Staying at home

Find the right place to stay

Eat well and stay hydrated

While staying at home, think about your diet. Your appetite may change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than usual.

Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels. Drinking water regularly will help you stay concentrated and hydrated – which is good for your physical and mental health.

Depending on how you feel, plan on getting food delivered. Your friends and family might be able to help, or you could go online.

Online food delivery companies include all your normal supermarkets, or you could try food boxes from Ocado, Gousto, Hello Fresh, Mindful Chef and more.

Luckily, we have a discount for Mindful Chef. Enter LNWUH25 for 25% off your first four orders.

Alternatively, there are plenty of healthy recipe ideas at Change4Life. If you’re self-isolating, remember to thoroughly clean any shared spaces.

Keep taking prescribed medication

Many GPs offer repeat prescription services online, by phone, or in-app (like the NHS app). Check their website to find out what you need.

Your pharmacy may be able to deliver your medication, or you could ask a friend or relative to pick it up on your behalf.

Continue to access treatment and support

You may be able to continue treatment or support (such as counselling) over the phone, by text, or online – ask your therapist or provider.

Take care of your immediate environment

If you are spending a lot of time at home, you may find it helpful to keep things clean and tidy, although this is different for different people.

If you live with other people, keeping things tidy might feel more important if you’re all at home together.

It might help to decide together how you’ll use different spaces, and what each person needs to feel comfortable. 

Cleaning your house, doing laundry and washing yourself are important ways to help stop germs spreading, including when there are warnings about particular diseases.

If you have care needs or provide care to someone else

If you use care services and you need to self-isolate, you should tell your local authority and care provider.

The same is true if you provide care or support to someone who doesn’t live with you.

Find out how to contact your local council.

Energy costs

Your energy costs may rise if you’re at home more than you usual.

Think about how you can manage your energy use, or how to cover any higher bills.

You could also ask your energy provider about any support they offer. If you have financial worries contact our free confidential Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on 0800 0305 182.

Taking care of your mental health and general wellbeing

Hand washing

You can stop the coronavirus with good old hand soap because soap breaks down the fatty protection around the cell.

A lot of us will have our hand washing technique down to a fine art by now. Your routine should last at least 20 seconds, and there are plenty of songs you can sing to yourself to measure the time. Keep it simple with Happy Birthday, or add some drama with the chorus from Jolene by Dolly Parton

Connect with people

If you’re self-isolating or working from home, you should still try and keep touch with your friends and family.

You could even help people who aren’t technically minded to set up some of your favourite chat apps, like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype.

  • Plan to video chat with people or groups you normally see in person
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other
  • Catch up with people you don’t normally get a chance to speak with
  • Connect with others in similar situations
  • Link up with people who are also at home/self-isolating
  • Join a peer support group – for example, MIND’s support group
  • If you’re going online more than usual, take a break, look after your online wellbeing.

Worried about loneliness?

Loneliness is a real risk factor if you’re working from home and not seeing anyone, or if you’re self-isolating.

Making the time to stay in contact with your friends and family will help, as will:

  • Put pictures up of the people you care about
  • Listen to podcasts or chatty radio stations, play your favourite music
  • Call our free confidential Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on 0800 0305 182

Decide your routine

Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to make a planner and stick it on the wall. 

Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you if that helps.

If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a nice chance to do things differently.

Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.

If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:

  • Agree on a household routine.
  • Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other's privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t.

Stay active

Build exercise into your daily routine. Exercise comes in lots of different forms, and here are a few ideas:

  • Cleaning your home
  • Declutter your wardrobe
  • Dancing to Music
  • Play Wii-fit
  • Using the stairs

Follow Online workouts:

You might be able to find some free workouts on YouTube, but make sure they come from reputable accounts.

Get as much sunlight and fresh air as possible

Bringing nature into your life can assist with improved mood, reduced feelings of stress, and enhanced feelings of relaxation.

You can: 

  • Spend time with the windows open to let in fresh air
  • Have flowers or potted plants in your home, or grow plants or flowers on windowsills – you could buy supplies online
  • Use natural materials to decorate your living space, or use them in art projects. You could use leaves, flowers, feathers, tree bark or seeds
  • Arrange a comfortable space to sit, for example by a window where you can look out over a view of trees or the sky
  • Look at photos of your favourite places in nature, and use them as your background on your computer, phone, or tablet
  • Listen to natural sounds, like recordings or apps that play birdsong, ocean waves or rainfall
  • Get as much natural light as you can. If you can, open your front or back door and sit on the doorstep.

Your mental health

Take care with news and information

Stay connected with current events, but be careful where you get news and health information from.

For up-to-date Covid-19 advice in English:

If news stories make you feel anxious or confused, think about switching off or limiting what you look at for a while.

Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries.

Consider taking a break or limiting how you use social media. You might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through your timeline or newsfeed.

