Ideas on how to cope in coronavirus crisis

What a week it has been. I am not sure any of us thought that life could change so much in a few short days. Now it’s time to focus on our wellbeing during this coronavirus crisis.

I am lucky enough to have known my Great Granny, who lived to the ripe old age of 98. She lived through the Spanish flu and was proud to tell anyone who would listen about how she survived. Never did I imagine that we would experience what she talked of.

In this time of uncertainty, and fast changing advice, our food and dietary intake may be the very last thing on our minds, but I am hoping that through this blog, and moving my little business online, I will be able to guide people though the challenges we are all facing right now, and in the coming weeks and months ahead.

I’m here for you

Whether you are social distancing, or self-isolating to help reduce risk to you and your loved ones, each week I will have some ideas for you to help support your health and wellbeing. I hope they help you feel better and make a difference.

  • Keep your mealtimes regular. As we all find our daily routines changed, it is important to keep some routine in our day. This will help give your days structure and make it easier to eat well. Our breakfast, lunch and dinner will give us structure to our days.
  • Declutter your table. Make your dining table a relaxing, pleasant place to sit and eat your meals. Whether you are living alone, or with others, this will make mealtimes a treat. Iron a tablecloth, set your table and pick a couple of flowers from your garden.
  • Switch off the TV when eating. Put some good music on instead. Ideally something that helps you to feel relaxed and happy. Spotify is great for this as they make a daily mix from the sort of music you play on there and link to other tunes they think you might like.
  • Listen to less news. We are bombarded with news at all hours of the day. It is ok to switch it off. I have found that listening to a morning and afternoon broadcast and watching the 7pm news is enough. Too much and it is likely to add to any feelings of stress or anxiety.
  • Get outside every day. A short walk around the garden, a cup of tea on the doorstep, or a walk in the woods. Even just a few minutes a day in the great outdoors can make us feel a little better and less cooped up. No matter what age you are this is really important.
  • Use relaxation techniques as a regular part of your day. When we feel stressed or anxious, some simple habits can quickly switch off the -fight-or-flight’ response. One of the things I find helpful is feeling the soles of my feet on the ground. That’s it. That directs our attention away from our thoughts to how your body feels, and initiates our parasympathetic nervous system – also known as ‘rest-and-digest’. I find it makes me feel calmer almost immediately.
  • Keep a healthy balance. This is not a time to go on a diet, but it is a time when the food we eat can make a big difference to our mental and physical health. Keep it simple and take the time to cook meals for yourself. Homemade soups, omelettes, stir-fries and roasted vegetables with frozen fillets of fish are easy ideas that are quick to make and packed with the nutrition we all need right now.

Look after yourself and each other.

None of us know what is around the corner, but by pulling together and supporting each other we will get through this.

This blog post first appeared as my column in The Irish News on Saturday 21 March 2020.