Who would have thought that we would be spending a large proportion of 2020 under lockdown and self-isolation?
This year has started off very bizarre with the unexpected turn of events happening globally.
The Coronavirus, which causes the disease – COVID19 has taken the world by surprise and we have all had to adapt to the new quarantine rules that governments have had to implement into our daily lives. No-one really knows how long this is going to go on for and we hope and pray that it will soon end.
There are ways of coping with the stress and anxiety that comes with self-isolation and social restrictions. We will cover some really helpful advice on what to do while being isolated in our homes. Some of the advice is obvious but some of the following advice will hopefully be beneficial to you and help you deal with the crisis.
The best way to cope with this new way of life is to keep active physically and mentally. If you are unable to work due to the current crisis then you will need to find activities that will keep you sane.
Dealing With Anxiety
Stress and anxiety is the minds natural response to threats or danger. Many of us are unaware of what could happen during this Coronavirus outbreak but what you must remember is that EVERYONE is having to deal with this.
There are people worldwide from all walks of life that are going through the same anxiety as you from celebrities, politicians, health workers, factory workers, bankers, rich or poor and everyone else in-between. All of them are in self-isolation just like me and you.
Not one person is immune to COVID19 and we are all experiencing the same stress response. There are easier ways of dealing with the unknown and anxiety that comes with a crisis like this.
Relaxation and Meditation
Now is the perfect time to introduce a regular and daily relaxation exercise. Deep breathing techniques and meditation have helped people exponentially over the years and the benefits are huge.
Just 5 – 10 minutes of deep breathing exercises can reduce blood pressure and ease stress. If you combine this with soothing music and mindful meditation then you will notice a significant difference in your well-being.
You can get free music on Youtube to assist in your relaxation and meditation. There are so many out there that are really good and last for over an hour. Some are shorter and last for 10 – 20 minutes which is all you need really. Even 10 minutes a day will help you cope with stress but you need to be consistent.
If you search for mediation, mindfulness and relaxation music on Youtube then you will be able to access thousands of videos with soothing music. You will also need to learn the techniques for meditation which is for another article. You can find further information to help you online or on Youtube as it takes a little practice.
There are some amazing meditation apps on the app store. Some are paid and others are free.
The best ones are:
Meditation App (subscription with a free trial)
Headspace (paid subscription)
Relax Meditation (free trial)
Mindfulness (free at present)
Smiling Mind (free at present)
Breathe, Calm Down (Free deep breathing app)
Food That Helps Reduce Anxiety
There are plenty of foods that are great for eliminating the feeling of anxiety which you should try. I have listed a few of the most obvious ones below:
Egg yolk has been proven to help your moods because they have high tryptophan content which helps create serotonin. Serotonin is an amino acid that regulates mood and behavior as well as your sleep patterns.
Eggs also have high Vitamin D content which is essential for your moods and well-being.
Chocoholics will be pleased that this is an essential food for anxiety. Yes, we all love milk chocolate as it tastes nicer but the cocoa content is not as high as it is in dark chocolate and this is what is essential for the serotonin release.
If you can eat dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa then you will notice the benefits if eaten on a regular basis. It has a bitter taste which is the reason why most go for the milk chocolate varieties but dark chocolate is much better for your health and mental health.
A handful of Brazil nuts on a daily basis will release the antioxidant – Selenium which has many health benefits. Experts say that its anti-carcinogenic too so that could help prevent cancer. Selenium can also improve mood and that’s why they are an important source of food to help with anxiety.
This yellow spice which is used in curries and various Asian dishes is highly potent and has huge health benefits. It also has massive benefits in lowering anxiety levels by reducing oxidative stress which in turn, can cause disease.
Try using this in some of your meals or in a smoothie. Be careful as it can stain clothes, kitchen surfaces, and utensils.
You can buy chamomile tea bags and brew the teabag in hot water. It’s a herbal remedy that has been used for centuries that will help with relaxing. Many people take Chamomile before bedtime to help them sleep.
Chamomile can help relieve anxiety symptoms in the short term so it’s a great idea to add this to your list of anxiety-busting tools.
The essential way to get through this difficult time is to keep active physically and mentally. You could have a regular fitness schedule either in the morning or in the evening. There are plenty of ways to keep fit in this self-isolation period.
You can still go out and exercise even though we are in self-isolation.
Why not try some of the fitness videos available on Youtube? You can do a search for various levels of fitness available on the platform which are free.
Getting out into the great outdoors for your once-a-day exercise practice will help you physically and mentally but don’t forget it needs to be local so please stick to the government guidelines. A simple walk with the dogs or on your own if you don’t have a dog is enough to keep you active.
Were you one of the many people that attended the gym or gym classes? You may be missing the classes that are available at your local gym with the personal trainer?
Check out Fit Mama’s Facebook page from the UK
You can find various apps available online to help with your fitness activities.
Why not contact your PT and ask them to do classes on social media like Facebook Live? That way you can still do the classes and go back to them at any time as they will be saved on their Facebook page. Zoom is an app that you can download and use with other group members where the PT can do the class together with you and other members of the group.
