With more of us than ever working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to feel stressed, anxious and isolated. Remember, you’re not alone in this, and there are lots of things you can do to give your wellbeing a boost.
Here are five tips for boosting your wellbeing whilst being at home with coronavirus.
Talk to your friends and loved ones.
Keep in touch with your friends, loved ones or colleagues. Talking and sharing your thoughts and feelings when you’re feeling stressed or anxious can give you a fresh perspective, as well as enable you to process the experience and focus on ways to move forward positively. Although you may not be able to meet in person, you can make use of the telephone, social media and email.
Stay in contact with friends via social media, but try to avoid or mute accounts if you find they are sensationalistic and raising your stress and anxiety levels. You may be finding yourself checking news websites more than usual, so it’s a good idea to monitor your usage and consider adjusting the time you’re spending on them if you’re finding it’s having a negative impact on your wellbeing. You need to keep informed, but make sure you’re getting your information from reputable sources that provide a balanced view.
A simple way we can help to control our stress response is through being aware of and controlling our breathing.
Proper breathing physically helps us to relax and calm down and prevents anxiety-associated hyperventilation. Calming breathing can be used anywhere and at any time to help calm you down and relax.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to calming breathing:
- Position yourself in a quiet environment
- Make sure the air temperature is comfortable
- Sit comfortably in a chair or in a relaxed position
- Drop your shoulders naturally, so that your lungs can fully expand
- Gently lift your head and fix your eyes straight ahead of you; don't strain
- Take 5 slow steady breaths
- Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
- Begin 'Calming Breathing' by breathing in easily and gently to the count of three, breathing out to the same count
- This breathing should not be noticeable to others, only your calmness should be visible
Give yourself a couple of minutes alone each day to practice diaphragmatic or ‘belly’ breathing; you will find it becomes a little oasis of tranquillity and calm in your day.
- Lie on the floor placing a small pillow under your head and another under your knees (this is optional)
- Place your hands flat across your stomach, with just the tips of your fingers touching
- 'Bell' out your stomach as you breathe in, filling the lower lobes of your lungs with air (your fingers should move apart) and count to three
- As you breathe out to the count of three, flatten your stomach muscles (your fingers will be drawn together again)
Need a bit of extra guidance with these techniques? Visit stresscontrolaudio.com for free mindful breathing and belly breathing tracks that guide you through some simple yet effective breathing techniques.
Exercise can help us to manage stress and anxiety as it changes parts of the brain which regulate stress and also provides a distraction from anxious thoughts.
You don’t have to move far to get active. Lots of exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home. Here are a few ideas:
- Bodyweight exercises – there’s no need for any equipment with this type of strength workout
- Chair exercises – ideal for strengthening your muscles if you have mobility or health problems
- Yoga – many yoga teachers share poses and sequences on YouTube
The NHS has an online fitness studio, which is a searchable resource containing video tutorials of specific exercise activities, from belly-dancing to chair pilates.
For more information on how to look after yourself when working from home, download our Working from Home guide for employees.