Hello! Welcome back, welcome if it is your first time. I am Scott from SR Physio. Today I thought I would tell you some of my thoughts with how I have dealt with the lockdown in the hope it will help you, even just a little bit or those you know that could do with a bit of a helping hand.
Without really thinking about this one I started doing this with my daughter. I am lucky in that my daughter is 4 and my son is nearly two so in the way of education we don’t need a strict timetable for education and anything we did do was fluid and changing throughout the day. Due to the obvious factors of not being able to easily get new materials for crafts and the usual treats of outdoor activities being very restricted I began to run out of ideas. Thank goodness for the internet is all I can say. Many wonderful people and companies are providing trials, videos and new things for you to do and there is a mountain of activity ideas for you to find also. Due to this I started to sit down in an evening and write down what I had found for us to do. My daughter saw this and asked what I was doing and so I began to ask her what she would like to do the next day. She struggled at first and repeatedly would say that she didn’t know but due to the length of isolation she has started to pick activities she really enjoyed to do again which is great for me as I know what she really enjoyed and what she didn’t.
Throughout the day we will talk about our to-do list, or routine and can mark off each one when we have done it and by the end of the day feel a real sense of achievement for having done so each day. During dinner we will talk about what we want to do the following day and I have been amazed at how much of a positive mindset it has given me and my daughter. It has given my family a nice daily routine and makes sure we don’t do the same thing day after day and rely too much on screens for entertainment.
Now this definitely isn’t for my daughter but something that I have added onto due to our to do list routine now. I have also expanded it from a meditation app I am trialling. The app asks me to state how I am feeling and will give me suggestions on what type of meditation or mindfulness will be best for me that day. Due to this I then started to write down in my notes on my phone short points or ideas at the beginning and end of the day. If I have time I add to it during the day also. It has become more detailed each day and although maybe not a traditional diary I put bullet points on thoughts I feel are important and therefore action points to make sure I think about and act upon in a few hours or days. It has also morphed into mental and actual entries into my digital calendar to make sure I contact people on certain days and reminders of what I need to do that day. From a mental health point of view it has been great for me as I have not let things get on top of me and have used it to tick off some of the important things on my personal to do list.
3. Physical Activity.
The first 2 weeks of my normal work stopping and suddenly being full-time stay at home Dad for 2 meant I did little exercise. I was sorting out a lot of work stuff, reassuring people and trying to work my way through a lot of what ifs and what nows. After my life became a bit more steady paced I made sure that I practice what I preach and stayed active. Due to the glorious weather I have been able to set assault courses for the kids, got out a little trampette and have stretched my legs with one dog walk a day. In addition to this I am making sure I am exercising 3 times a week. I am very relaxed about exercise because I am fortunately fit and well. What I don’t want to happen is the people who need to continue staying active and exercising the most to stop doing so. These people need supporting and at SR Physio we are here for those that really need it. I urge you to tell people to get in contact with SR Physio, even if it is for a quick chat to discuss what they can do to stay active… the number is 01603-203-238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I mentioned in my previous blogs 3 great initiatives that are keeping you active. Please check my previous blog (link to it) to find out their details.
The first is Able2B. I am a volunteer director for Able2B and they are doing pioneering work by providing virtual adapted exercise for those with a disability. If you are can only perform seated exercises, have limited balance or limited limb movement it does not matter as these fantastic people will encourage you and show you what you CAN do.
The second is Beth Cullen. A fantastic physiotherapist, experienced exercise professional and offers great exercise class opportunities from Pilates to specialist medical exercises you can’t find anyone better.
Thirdly is Lucia Albia. If you need energy, if you need latin flair then this is definitely the person for you. From Zumba to Yoga your dancing and exercise needs are met here.
4. Try something new.
There is more than likely something you have been meaning to do for a long time…that thing you thought you could never do because work or life always got in the way….didn’t have the patience before because you knew when you started it you would be interrupted or feel guilty that you weren’t doing something else. Well let’s face it most of us have completely had to change how we do things so now is your best to chance to try it and stick to it. I have had friends tell me they have started to learn Spanish, others are baking bread. Many seem to have found a love for gardening in some shape or form. Now you know that my “something new” is trying to meditate and this is due to never seeming to stop. I normally have a hundred ideas, things, stuff I have forgotten or trying to remember type situations going on so I am going to try as hard as I can to be consistent with this. My obvious preference for your something new is to try something active that you wouldn’t before so that I know you are keeping mobile and keeping active but it doesn’t need to be. Depending what you are trying to tackle here are some considerations for you.
Make it achievable by only doing it in short bursts. I was amazed when I started researching this that they recommend you only do a new habit for short periods like 5-10 minutes so that it doesn’t completely disrupt your routine. If you do disrupt it you are unlikely to make a habit from it. Performing it for 5 minutes every day will be very achievable and that is the whole point. You may need to break this down if it is a mammoth task. If for example you wanted to be able to walk up the stairs again, the first goal would be able to walk up and down one step, the next would be two, the next three…you see where this is going.
Make yourself accountable. I did this by telling a friend that I was going to start to meditate, they in return told me they were learning Spanish. Doing this will naturally mean they will talk to you about it in a few days and therefore you will won’t to answer positively by telling them what you have achieved. You can go one step further and actually get an accountability partner. This works really well when you are both trying to achieve something new. All I say is make sure you pick someone reliable 😊
Reflect on how you are finding your new challenge. This can be done in the form of the diary, writing it down in your to-do list or simply making notes on your phone. Doing so will reinforce that cycle of positive behaviour, give you a sense of achievement as (even if it is subliminally) you will be telling yourself that you are succeeding in what you are doing and giving yourself another tick.
5. Give yourself a break.
Some very wise people have commented in the news and on social media that we simply need to give ourselves some relief, from an emotional and mental point of view. So many of us have been pushing ourselves to the physical and mental limit. We all want what is best for ourselves, family and loved ones and that may sometimes be confused with earning more money. What the lockdown has taught me is that money isn’t the answer for every problem. I will forever be grateful of this enforced lockdown due to the time it has allowed me with my children. They don’t understand the stresses of mortgages, whether pasta, rice or toilet paper is available. All they want is feeding, entertaining and distracting from the major trauma of one sibling playing with the toy they definitely wanted to play with even though 10 seconds ago they didn’t know it was in the front room. I have learnt a lot from them in appreciating the moment you are in. You can slow the pace down and enjoy everything from picking daisies, playing make believe and trying to understand children’s TV. At this time we need to focus on what we can control, and what we can control in the vast majority of cases is our mental well-being. I urge all of us to focus on ourselves at some point during the day to make sure we are ok, can look after the people we need to and care about by making sure we are ok in ourselves. More often than not this means we need to stop rushing, taking a breath and doing what is best for you and your loved ones.
Until next time, Stay active, stay safe and stay healthy.