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Staying healthy while staying home
While our lifestyles are different to usual, now’s the time to take extra care with your health. We’ve put together these ideas to help
While living in quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19) changes the way you live your daily life, it’s more important than ever to keep going with healthy eating and physical activity to keep your blood pressure under control and your body in good health.
It’s also a good time to pay attention to other areas of your health, including keeping your mind active, staying in touch with friends by phone or video, finding ways to relax and getting a good night’s sleep.
We can’t say this enough: exercise does wonders for your body and your mood.
- Make the most of your once daily outing if you can. Enjoy a walk, jog or bike ride. The fresh air has extra benefits like a daily dose of vitamin D from sunlight, it could help with sleep too.
- Keep moving throughout the day, it’s not good to sit for long periods, even if you just walk around the house or on the spot.
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) have useful information about being active at home – including a set of exercises.
- There’s lots or online videos for free. We like Joe Wicks’ Home Workouts for Seniors.
- See our healthy living information and booklet.
- Prioritise fruit, veg, pulses (such as beans and lentils) and grains when you’re shopping and cooking, and look for those without added salt. They can be frozen, tinned or dried – they don’t all have to be fresh.
- Watch the hidden salt content of food. Salt puts up your blood pressure but it’s not obvious how much salt a product contains - check the labels and eat less than 6g a day.
- Avoid ready-made, processed and takeaway foods as much as possible, including sauces, soups, processed meat and baked goods. Instant soups, noodles and pasta, tend to be very salty.
- Learn about a healthy diet and download our booklet.
- Make a plan for the week, and get creative with what’s in your pantry - the WHO have some excellent tips for healthy eating in isolation.
- Share your recipes on our facebook and twitter. We’d love to see them.
Keep taking your blood pressure medicines
- Keep taking your blood pressure medicines as prescribed. If you have any doubts, contact your GP by phone before making any changes – stopping them will mean your blood pressure rises again, and adjusting them without professional help can lead to side effects.
Monitor your blood pressure at home as normal
- There is no need to check your blood pressure more often than usual unless your health professional has advised you to do so. Find out more about home monitoring.
- Drink enough water. Around 2 litres a day is a good target.
- Choose water or no added sugar squash over sugary drinks.
- Drink less than the recommended 14 units per week. It can affect your health, your sleep, your mood and even your immune system. A lot of alcohol can raise your blood pressure too.
- Read our information about alcohol and how to drink less.
- Learn more from the NHS.
Find ways to relax and get a good night’s sleep
- Try meditation or simply deep breathing.
- We like an app called Headspace which is good for relaxing and getting ready for sleep.
- Try an adult colouring in book or dot to dot for a colourful and relaxing wind down.
- Take a warm bath or listen to relaxing music.
- Remove your phone and computer from your bedroom at night, and try not too look at it close to bedtime.
- Limit the amount of news coverage you consume during this stressful time.
- The NHS have lots of tips for sleep too.
Keep in touch
- There are several apps and services for keeping in touch with friends and family with video chat. Zoom, Houseparty, Skype, Whatsapp video and Google hangouts are all popular and free. Always make sure you review the security settings.
- Have fun with it. Try a dining room disco and dance around your living room while your friends do the same.
- Talking things through can help if you’re feeling down or anxious. There are also charities who can offer support including Mind and Samaritans if you need extra support. And if you’re anxious about your blood pressure, please do talk to us, we’re here to help: 020 7882 6218 or email@example.com
Lots of music, theatre and dance performance are being streamed online, here’s a few ideas:
- The National Theatre have launched National Theatre At Home where you can stream performances for free for a week.
- The Royal Opera House have launched an their #ourhousetoyourhouse series, which includes opera and ballet.
- Timeout are listing the best theatre to watch from New York to London to Australia and beyond.
- Theatre productions around the country are being listed by www.thestage.co.uk on their The Show Must Go Online page.
- Plus you can do tours of museums online. Here’s some examples from timeout.
Find trustworthy sources of information
With so much news available, make sure you’re following only trustworthy, verified sources.
- Take a look at these coronavirus myth busters from the WHO.
- The NHS, PHE provide trustworthy information, and the BBC
- Keep an eye on our COVID-19 news page about blood pressure and coronavirus.
- Call our helpline for questions relating to your blood pressure on 020 7882 6218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Limit how often you check the news
- If you find constant updates stressful, only check the news and social media once or twice a day, you could even set specific times to check it.
Find ways to feel good
- Get dressed up – staying in pyjamas just a little bit longer can be a slippery slope, wearing something you like can make you feel better.
- Plant some seeds – if you have a garden, balcony or window box, see what you can grow.
- Get creative – write a poem, draw a picture. You don’t need to spend money or go out for supplies, you can paint with coffee granuals and a cocktail stick!
Keep your mind active
- Use some of your free time for pursuits which flex your intellectual muscles, like crosswords or sudoku.
- Find free resources for many of the ideas listed on this page, colected by Money Saving Expert including music lessons. This also includes educational resources for children.
- Audible are making children's books and learning resources free to listen to. Great if you have children or grandkids, and you might also like the classics or learning resources.
Have you found this helpful? Our helpline is open to support people at this time and depends on donations to keep running. Any donation you can give will make a big difference.