Wellness during a pandemic: supporting you in 5 easy steps

Hello there. Hope you are well. In this blog today I am going to discuss five easy steps to look after your wellness during a pandemic.

But before I do that, some introductions.

If you have just joined Wellness by Greg, welcome, and thank you for being here. If you have not had a read already and if you are interested, read through the author section about who I am and how I got to where I am.

What is Wellness by Greg all about? – Wellness by Greg

About the author – Wellness by Greg

If you would prefer the abridged version: Wellness by Greg is, well, it is what it says it is. It is about wellness.

White bed, with a coffee, a book and a pair of reading glasses

Wellness, wellbeing and lifestyle. What is at all about?

Let’s break it down.

When you think of wellness what do you think of?

Whilst some may think of wellness as contorting oneself into uncomfortable yoga positions and gulping down blended cuttings from the lawn, wellness is actually a simpler and less daunting idea.

Put simply, wellness is about practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to achieve a better holistic (mind and body) outcome. It about building on these healthy habits and forming a strong foundation on which to develop.

Well then what is well-being?

Put simply, well-being is the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. This may also include being productive in the work environment, feeling that you are making valuable contributions to the community, coping with daily stressors, and realising goals and improving abilities.

While we all approach our daily challenges in different ways, some subjectively easier than others, we all chart personal journeys of wellbeing and personal growth. As the journey is long and varied, we all arrive at different places and stages.

Don’t think of it as a competition.

Woman on-top of a mountain looking at a winding road

Think of it as a journey.

Before we discuss the five things you can do to enhance your wellness, let’s look lastly at lifestyle. When I talk about lifestyle I’m not talking about lifestyles of the rich and famous. This is not a celeb blog. This isn’t about designer brands.

This is about you. Your day to day life. How you choose to live your life, what you think, what you consume, and how all of this shapes you, shapes your life, and which ultimately effects your wellbeing and your wellness.

Think of it like a car. You know what is good for a car and you know what is bad for a car. You know if don’t give it fuel, it will stop. You know if you don’t pay attention to it, it will start to fall apart. You know that if you are reckless or not careful with it, you may put it at a danger which it, and other cars, do not deserve.

Wellness, wellbeing and lifestyle, for me, is a synergy.

One effects the other, enhances the other, depletes the other. If you live a toxic lifestyle, the health of your mind and body will be affected, which in turn will effect your wellbeing and in turn your wellness.

So now that we understand the connections, lets look at five steps which I have compiled to support your wellness during the pandemic.

As you may know, we have been going through a difficult period in our history. Last year in 2020 the world experienced the catastrophic effects of the coronavirus, effects which are still being felt and seen in 2021.

In my old blog site, Fit For Any Age, I explored the coronavirus and its implications on our mental and physical healths:

What we know about the coronavirus vaccine so far. – Fit for Any Age

Self-isolation and home exercises – Fit for Any Age

These are some of the examples of what I wrote about. If you would like to know more, follow the link to the blog site, have a read and leave a comment. It would be really valuable to know your thoughts.

That said, the undeniable truth is that for just over a year, we have all been faced with a very difficult and unique period in our history. As part of my work involves supporting people in the community with their mental health, I am seeing more and more people affected by anxiety, depression and self-medicating with alcohol and illicit substances. Many people are isolative and have poor or non-existing social network supports.

Person supporting another person by holding their hand

As a result, many are living toxic and unhealthy lifestyles, which in turn is effecting their wellbeing and their wellness.

I am aware that for many this is a daily challenge. If you are finding it particularly difficult at this stage, please know that there is help available and that you are not alone. Contrary to what may be depicted in the news

If you are having low thoughts or where you feel that you are overwhelmed and can’t see a way out, there is Samaritans. They have freephone 116 123.

Video on Samaritans, what they do and how they can support. Video is property of YouTube and Samaritans.

Remember, you are not alone. There is help.

Greg L

If you are at the stage where you would like to look at improving your wellness during the pandemic, here are some steps.

How to support your wellness in 5 easy steps

One. Eat and cook well as you can

Now I am not asking you to become a celebrity chef and start cooking elaborate and exotic meals. Use what you can afford. If you can, try and buy clean. What I mean by clean is fresh fruits and vegetables, pastas, rice, sources of proteins such as nuts, legumes, white meats, fish and the occasional red meats. Try and avoid processed or fast foods. It may take a little more time to make a fresh meal, but if you use fresh ingredients and eat well, you will feel better.

Try and avoid artificially processed and sweetened foods such as crisps, chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks. They will play havoc with your insulin levels which will in turn effect your energy levels and feeling of wellbeing during the day, and which put you at greater risk of developing further health complications in the future such as obesity and diabetes.

