It has been a week since the presidential directive that put restrictions on social,cultural,religious, political or any other gatherings. As of midday the 25th of March 2020, only 14 people have tested positive for Coronavirus in Uganda. By now most of those in quarantine have already gotten over having to sleep in while those who are not in quarantine continue with their daily routines as best they can. There is no doubt that the uncertainty about the future is affecting us all in one way or another, be it practically, emotionally, financially or socially.
While we are not experts on COVID-19, the team at SMUG feel it is important to share with you some self care tips during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Create a timetable and follow it as much as you can. This will help you create a routine that will occupy your mind and keep you busy.
- Keep your brain occupied and challenged. Set aside time in your routine for this. Read books, magazines and articles. Listen to podcasts, watch films and do puzzles.
- Find things you can do in different parts of your room/house. This could for example be that you eat in a different place from where you read and/or watch TV. This way, your mind engaged and you make sure to move within your house, thus making the quarantine feel less restrictive. Here at SMUG, we have heard of people dressing up to go have dinner in the living room and others are taking vacations on their balconies.
- If you have been going for therapy sessions, find a way to have these happen on phone, e-mail or WhatsApp. Alternatively keep a journal, this helps you keep track of your thoughts and emotions.
- Make sure that you are informed on the situation from credible sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) to avoid fake news that will send you into a corona-panic. Also be mindful of limiting the amount of time reading about corona as you may experience fatigue or unnecessary pessimism about the situation. You can also focus on the positive news for example the number of people surviving COVID-19 is quite high. People are also displaying unusual acts of kindness.
- Consider taking breaks from social media. While social media can help you stay in touch with people, it might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries. You might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through timelines or news feeds.
- Think about your diet. Your appetite might change if your routine changes, or if you’re less active than you usually are. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels.
- 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.
- Eat healthy; a balanced diet is a requirement to build your body’s immune system. This way, you have a better chance of not contracting COVID-19. It is also important to east healthy in this time where you may not be able to move as much as usual. Hydration is paramount, make sure you drink lots of water.
- Get plenty of sleep, sleep deprivation leads to irritability which will make it hard for you to cope with the situation.
- Find a way to exercise daily even though during this period we may find ourselves being immobile for longer hours than usual. On spot jogging, planks, sit ups and even yoga can help keep you fit when you do not have lots of space to exercise in.
- Make sure you find a way to get your medication from your specific health care provider. Make sure you adhere to the guidelines on how to take your medicine.
- Make a budget of the essentials you need and stick to it.
- Make sure to buy food that is long-lasting and highly nutritious e.g. peanut butter, oats, lentils, beans, powdered milk, root vegetables, groundnuts and so forth. This way, you avoid food waste, high expenditure on food, and you will eat healthy.
- Make it a habit to reduce on the amount of electricity or water used.
- Do not increase your data usage or expenditure, beyond what is needed for work, just because you are home. As for data needed for work, look out for promotional offers from your service provider.
Last but not least, do not forget to follow the health tips from the Ministry of Health. Wash or sanitize regularly, do not touch MEN (mouth, eyes and nose) and practice social distancing.
You are not alone, we are in this together.