As people across the world are living under lockdowns to limit the spread of COVID-19, it is crucial to take care of our mental and physical health. During the first lockdown, we developed a 3-pillar approach aimed at helping older adults to keep healthy and active at home. You can find it here. As we start a new year, and a new lockdown, we wanted to share some other ideas for coping and keeping active at this difficult time. We asked our team what they’ve been doing to keep healthy. Here’s what they had to say:
Christina Jackson, Partner, UK
With children at home, vulnerable family members and a busy time at work, lockdowns for me mean an overnight increase in my daily tasks as well as an upsurge in generalised “covid-worry”. I’ve been applying principles from acceptance commitment therapy to help me cope day-to-day. In particular, “acceptance” (acknowledging and allowing painful thoughts and feelings like stress and worry), “cognitive defusion” (stepping back from those unpleasant thoughts and feelings without getting stuck in them) and “contact with the present moment” (taking life one day and one moment at a time).
Laura Meade, Senior Scientist, Canada
For myself, like many, lock down left me feeling a lack of structure and routine to my day. One thing that has helped remedy that is making weekly plans. Action planning techniques, such as blocking time in my calendar and setting out exercise clothing the night before has helped me stick to my regular exercise routine. Being accountable by doing virtual workouts with those I used to work out with in person and registering for virtual races/competitions has helped me continue to progress towards my goals.
Fernanda Trevisan, Scientist, UK
Like Laura, I also struggled with the lack of routine. I started to snack more often and move less. So, I started to become more mindful of these behaviours. I made an effort to put food on a plate and sit down to eat (not directly from the package while multitasking!). I also started to use an activity tracker to track my physical activity. I set weekly goals to complete 10 thousand steps 3 days a week and invited my partner to join me so we could encourage and hold each other accountable.
1. Strosahl K. ‘Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional’. The Psychologist, 29:632-663. Available from: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-29/august/pain-inevitable-suffering-optional (Accessed 25th January 2021)