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Keeping yourself well

Coronavirus is affecting everyone’s life right now. Here are some ideas to help you stay as well as you can at this time and manage key areas of your daily life during the pandemic.

Eat well

What you eat is important for your health and your immune system. Stick to regular mealtimes, have a healthy diet (not too much sugar, fat or salt, have at least five portions of fruit and veg a day) and stay hydrated.

If you’re concerned that you are eating more than you usually do, keep track of what you eat and drink with a food diary.

As we're shopping infrequently, make the most of what's available:

  • Plan meals ahead of time and make a shopping list before you go to the shops or order online 
  • Maximise the use of your freezer: reduce waste by freezing leftover dinners or bulk cook meals and freeze for another time
  • Buy nutrition-packed items that keep for a week or longer, such as grains, beans and sauces in jars 
  • Use up fresh food by blending fruit, yoghurt and milk with oats to make smoothies or make homemade soups with leftover vegetables and stock

For more healthy eating ideas, visit the One You website from the NHS.  

Keep moving

Find ways that you can keep your body as active as you can while at home. Schedule in time every day to get some exercise and set yourself targets. Try to reach the recommended levels of 150 minutes per week.

You’ll find plenty of virtual exercise classes online, but this activity can be anything that increases your breathing and heart rate. So activities such as gardening or housework all count.

For home exercise ideas and routines for older people and those with long term health conditions, visit Active Norfolk. You can access a wide range of online resources and download a home exercise pack specifically designed for vulnerable adults.

Also see Educational resources for learning at home, which has ideas for activities for children and young people.

Sleep well

It’s normal to have the occasional ‘bad night’. But if you have sleep problems over a longer period, it can start to impact on your physical and mental health.

Try to have regular sleeping hours, waking, getting up and going to bed at a similar time each day. If you’re not sleeping well try to avoid napping at other times.

Creating good bedtime routines (avoiding alcohol, caffeine and stimulating tv at bedtime) can help towards a better sleep pattern.

Find out more from the NHS One You website about getting better sleep.

Manage your stress

It’s OK to not feel OK. Life is tough for many at the moment and it’s natural to feel a little more worried. Talk to family, friends or your faith group about how you are feeling.

Five Ways to Wellbeing offer some useful tips on giving yourself a boost. For support with how you are feeling, contact the Norfolk and Suffolk First Response helpline (open 24 hours, seven days a week) – 0808 196 3494.

Plan in time to get some fresh air every day, as part of your daily exercise such a walk or cycle or if you are self-isolating, sitting in the garden, on a balcony or ensure you have time with your windows open.

For information about issues which may affect your mental health such as housing, debt, relationships or legal issues,  visit our mental wellbeing pages.

Practising relaxation and meditation every day is proven to reduce stress and promote feelings of wellbeing. Try our relaxation exercise.

Keep occupied: take time to enjoy an existing hobby or start a new one.

Reading or listening to an audio or music can improve your mood and allow you to relax. The Norfolk Library Service has a range of online resources such as eBooks, eMagazines or eAudios. Find out how to become a library member.

Watch a video on how to find mental health information online.

Keep relationships healthy

Spending more time than usual with other people at home can be a really positive experience. However there may be times when this isn’t always the case.

Not being able to get out and about and take part in our usual activities can leave us feeling frustrated. This can make it difficult to be around other people, but there are some things we can do to help try to reduce this and get along better:

  • Talking about how you are feeling and share any worries with others at home
  • Listening to others in your household and understanding when they may be feeling frustrated
  • Keeping in contact with your friends and other family members
  • Finding ways for people to have their ‘alone time’. Use your daily exercise as a chance to have some time away from others in the household if you need to
  • Identifying a room in the house for designated ‘quiet time’. You might need to agree who gets priority at certain times

Remember that it’s important to respect everyone’s right to space and privacy. The Mental Health Foundation has further information on nurturing our relationships and living well at home with others. 

Manage your smoking

Smoking tobacco affects respiratory (breathing-related) health. You could consider switching to vaping, which can still give you the nicotine without the harmful effects of burning tobacco.

Try and keep your home free of harmful chemicals by going outside to smoke. This is especially important if you live with other people, particularly children or pregnant women.

For advice or support with stopping smoking, contact Smokefree Norfolk on 0800 0854113 or the National Helpline on 0300 123 1044.

Visit the NHS One You website for information on how to quit smoking.

Manage your alcohol

We know that during stressful times our alcohol consumption can start to creep up. But drinking too much alcohol can impact on physical health, mood and sleep.

Keep to recommended limits (14 units per week) and try swapping to low-alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks. Have at least two consecutive alcohol-free days per week.

The NHS One You website has advice on how to drink less.

Safety at home

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