If you’re feeling anxious

If you have panic attacks or feel anxious it might help to plan a 'safe space' in your home.

Breathing exercises may help if you start to feel anxious.

Alternatively, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) has more information on how to cope if you’re feeling anxious or worried.

If you’re feeling claustrophobic

Just like anxiety and loneliness, feeling cooped up can have a profound effect on your mental health.

  • Open the windows to let in fresh air, or you could spend time sitting on your doorstep or in your garden if you have one.
  • Try looking at the sky out of the window or from your doorstep. This can help to give you a sense of space.
  • Try to regularly change the rooms you spend time in.

Plan for working/studying at home

If you are asked to stay at home and away from other people, it might be difficult to keep working. If you have children, you may also need to look after them if they asked to stay away from school or college.

For parents of children and young people in school or college

Find out from their school what homework and digital learning will be available if they need to stay at home, and what technology they might need. Remember to add time in for breaks and lunch.

If their school has not supplied homework or digital learning, you could encourage your children to select books or podcasts they'd like to explore during their time away from school. You can also think about card games, board games and puzzles, and any other ways to stay active or be creative.

For older teens, there are free online courses they could try out. For example, these could be from FutureLearn and BBC Bitesize.

Your local library might also have online activities or resources you can use. 

Think about being more lenient with your children’s social media and mobile phone use during their time away from school.

Children and young people who go to school will be used to being around other children for several hours a day. They might find it difficult to be away from their social circles, especially if they're also worried about their health.

If you plan to work from home, think about how to balance work with caring for your children.

Some employers may ask if there is another adult who can supervise your children while you’re working

For working adults

Talk to your employer about any policies they have for working from home.

Keep your mind stimulated

Keeping your mind stimulated will help reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, and claustrophobia.

  • Have a clear out:
    • You could set old possession aside to be donated to charity or a cause you care about
    • Delete old files and apps from your PC or phone, update or upgrade your software, or update your passwords.
  • Write letters or emails, or make phone calls with people you’ve been meaning to catch up with
  • Do any admin tasks that you haven't got around to, for example changing your energy provider
  • Cooking – try out new recipes, slow cook delicious meals, batch cook or meal prep (but be mindful of stock piling food)
  • Try some online learning: the Open University offers a range of courses, or start a MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). Apps like Duolingo could help you learn a new language
  • Catch up on your CPD folder – you know you want to!
  • Read books you don’t normally have time to read. Your local library may offer e-books, audiobooks or magazines for free, if you're a library member.
  • Listen to music, podcasts, or the radio or update your playlists
  • Play board games and puzzles – Monopoly is often a winner!
  • Catch up on your favourite TV series through a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

Find ways to be creative

There are lots of different ways that you can relax, take notice of the present moment and use your creative side.

  • Arts and crafts, such as drawing, painting, collage, sewing, craft kits or upcycling
  • Start of finish that DIY project you’ve been thinking about
  • Colouring
  • Cooking
  • Mindfulness 
  • Playing musical instruments, singing or listening to music
  • Writing
  • Exercise, meditation, mindfulness, or yoga (see above)

Keeping your kids active

Keeping your kids active will help improve their behaviour, confidence levels, attention, sleep, sense of feeling good and develop strong muscles and bones.

  • Garden games such as football, throw and catch, hop scotch, skipping, space hoppers, hide and seek, egg and spoon race, welly wanging, hula hoops and stuck in the mud
  • Indoor games such as board games, puzzles, active games like sardines and hide and seek, colouring in, or reading
  • Encourage them to have their own spring clean and tidy, and donate old clothes or games to a local charity
  • Arts and crafts
  • Change4life has many more ideas to help keep the kids active
  • Staying up to date with homework and further learning.

Checklist: are you ready to stay at home for 7 to 14 days?

  • Food: do you have a way to get food delivered?
  • Cleaning: are your cleaning supplies stocked up
  • Money: can you budget for any higher bills or expenses? Will you save money from lower transport costs that you could spend elsewhere?
  • Work: can you work from home or not? If not, what are your rights to payment or benefits?
  • Medication: do you have enough medication, or a way to get more?
  • Health: can you re-organise any planned therapy or treatments?
  • Commitments: can someone else help you care for any dependents, walk your dog, or take care of any other commitments?
  • Connectivity: have you checked the contact details of the people you see regularly, like their phone numbers or email addresses?
  • Routine: can you create a routine or timetable for yourself? And if you live with other people, should you create a household schedule? Do you need to agree how the household will run with everyone at home all day?
  • Exercise: is there any physical activity you can do inside your home, such as going up and down the stairs, using bean tins as weights, or exercises you can do in your chair?
  • Nature: have you thought how you could access nature? Can you get some seeds and planting equipment, houseplants or living herbs?
  • Entertainment: have you thought about things to do, books to read or TV shows to watch?
  • Relax: have you got materials so you can do something creative, such as paper and colouring pencils?

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