Couple cooking a meal together

Two. Move your body

Keeping active is not only good for your body, it is good for your mind as well. Being able to be active has been challenging for many during pandemic, with gyms being closed, exercise and dance classes being cancelled. Whilst the guidance has been for people to get exercise and go for a walk, whilst this does have physical health benefits through increased blood circulation, boosting the immune system and reducing cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, for some it is not enough. If you like a bit of a challenge I have found some excellent videos on YouTube of exercises you can do at home using your own body. There are also some videos where people use some resistance bands to simulate weight training.

Joe Wicks / The Body Coach. Does some great short videos which utilise high intensity interval training (HIIT) with short exercise routines of up to 20 + mins each.
Walk at Home / Resistance Bands Training / Leslie Sansone / Nick Drago. Property of Walk at Home and YouTube.

As you can see, you don’t need a lot of space to be able to be able to some exercises at home. Obviously if you can, go outside, but only if it is safe for you and for others.

And do what you can do. If you have any physical health restrictions, disabilities and or health issues, then please do what you can do. And if you have questions, please consult with a medical professional such as your GP.

If you have a moment to read, here is a link to mental health and the benefits of exercise:

Help Guide / The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise
Person wearing trainers walking outside

Three. Try and get enough sleep

This is easier said than done, but getting enough sleep is important to your wellbeing.

A lack of sleep is shown to be linked to physical health complications such as having a depleted and weakened immune system and mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Eating right and doing some activity is good for your overall health and helps to promote better rest and sleep. Having a healthy bed time routine and reducing stimulants may also promote better sleep.

Whilst some try healthier approaches to sleep, there are those who may try maladaptive approaches such as self-medicating with alcohol and illicit substances. Whilst this may serve some a temporary relief and help them achieve some sleep, in the long run this is absolutely the worst thing for your wellbeing and your general wellness.

Drug use can have a detrimental effect on your health and those around you. If you or someone you know is on drugs and needs help, please speak to your GP.

There is also FRANK where you can find honest information about drugs and drug addiction, and how to get help.

A mug beside an unmade bed

Four. Try and stay connected to others

For many of us, we are sociable creatures, and seeing others and being with others is an important part of our personal happiness. I have seen how not being able to see others due to lockdown or being asked to self-isolate has a negative effect on mental health.

Not being able to see others may lead us to becoming depressed, which in turn may make us become more isolative, which in turn may lead us to becoming more depressed.

Its a vicious cycle.

Whilst it is not the same as seeing someone due to pandemic restrictions, there are still ways to stay in touch, such as calling a friend or arranging a video call.

If you feel you have a friend who may be by themselves and who may be struggling, drop them a call or a text. It may take a minute or so for you, but it may just make their day.

Person on their phone

Five. Try to manage your stress levels in a healthy way

This is easier said than done. For many of us we are already dealing with professional and personal stressors, and for many of us, that is difficult enough. Unfortunately the past year has imposed more undesirable stress upon us through the lockdown, through not being able to see loved ones, to not being able to see friends. Home schooling, working from home, staying locked in. The constant assault of bad news about how bad things are with the pandemic.

I’m not saying to acknowledge what is happening around you.

Acknowledge it.

It is happening.

What we need to do in order to safeguard our wellbeing is to look at ways to manage the stressors in a healthy and conducive manner.

And if you have read the steps above, you will see that by following those steps this will help you to manage your stress in a healthy way.

Maladaptive ways as discussed already include self-medicating with alcohol and illicit substances.

Healthier ways to manage daily stressors are to eat well, try and be active, try and get enough rest, reach out and try and stay connected to others.

Greg L

There are other ways of course, if you are finding it difficult.

If you feel you are struggling with depression or anxiety or are not feeling yourself due to lockdown and the pandemic, please speak to your GP. They may recommend medicine and or therapy, both of which can and do help.

If things get dark and you are really struggling, please know you are not alone. Reach out to Samaritans. If you are in an emergency situation then please contact your local emergency services.

Man sitting and thinking

During this time of the coronavirus, please note that data and information is being reviewed on a constant basis as new research and findings are discussed and explored. Please follow the local guidelines where you are to stay safe and look out for those around you.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely time wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: love yourself. And others.

Greg

A bit about the author:

I am a guy who just over 40, who is sharing a journey of wellness and wellbeing. I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. 

Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.

I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. 

In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course, and in 2020 I commenced further training in Nurse Prescribing to train toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner, and will be looking forward to supporting those in the community with mental health support and medicinal support.

In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.

In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. Don’t think of me as a motivational coach or speaker. Think of me more as a wellness guide, as I use my mental health training and experience to suggest and advice ways to enhance your wellness and wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health though, please seek advice from a medical professional such as your GP.

I believe that it is a journey. It is a process. It will take time. But we will get there.

Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely time wherever you are on the planet.

And remember: love yourself. And others.

3 thoughts on “Wellness during a pandemic: supporting you in 5 easy steps”

  1. Well written offering good advice.
    In step five, you mention ‘the constant assault of bad news about how bad things are with the pandemic”. This will resonate with many people struggling to rise above endless negative news.
    People need to be able to see the sunshine instead of endless black clouds on the horizon.

    Reply

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