It is important that we all do everything we can to look after ourselves. Hopefully you will find something useful below to help you do just that!
It’s essential that we all stay physically healthy over the coming months for a number of reasons:
- It will add some much-needed structure to our day
- It will help us maintain strong immune systems
- We will feel more energised, because our bodies will be flooded with an abundance of happy hormones (called endorphins), which will help stop us developing low mood
- We will feel stronger and more positive, meaning we will feel better able to cope with the challenges that coronavirus has created
- Our stress levels will be reduced, so we’ll feel able to think more clearly
- We will increase the amount of Vitamin D we absorb if we spend some time outside (something we’re often deficient in, given the UK climate)
The government has made it clear that it’s important for our physical and mental health that we go outdoors during this outbreak. Getting outside once a day for a walk, jog, or cycle is encouraged, provided that:
- You/your family remain 2m away from other people at all times
- You don’t meet up with others and form groups
- You avoid playground equipment*
- You avoid playing team sports with friends*
*A note on this: It’s easy to think that using swings and slides, or playing team sports in small groups, is harmless, but this isn’t sensible at all. The government has made it clear that we should avoid playgrounds (indeed, they will be shutting these with immediate effect) and that we shouldn’t meet in groups. Playing team sports counts as meeting in a group and should be something you avoid doing. It’s fine to play games with immediate members of your family, but you should not be meeting up with friends to do this under any circumstances.
It’s understandable that we may feel somewhat fearful of being outdoors, but the Prime Minister and scientific experts have made it clear that we are actually less at risk of catching the virus if we practice social distancing when we venture outside, as long as we:
- Stay at least 2m away from people who aren’t members of our immediate family (i.e. those we live with)
- Avoid meeting up with friends/other relatives
If you’re someone who loves to be active (and has a gym membership or usually plays team sports), it’s easy to think the coming months will prove to be a ‘hell on earth’, but there is no need for this to be the case! Personal trainer, Joe Wicks has launched a daily workout (Monday to Friday) called: ‘PE with Joe’ that you can access online here: https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html
There are lots of other PTs posting workouts online for free, meaning you and your family can ‘jump around’*.
*A note on this: Please make sure you only follow the workout of someone who holds an adequate Personal Training qualification.
There are also lots of other ways you can stay fit and healthy whilst at home though! Here are some of Mrs Lambert’s suggestions:
- Go for a brisk walk, jog or cycle. If you’re not very fit, build up the time/distance you do every day. You’ll soon notice a difference and will come home feeling better for having got some Vitamin D!
- Use an outside step, or the stairs, as a ‘stepper’ to help you reach the NHS’ recommendation of 10,000 steps a day. You can also make this more challenging and improve your cardio-vascular fitness if you jog up and down.
- Run on the spot in HIIT-style bursts, for example: sprint as fast as you can for 30secs, then march for 10-15 secs, then sprint again. Do this a few times and you’ll soon start to feel warm!
- Skip with/without a rope. The health benefits of skipping are huge and you can progress in terms of how long you skip for as the days go on.
- There are loads of body weight exercises you can do to stay strong, for example:
- Squats (you can make these more explosive if you perform jumping squats)
- Lunges (you can do forward and backwards stepping lunges)
- Abdominal exercises (there are a wide variety of different ab exercises you can do)
- Press-ups and/or planks (which can help you develop a strong core, shoulders, arms and back
Add Some Structure to Your Day
Get changed in the morning from what you’ve slept in, even if you change into different pyjamas. Try and get some movement in even if that is through a ten-minute yoga video.
Follow a timetable
The school day is very structured and now that you’re no longer in school, you may start to quickly become bored. Structure is key! We all thrive on routine, so think about creating yourself a TT. You should incorporate your usual lessons into this, given there’s lots of work to do on Google Drive, as well as DEAR time and exercise:
|English||Maths||Lunch + Walk||DEAR*||History||Personal Time|
At the back of this booklet there is a blank TT for you to complete. Feel free to tweak the timings (some of you may prefer to change the times when you exercise or start the day later), but try to stick to the same routine every day. Getting up and knowing what you’re going to do each day will add some much-needed normality and will stop you from feeling like you’ve got nothing to do.
A note on DEAR Time:
Reading daily can expose you to 1.8million words a year! Furthermore, reading is important in developing vocabulary for fluency and comprehension (understanding). It can also help make you smarter! We know that some of you think you don’t enjoy reading, but there are books to suit all of our different tastes. Now that you have more time on your hands, why not give reading a chance and see if you can get lost for a little while in a good book?
It’s easy to think you’ll enjoy spending time on your X-Box or PlayStation, but you’ll quickly tire of this unless you have other things to do to keep you entertained. Think about what you can do together as a family, as well as on your own. Below is a list of examples of some of the things you could do to stay busy:
- Write a story
- Jigsaws/board games (good for a rainy day!)
- Cricket/football in the garden
- Learning a language
Make a list of all those things you said you would do but never get round to. It could be sorting out your wardrobe, doing some gardening, fixing things around your living space etc.
