brain and stimulating serotonin production.
- Break up sitting time, stretch, walk around, jump up and down – whatever takes your fancy – at least hourly.
- Just 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight in the morning, particularly blue light exposure, has been shown to be beneficial for sleep, fatigue, memory, and focus.
- Conversely limiting exposure to blue light in the evening can help with sleep. Ways to do this include blue light blocking glasses, darkened rooms, avoiding screens and light bulbs with red or orange hues.
Free resources for yoga and exercise
- Fiit is a fitness app with hundreds of online classes from HIIT to Yoga and more. They are offering 3 months free to NHS staff. Take advantage of this today and sign-up for their app.
- Yoga with Adrienne (free yoga practice videos on YouTube)
- CorePower Yoga (free YouTube yoga and exercise videos)
- FitnessBlender (free YouTube exercise and workout videos)
- Exercise and local community offerings
- HealthFlix is a series of free online classes from international leaders in health, wellbeing, psychology and lifestyle, designed to help us cope in this time of global crisis and beyond.
Connect with People
Connecting with others has never been more vital:
- Consider how you can maintain connections in your workplace and with family and friends.
- Consider buddying less experienced team members with more senior members.
- Do facilitate team cohesion and try to foster strong supportive links between team members and managers.
- Allow staff time to be with and support each other and encourage activities and discussions also unrelated to COVID where possible.
- It will be important for managers and team leaders to role model a caring and cohesive team approach – we’re all in this together.
Evidence shows that cohesion between personnel is highly correlated with mental health and that the resilience of a team may be more related to the bonds between team members than the coping style of any individual – taken from Covid trauma response working group rapid guidance, March 2020.
Connect with Nature
Spending as little as five minutes in nature is beneficial, if you can’t get outside we know that even looking at a picture of nature can have the same effects.
Try watching this awe-inspiring video and take notice of how you feel afterward. Watching awe-inspiring things can help you gain perspective. You can get further resources like this on the Greater Good in Action website.
- Find something to make you smile; acknowledging the things we are grateful for helps foster positivity and wellbeing.
- Covid Kindness – Do something for someone else with the expectation of nothing in return, see how that makes you feel.
- Try to be kind to yourself -_’We can’t practice compassion to others if we can’t treat ourselves kindly’ – Brene Brown. You can start today with this self-compassion workbook to help you practice mindful kindness to self.
What do you need to do to fill up your tank? It may be to move your body, allow yourself to rest, switch off social media, cuddle your children or partner or cook a nourishing meal.
- Recognise unhelpful coping strategies that you may have adopted such as drinking too much, constantly checking social media and news or avoiding things that keep you well such as eating well or exercising.
- Limit social media, news, and email checking to certain times of the day. Avoid checking your phone first thing in the morning.
Try to answer the following questions in your own time:
- What one thing can you start doing today that will make a difference in your life?
- What one thing can you stop doing today that will make a difference in your life?
You can also use this excellent self-care workbook as a way to detangle and make sense of all that’s on your mind.