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The importance of routine during self-isolation

In this article, disability blogger Emma Muldoon looks at the health benefits that having a daily routine can bring, and gives her top-tips on how to stick to one.

The current Government advice to many in the disabled community is that we must shield and self-isolate at home for at least twelve weeks to protect ourselves from COVID-19 (coronavirus). Being at home for long periods of time and adjusting to this new way of life can be difficult. But having a daily routine is important for your health and helps create a purpose to the day, even on the difficult days. Here are some tips for creating your own routine during self-isolation.

Structure your day

It’s easy to feel like you are in a rut when there is no structure to the day. Having a plan for the day with clear tasks can keep you and your day on track. Start by having a set time for getting up in the morning, going to bed at night and mealtimes. Not only will this help maintain focus throughout the day, but it will also be good for physical and mental health. The body will get into a rhythm which will lead to much better sleep and wellbeing.

Allow flexibility

No matter how tempting it is to fill each day with lots of activities, it’s important to remember it isn’t always possible. It’s unnatural to be productive and on the go all the time. Having flexibility in your daily routine to ensure you get plenty of rest is vital. Plan important tasks and activities around when you feel most productive and leave the mundane tasks for when you are least productive. Figure out if you are an early bird or a night owl. Some days will be less productive than others and that is okay.

Gentle exercise and meditation

Incorporating exercise into your daily routine is important when self-isolating at home. This is particularly important because we aren’t getting the same exercise and body movements we would usually get when out and about. Block out time in your schedule each day or a few times a week depending on your ability and energy levels. Gentle workouts are just as effective so experiment to find what works best for you. Stretches, seated yoga, breathing exercises or a walk around the house a few times can be all that’s needed to boost your mood, increase energy levels and reduce stress.

Healthy eating

Since we are spending a lot more time at home now, it is a great time to make those delicious recipes you never found time to make before. Healthy eating is a great way to boost your immune system and keep it working well. Eating a range of healthy foods for a balanced diet will provide vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients which will keep you feeling strong and healthy. This will also complement the daily exercise to maintain physical and mental health.

Order food and prescriptions online

In general online ordering is incredibly helpful for day-to-day items and even more so in our current situation with the UK on lockdown. Online ordering has become a lifeline for many disabled people who are in self-isolation and don’t have friends or family who can help. Plan ahead and book food delivery slots in advance and make yourself known to supermarkets that you are vulnerable as they may be able to prioritise your delivery. Make use of online, apps and telephone services for ordering and organising delivery of prescriptions as well as contacting your GP and conducting hospital appointments over the phone in some circumstances. You can also register here to receive support from the Government, for example, with getting essential supplies or your basic care needs.

Make time for you and the things you enjoy

It’s normal to feel anxious and scared during these uncertain times. So it’s important to look after your mental health and dedicate time each day to doing things you enjoy to help you relax. This may be speaking to loved ones, writing your thoughts down in a journal, crafting, reading, baking, or watching your favourite TV shows. If you need to speak to someone please contact helplines such as Mind, Anxiety UK which has an online live chat serviceRethink Mental Illness or NHS  for support services in England and NHS24  in Scotland.

To read more from Emma, please visit her blog Simply Emma

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