If you want to take the time off to rest and not be productive, that’s also fine too. Listen to your body.
An important part of staying physically and mentally healthy is to get enough sleep. Try to keep your usual weekday bedtime and avoid going to bed late wherever possible. Teenagers need, on average, at least 10 hours sleep a night. You are also more productive in the morning so try to avoid long lie ins and keep a routine. Aim to be up, showered and ready to start work by 9:00am.
Finally, remember to give yourself breaks from screen time, particularly before you go to sleep. Stop looking at your phone or tablet at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep and ideally leave your phone in a different room to your bedroom.
Physical activity and structure will help protect your mental wellbeing, but there are also other things you can do as well. Now’s the time to get better at those subjects you’ve been struggling with – practice makes perfect after all!
Got a pile of books stacked up that you’ve been meaning to read? Now’s the time to learn new stories and meet new characters! Feeling out of the loop, because you haven’t seen that series everyone’s been raving about on Netflix? Now’s the time to catch-up. You could also learn new things or develop new ideas by listening to podcasts as you go for a good, brisk walk.
What this outbreak is teaching us to do is rush less. As a society, we are often ‘always on the go’. Try to take your time doing performing school work, tasks and activities. Sit and eat with your family to talk during meal-times. Sit with a book in your yard/garden if it’s a sunny day.
Always wanted to learn Spanish? Now’s the time to give it a go. Likewise, you could use this time to learn a new hobby or to practice your cookery skills. It’s important to keep your brain active and getting lost in an activity can help with this, whilst also passing the time.
Phone calls are amazing, and are a great way to stay connected. But seeing someone’s face really can make a huge difference on a phone call. It can lift your mood and make you feel less lonely.
There are a variety of methods of staying connected, but a few to try:
- Google Duo
- House Party
Positive online community
There are lots of positive online communities, where you can make new friends, get inspired and chat about things you care about. But remember to avoid anything that encourages you to do things which are harmful for your physical or mental health.
Clean up your social media
You might be spending more time than usual scrolling on social media. But have you ever thought about how this could be affecting your mental health? Try unfollowing or muting accounts that make you feel anxious, upset or angry.
You’re probably not the only person feeling worried, bored or frustrated. It’s a good time for a catch up, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.
There are lots of great free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease your anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts. Eg Headspace.
Why not also try some yoga as a way to relax and also get some gentle excerise which can boost your mood? There are lots of YouTube videos you can use to suit your ability and level of mobility.
Take a break from the news
It can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this, but if you notice this is having a negative impact on your mental health. Try limiting how often you check the news
Read a book
Getting away from screens and reading a book can help you escape for a bit. Why not re-read one of your favourites, or get your friend to recommend one?
Online games you can play with friends
Board games can be a great to spend time with friends or family while giving you something to focus on. You can play a lot of these games online, like Monopoly or Chess, or via apps like Words With Friends 2.
Sing in the shower even if you’re not a singer- it’s super therapeutic!
Dealing with stressful situations at home
Walk away from tense situations if you can
Being cooped up with other people will naturally be frustrating and might create tension between you and those you live with. You can defuse difficult situations by walking away from arguments until everyone starts to feel calmer. If you and those you live with do not have any coronavirus symptoms, you could go outside for a walk.
Create a rota
If you’re in a situation where lots of people are fighting over who gets to decide what you watch on TV, who cooks and cleans, or anything else, you might find it helpful to create a rota. This can help you agree a fair system and help avoid arguments.
One Final Word…
It’s easy to get bogged down and feel angry, frustrated and anxious right now, but try not to give into negative feelings. Even in all of this chaos, there are still some positives to be found. Think about this – maybe coronavirus will actually teach us all a few things about what’s really important:
- Maybe we’ll all start to use social media as a force for good, rather than as a platform to hurt and bully others*?
- Maybe we’ll all start to realise that what really matters is our health and that of our loved ones too, rather than how many likes one of our posts received or how good we look in that selfie?
- Maybe we’ll start to become less selfish and more self-less – we’ll think of others more and how we need to take care of vulnerable people and the elderly?
- Maybe we’ll start to become more community minded?
- Maybe we’ll start to appreciate nature and the benefits of being outdoors, rather than staying glued to a screen?
- Maybe we’ll start to see the joy in simple things?
- Maybe there’ll be a positive impact on climate change?
*A note on this: If you are receiving unwelcome messages whilst you’re at home, please do let school know and we will try our best to resolve the issue. All of you should try to use social media positively by sharing:
- Funny memes/GIFs and messages that will make others smile
- Links to online activities/exercises
- Simple recipes
- Book, film or podcast recommendations
Reach out for help
If your living situation is difficult, please don’t struggle in silence. Speak to someone you trust. Call a friend or a helpline. If you’re worried about being overheard, you could try texting or emailing instead. There are lots of helplines which also offer text and online messenger support.
Take care of yourselves and stay safe, making sure you and your loved ones follow the government’s guidelines!