Well-being

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Staying well at home

We know that these uncertain times are unsettling. Being asked to stay at home, without close contact with our friends and family, is difficult. You might be feeling a bit scared, worried or lonely. These feelings are normal, and it’s important to know that you are not alone.

As a volunteer, you are a valued member of our Guide Dogs Family, so we wanted to reach out to provide some tools that could help you reduce stress, stay optimistic, and maintain wellbeing.

It’s okay not to be okay

Many of us are, understandably, worried about Coronavirus and the impact self-isolation will have on our lives. You have most likely had to delay your volunteering activities, while we’re being asked to stay at home. 

Changes to our day-to-day life are difficult and stressful, but there are things you can try that could really help your wellbeing. If you’re feeling anxious or worried about coronavirus, there are many different charities you can access support from right now. The Mental Health Foundation has also published specific advice for maintaining your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mindfulness

The NHS website advises us that paying more attention to the present moment and to thoughts and feelings can improve our overall mental wellbeing and help people enjoy life and understand themselves better.

There are now lots of apps available to help you start – or continue – your path to mindfulness. Most of these apps are free (at least at first) and offer short, guided meditations so it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner. The Mindful website offers a list of helpful resources to support your mental and emotional wellness through this time.

Physical wellbeing

Studies show that physical activity can improve our mental health and wellbeing and can help with: 

  • Sleep – Activity makes you feel more tired at the end of the day.
  • Mood – Physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy.
  • Routine – Maintaining a bit of normality throughout these uncertain times.

With gyms and leisure facilities closed, it may feel difficult to keep active in the ways you usually enjoy. However, there are still lots of ways to stay active at home or to make use of your one opportunity to get out of the house each day. A gentle walk (following guidance on social distancing), a daily cycle ride, yoga, gardening or even housework can help you stay active.

There are also plenty of workouts available free online:

  • Runner’s World has workouts for beginners through to marathon runners. With fundraising events cancelled, many are following the London Landmarks and offering medals for “Local Landmarks” runs.
  • Les Mills and Reebok have teamed up to bring free cardio workouts.
  • The Body Coach TV offers over 250 free workouts to choose from.

Nutrition

Here’s some food for thought – we live in a world where advice about what we need to eat changes regularly. But what we do know, is that what we eat has an impact on how we feel about ourselves, our mood and our health.

The NHS Eatwell guide shows how much we need to eat and from which food group for a balanced diet. And, if your cupboards are looking bare or you are trying to be more resourceful, try these options for restricted ingredients – Bootstrap CookMy Fridge Food, and Back of the Cupboard Meals.

Personal contact and self-isolation