Start A Hobby
Now is the perfect time to start a hobby now that the majority of us are at home. Hobbies can be anything from art & craft to photography and anything that is creative. Being a creative person myself, I know that the creative process can be very fulfilling as well as a good time consumer. Do you love music? If so then maybe you have an instrument that you haven’t had time to use over the years. This is the perfect time to use it and perfect your musical skills.
Learn A New Skill
There is an abundance of ways of learning a new skill and it’s all done online. If you want to learn for free then once again Youtube is the perfect platform where you can learn.
There are also websites like Udemy which offer courses at various different levels of expertise. There are free ones available but you have to pay for most of them. Some are quite expensive but you get ones that have huge discounts. Udemy covers almost every skill imaginable and today would be a good time to learn something new or brush up on an existing skill.
Linked In has a new learning division which includes certifications for every course completed. It’s called “Linked In Learning” (previously called lynda.com)
Like Udemy, Linked In Learning has many courses available that cover many topics and skill levels.
Be Self Sufficient
Plant Some Veggies
Why not be self-sufficient and grow some fruit and veg? If you have a garden then you can allocate some space to plant some vegetables and maybe some fruit. Tomatoes can be planted in grow bags and placed in a sunny spot.
If you have some room for a small to the medium-sized greenhouse then you can grow all sorts of food in there. Prices range from very cheap for a 4 tier plastic greenhouse to a full-sized glass one. You would only need one of the cheaper plastic ones to start growing some lettuce. There are plenty of seed varieties that you can start off in a small greenhouse or in the window of your kitchen in small pots.
Potatoes can be grown in grow bags that you can fill up with compost and soil. They will need watering on regular occasions if not daily but you will see some results over the summer months and you can have your own organic potatoes.
There are herb pouches available at a reasonable price that you fill with soil. You can attach it to your fence as it’s quite large and it consists of around 70 pouches. We grow herbs and even garlic in them and it’s a great way of having your own herb garden.
Broccoli grows really well in medium to large-sized pots and they grow really quickly. They need watering every day but you will soon see the results as long as they are looked after.
Make Your Own Bread
You will of noticed that the supermarkets are emptying rapidly every day. The majority of essential items are easily available to you from the supermarkets but certain things will sell quicker than others.
It’s not easy to make your own toilet roll but you can make your own bread with the most simple ingredients.
If you have a bread maker then lucky you as all you will need is:
1: One cup and a quarter of the water
2: 2 tbsp of olive oil
3: 2 tbsp of dried milk powder
4: 2 tbsp of sugar
5: 1 teaspoon of salt
6: 3 or 4 cups of flour
7: 1 and a quarter teaspoons of yeast
8: Some bread improver (if you have any but not essential)
There are plenty of recipes for bread online and some do differ but this is how we do ours and it turns out great.
Make Your Own Hand Sanitiser
You are probably having trouble buying this right now. If you are lucky enough to get some then you will be paying over the odds for it.
There is a recipe for your own sanitizer and it’s fairly simple.
You will need:
1: Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl)
2: Aloe Vera gel
3: essential oil.
If you can buy some rubbing alcohol online (you can still get this if you are lucky), then you will need to add 2/3 of a cup of Alcohol and 1/3 of a cup of Aloe Vera gel. You need to mix the solution together with about 6 – 10 drops of essential oil like Tea Tree or any variety of choices.
Once you’ve mixed it all together you can then use a funnel to pour the mixture into pump or spray bottles. It’s not a very thick mixture so a small spray bottle will do the job very well.
How To Build The Immune System
There are many ways to do this. The most well-known methods are pretty obvious and include eating fruits and veg high in Vitamin C and D.
For a great source of Vitamin C, juice lemons into warm water with a dash of honey. It’s the most well-known recipe for colds and flu and the most effective.
Both vitamins C & D are responsible for building a strong and healthy immune system. We have a little article on Vitamin C here.
Vitamin D is really powerful and an essential part of keeping that immune system strong. The sun is the best method for absorbing Vitamin D as long as you don’t overdo the suntan. There are various foods that are high in Vitamin D and here now follow a few suggestions:
Sardines, Tuna, and Salmon
Any foods fortified with Vitamin D like breakfast cereals and Orange Juice.
Cod Liver Oil
If you can’t get these essential vitamins through food or Vitamin D through the Sun then the next best thing is supplements.
There are plenty available on the market or at health stores. Just do a search online for Vitamin D supplements and you should find what you are looking for.
So, self-isolation shouldn’t be bad for everyone and the best way to deal with it is to tell yourself – it is what it is!
A healthy mind means a healthy body and you should try and watch inspirational videos, listen to positive affirmations watch TED talks or motivational Youtube videos. All of these can be watched for free online or on Youtube.
It has been proven that constant stress can lower your immune system and at times like the present is when you need to try and stay positive.
Stay away from the media if you can as it’s full of doom and gloom. Negative news attracts more attention than positive news and that’s why the media sensationalize news that is full of negativity.
It’s human nature to click on a news article that features the headline “elderly lady gets mugged by masked youth” than the headline “elderly lady gets helped across the street by caring teenager”.
The best way to deal with anxiety is to switch off from this negativity and keep an eye on your lifestyle.