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One you Merton

Advice on coping during the COVID-19 crisis

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This is a difficult time for everyone and for some it may be stressful and panic for the foreseeable future. With kids off school, unemployment, everything closed; everything has come to a halt.  However, we must follow government guidelines for self-isolating if you have symptoms and social distancing to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Here I will share how to cope whilst working at home, kids being at home and how to continue with your normal daily life and tips on how to stay healthy.

Nutrition
With supermarket shelves empty our common store cupboard ingredients are out of stock as the nation is stockpiling.

What can we do?
Have a look in your cupboard and fridge and see what is actually in date and what is not in date. All non-perishable foods have a longer shelf life lasting a longer time without spoiling and don’t need to be kept in the fridge.

Start using perishable and non-perishable foods which are due to go out of date where you can make a meal which you can then freeze. I am sure we all have ingredients in our store cupboard that have not been used in a while so before panicking to shop, check what you have. You may find alternative grains such as couscous, bulgar wheat, noodles, naan bread as an option if there is no pasta and rice.

Readymade microwaveable pouches of couscous and rice may be available. Pick up something you have not tried before, it may be a type of pulses such as butterbeans that will be on the shelf instead of chickpeas/kidney beans.

Potatoes, onions, root vegetables and sweet potatoes have a longer shelf life and you can buy a large pack to get you through. You may find more fresh produce available during this time.  If you stockpile too much you may feel overwhelmed with all the food and not even use all the products you have brought; so, think twice before you buy.

It may help to go to the supermarket during the day time instead of early morning rush with people queuing.

Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids and eat a normal balanced diet following the Eat Well Guide.

Working from home
If you are working from home follow a normal routine, take regular breaks and stretch.
You may find you want to snack more so snack on foods that will keep you going and provide you some energy e.g. fruit, nuts, crackers with cheese or nut butter or a spread, vegetable sticks with a dip e.g. hummus and check if you are really hungry or distracted.

Go for a quick walk round the block after your lunch to get some fresh air, take a few deep breaths if you are struggling and adapt your working needs as required.

Self isolating/looking after children
Whilst some may be looking after their kids/home schooling don’t feel pressured to complete everything but get children doing more practical work such as gardening, baking, painting, arts and crafts. Set a timetable if you feel it may be helpful and allow them to nurture and enjoy their time at home.
For those self-isolating please follow government guidelines but at the same time have a routine and try a new skill.

Phone a friend, read a book, mindfulness, brain training games, home workouts, sit outside your garden, go for a walk ensuring 2m distance, watch a film, try a free online course.

Exercise
– With gyms being closed, no classes on you can exercise at home and keep your body moving.
– Follow an online workout such as the 7 minute workout, try some yoga and stretching.
-Go for a walk/run around your block keeping the social distance.
– Try some mindfulness and deep breathing to stay calm and collective
– Jogging on the spot, skipping, star jumps, squats and using canned foods as weights and make up your own workout.
– Use your garden if you have one to do some exercise.

Stay calm, don’t waste food, follow good hand hygiene and contact One You Merton if you want support on eating well.

References:

The Association of UK Dietitians

The British Nutrition Foundation

Useful links

Merton Council COVID-19 information

For ways to keep active during the COVID-19 crises visit out Moving page

For support with your mental health during this time visit our Every Mind Matters page

Nutrition links

NHS Eat Well

Love Canned Food website

BBC Good Food website

Gopika Chandratheva
Nutritionist

Healthy porridge