Covid-19 Special Post

7 May 2020
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Our Covid-19 special post…

When we started this year, who would have thought that we would be in lockdown just a few short months later?

Coronavirus is having a huge impact on all of us, whether you’re working from home, continuing to be out at work, or you’ve been furloughed or made redundant. It’s affected our work and social lives, schooling, when and how we shop, our relationships and how we remain in contact with each other.

As we get settled into this new way of living, you might feel that you’re winning or losing… some days you might be feeling both! But one thing to keep in mind is that it won’t last forever, we’re in a kind of holding pattern until the immediate situation passes and we can move out of lockdown – if not exactly back to our old ways, at least settle into the new way of living, whatever that will be.

It’s important now to make sure we all maintain our mental and physical wellbeing, support our immune systems and find enjoyment in our everyday.

We’re in this together.

Optimising Your Immune System

Did you know that stress plays a big part in managing your immune system?

When you’re stressed, your stress response system switches on (the freeze-fight-flight response), and other non-essential systems are switched off, such as your digestion, reproduction and immune systems.

It’s only natural that we would all feel anxious about what is happening at the moment but this is being heightened by things like social media, the news and hearsay.

One thing is certain – this is new strain of virus that we haven’t dealt with before so it’s important to:

  • Listen to trusted sources
  • Stay calm and follow official advice
  • Stay connected with family, friends, colleagues, employers
  • Understand your stress responses system and manage your stress levels
And if you can manage your own natural feelings of anxiety, you will be better placed to help others around you

For now, here are some lifestyle choices you can make to support your immune system:

  1. Manage your stress – use breathing or grounding exercises, build up a daily practise to support your de-stress system (it’s the counter-balance to the stress response, our ‘rest and digest’ mode), understand what your stress triggers are, strategies to prevent being overwhelmed and what helps you cope during times of stress
  2. Tune out – at the moment we have Coronawatch 24/7 available across the media outlets but it’s not a great idea to become hyper-alert. Switch off social media notifications, limit your news updates to once a day and make sure your news sources are factually accurate.
  3. Get a good night’s sleep – it’s the foundation of our good health but is often sidelined in favour of watching more Netflix, working, playing the Xbox, etc (other brands and forms of entertainments apply!), yet without a good night’s sleep it’s hard to make good food choices, exercise or even think straight! It’s a key time for learning consolidation, cell renewal, toxin removal, and when your brain processes experiences, removing the emotional attachment and ‘banking’ memories so that you can start each day feeling fresh and ready for new inputs.
  4. Get some exercise – it doesn’t matter what you do, just move your body. It’s better to bring in short regular exercise (30 minutes every day) instead of 1 or 2 intense or long activities (2 hours twice a week). Exercise is anything that gets your heart rate up, whether it’s walking, running, cycling, dancing, trampolining, HiiT, yoga, circuits… and don’t forget to enjoy it.
  5. Eat well – it’s easy to fall into a habit of snacking to make you feel good at the moment, especially if your usual routines are disrupted, but junk food rarely makes us feel good for long and keep in mind that short-term pleasure can lead to long-term problems. A healthy balanced diet (that includes the occasional treat) will make you feel better and will help maintain a healthy body – after all, you are what you eat…
  6. Remember to drink – water that is! Hydration is a key element of a healthy digestive system, it helps to deliver nutrients to cells, maintains organ function, regulates body temperature, keeps joints lubricated, prevents infections – and being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition and mood.
  7. Watch your alcohol intake – it may seem like a good idea to have a mid-week drink or two or three, especially with the world having been turned upside down but it can quickly become an unwanted habit. Alcohol inhibits the white blood cell function (the cells of the immune system that protect the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders) and lowers the body’s resistance, not what you need right now.

Understanding your own stress footprint is one of the key elements to managing stress. It starts with how the stress response system works, because when you understand that you can start to make changes instead of going through the same behaviour loops again and again. And then it’s about recognising what your triggers are, what helps to keep you mentally healthy and what strategies you can have in place to help if stress builds up. Visit out resources page, or visit Amazon to buy the book ‘Understanding Your Stress Footprint’, available in paperback or e-book.

If you’d like to find out more about supporting your employees through Covid-19, we have two short online course available that cover these areas and more, designed to help them whether at home (working, furloughed or self-isolating) or continuing to be out at work. Get in touch for more information.


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