COVID-19: tips and advice on social distancing

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve in the UK, I have decided to do my bit to help contain the spread of the virus by staying indoors and reducing social interaction.

This hasn’t been easy for me; as someone who goes to the gym several times a week, enjoys dining out and spending time in bars and pubs, it’s been difficult to adopt this new lifestyle.

However, for my family in Italy, this is nothing new. The nation was put on lockdown as the COVID-19 outbreak accelerated and it became Europe’s worst-affected country.

I have now spent almost a week indoors; here are a few tips which I have found to be particularly helpful.

1. A routine

It can be difficult to maintain a routine whilst you are working from home. However, it is important to maintain a routine even when you no longer have to do your usual commute. I still get up fairly early, shower, get dressed and eat breakfast. If the weather’s nice, I’ll have a warm drink outside in my garden to get some fresh air. Getting dressed out of your pyjamas is key here; I’m not saying you have to suit up, but getting dressed into comfortable clothing that isn’t pyjamas certainly helps me get into a more productive mindset.

2. Avoid working from your bed

This moves on nicely to another helpful tip; avoid working from your bed. It can be really tempting to sleep in, open up your laptop and begin working from the comfort of your bed. However, this makes me personally feel really lethargic. I take it one step further and refuse to work from my bedroom, opting for my living room or kitchen instead.

3. Exercise

Even if you’re confined to your home, it is still possible to get some exercise. Exercising from home can be as simple as a quick Youtube search for a home workout. Equally, you can easily purchase some home exercise equipment like dumbbells and barbells online. Gyms aren’t strictly banned, but I’m personally staying away as I don’t want to be responsible for possibly passing anything on to someone more vulnerable than me.

4. Spend some time offline

Naturally, you won’t always feel up to jumping around your garden or living room, but I always try to spend a few hours offline each day. Reading, listening and watching the news can become really overwhelming. Of course it’s important to keep updated, but this doesn’t have to take up the majority of your time. I recommend spending a few hours a day away from your devices and doing a few different activities instead. This might include cooking, reading, doing yoga, cleaning, gardening (if you have a garden), learning that language you’ve always wanted to learn, or even doing something creative like painting or drawing. Regardless of the activity, I find it helpful to absorb zero news media for an hour or two a day. This doesn’t mean that you are in denial about the current situation; it means that you are taking care of your emotional wellbeing during a time when our physical health is at risk. Keeping away from busy crowds is recommended, but keeping away from busy news feeds can also be helpful.

5. Keep in contact with your friends and family

Call them, talk to them, share stories… just because you’re indoors, it doesn’t mean you can’t socialise.

You can find more advice on staying at home here.

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