We are living in a constantly changing digital world in which technology can be a massive help for those of us wishing to maintain links with family and friends. Universal access to social media has made it easier than ever for older people to tune in and engage. The current COVID-19 pandemic makes the need for self-isolation a very daunting but vitally important one. Loneliness and isolation are very real factors during this time and can seriously affect mental and physical health. The following straightforward tips will help you simultaneously alleviate the stress and health risks of being cooped up and prevent boredom creeping in.
Staying Active and Getting Fresh Air
Getting some fresh air, even in the confinement of your own home, is very important. Taking a few deep breaths will dilate the airways to your lungs, helping them absorb oxygen and release toxins. You can do this by simply opening the windows in your house in the mornings or even going out in the garden once in a while if you have one.
Many resources are available on social media to help keep you active and in shapes such as Youtube tutorials by fitness gurus that teach the importance of physical exercise and its positive impact on mental health. A few of the short and long term benefits are the reduced chance of becoming overweight, developing Type 2 Diabetes, getting stiff joints or becoming depressed. Googling the NHS will also give you links to exercise programmes for the fitter among you and armchair exercises for those who are not particularly mobile.
It is just as important to stay mentally active as it is to remain physically active through exercise. Writing letters is a great way to communicate with others while being in the confines of your own home. The need to stay at home means we all miss our loved ones, so why not give the forgotten art of handwritten letters a comeback? The use of pen and paper will refine your motor skills and polish up your vocabulary. If you would like to write to someone isolated but not a family member you could join the letter-writing scheme run by the Wainman Trust. You can access this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Addresses and personal information are not shared, but if you would like to be doing something to help others while confined at home, this could be the opportunity you have been looking for.
Eating Healthily and Staying Hydrated
As we have already mentioned being confined to the house can lead to depression. Eating healthily is an important part of staying mentally and physically fit. Benefits include a healthy heart, strong bones and good blood circulation, which in turn help us maintain our energy levels and keep mentally sharp. It’s all very well talking about eating healthily, but if getting food supplies is a problem, there are organisations who have advertised their help during the pandemic. A good notable one would be County Enterprise Food here in Nottingham that delivers hot food to your door seven days a week for £4.50 including delivery.
Staying hydrated and making sure you drink plenty is important to the maintenance of your overall health. Not drinking enough affects the functioning of your kidneys, heart and joints. Keeping a bottle of water (tap or bought) by you at all times will help you remember to drink it.
Puzzles and Brain Training Games
Puzzles and games are a great way to pass the time and have the added advantage of helping our brains stay sharp. Puzzle books are easily available from the local supermarket. Whoever is doing your shopping at the moment could pick one up at the same time. Jigsaws are also a very good way of helping you sharpen your fine motor skills and are mentally engaging. There are thousands of on-line puzzle apps to keep one occupied, but these should only be for a limited time as long periods looking at a screen can damage the eyes and interfere with sleep patterns if indulged too late in the evening.
Stay Home, Stay Connected
We hope you and your loved ones will benefit from these four simple tips. In the meantime, stay well and stay connected!
Written by Hedi & Max