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Practical Guidance

Activities for reducing stress and anxiety

Uncertainty can easily lead to spikes in our stress and anxiety. It is essential for us to keep our mental health at the top of our priority list in order to help preserve our physical health and make a new ‘normal’ routine.  Below are some ideas of things that can help us to keep our stress at a bearable level.

Exercise: There are endless offers of free online exercise sessions at the moment, including Instagram Live sessions with Barry’s Boot Camp and apps such as FIIT offering free sessions that can be done at home with no equipment. For the young people there are the already notorious, Joe Wicks daily YouTube PE lessons at 9am. Currently, we are only allowed out for exercise once per day so try to schedule one short indoor workout and then get out for a run or walk and a change of scenery. This might be the time to try your hand at using the Couch to 5K app or train for a marathon if you’re keen to stay outdoors for as long as you can.

Keep a ‘normal’ work routine: Create a workspace at home that is comfortable and offers little in the way of distraction. Try, as much as possible, to keep regular work hours and tidy away work items at the end of the day so your home can be a relaxing space. This advice is for everyone, staff, students and parents.

Reading and Watching TV: This might be the best time to invest some time in your favourite box sets and those books you’ve been meaning to read. At stressful times light-hearted things are often the best, so consider lots of comedy and avoid the film ‘Contagion’ if you can.

Meditation: Now might be exactly the right time to try meditation for the first time or commit to doing it everyday. Headspace are offering free sessions called ‘weathering the storm’ to help us all through this difficult time. You may also like to consider apps such as Calm and Insight Timer and explore what suits you and your needs.

Tai Chi: Dr Potts offers YouTube Tai Chi sessions that are short and manageable. Although they are relaxing they also bring a sense of alertness for those of us who feel a bit stuck in the rut of being at home. You can follow a 30 day programme:

Working and caring for family

We appreciate that with the closure of schools and the instruction to work at home it may become much harder to continue to balance work and care for families in ‘real time.' Now is a time when students are expected to become even more proactive, parents suddenly need to become teaching assistants and teachers have become virtual beings. This is new for all of us but something we can do well if we come together as a community as much as possible. It might mean learning to communicate in new and different ways and asking for help from one another.

This may be a time to rely upon older children to help with their siblings and to devise a whole new routine for children at home. This is also a great opportunity for us all to witness just how resilient, capable and adaptable the smaller people in our lives can be. This extended time with family might occasionally feel fraught but it may also be seen as a gift and something we don’t usually have the pleasure of experiencing. To the key workers who are missing out on this, thank you for your support and we hope that in time we can return the favour in some small way.

In an attempt to keep things as structured as possible, during the holiday period, you might like to create your own daily schedule. If nothing else, it might just help us bring some order to the chaos of getting through each day.


Activities to keep busy

School work: Nobody knows how long this pandemic is going to continue for, but this is a time to keep education as a priority. We will all be back to school at some point and it is essential that we haven’t allowed ourselves to fall behind. Teachers will be working remotely so you will have school work available to you and you will also be able to connect with your teachers to ask for help and feedback. Use this resource!!

With access to the outdoors becoming more and more restricted, now is a good time to plan to catch up on your reading. Make sure you have access to a variety of books and perhaps set up an exchange with friends and neighbours.

Ask your parents and family members what you can do to help. This is likely to be a stressful time for everyone. Everyone will be under pressure so it is the best time to become supportive and helpful. Ask those around you what they need and you can busy yourself by doing something useful.

Take a look at this list for a whole host of ideas of activities if you’re feeling bored:  

Stay positive

In difficult times, like this, it is easy to get bogged down in the negative aspects of what is going on. It would be irresponsible to say that what is happening isn’t a big deal and it’s not scary but we all have a choice about what we give our energy to and how we respond.

In tough times look for all of the good news stories of people helping each other and caring for one another. You can even create your own good news stories by becoming one of those people. We will be posting some good news stories here and on social media, so if you have any that you have found particularly heart warming or funny send them to Paula at and you could see them featured.

You might like to focus your TV watching on comedy and nature shows, avoiding anything too dramatic or frightening so your spirits can stay lifted.

Name three good things about the day. These could be small things like feeling grateful that it is sunny or bigger things like a big achievement. Try to do this for four days out of every seven and see if this helps lift your mood.



Six Ways to Find Balance and Stay Connected

This article is worth your time if you're feeling a little drained by the new pace of life and expectation that work can still be done at home because of the wonder of IT and also if you're feeling the pressure to attend every Zoom chat or House Party quiz your group of friends can possibly schedule.