As we mark International Nurses Day 2021 on May 12, a clinical nurse consultant shares her expert advice on how to navigate life with fewer and fewer restrictions
As our roadmap and vaccine roll out to the new normal gains speed and we can see that off-ramp out of lockdown aka June 21 looming on the horizon, it’s important to gain knowledge on how to adjust, stay safe and keep immunity high from the medical experts. We tapped up clinical nurse consultant Emma Selby (she’s a qualified nurse who has specialised in a chosen area of practice) to create post-lockdown tips to keep in mind when readjusting.
Don’t get too hung up on fixed plans
After months of uncertainty we are all desperate for things to go back to ‘normal’ – but even with an easing of restrictions we have no idea what ‘normal’ will look like. The lack of certainty can make it easy for us to want to try and grasp some control, when we have felt out of control for so long. Try not to make plans too far ahead as this can be distressing when they have to suddenly change again. Instead, try and focus on little goals that can be clocked up as quick wins whilst we all start finding our feet again.
Don’t run before you can walk
Maybe you have been quite active during lockdown and your physical activity levels haven’t dropped too much. If so, great. For others, we maybe haven’t moved quite as much as we were before lockdown, and that will be starting to show in tight hamstrings, lower endurance and longer recovery times. Don’t beat yourself up about this and listen to your body’s needs. Ease back into fitness and build it up slowly. Focus on stretching and form and you’ll be back at your peak in no time.
Keep up good hand washing habits
Just because vaccines are proving successful and infection rates have plummeted, it doesn’t mean Covid-19 has passed. FYI: just like the flu, the virus is here to stay. To try and ensure infection rates don’t now increase, we will all have to do our part by keeping up the good habits we have formed. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or alcohol gel when out and about, sneeze and cough into a tissue and throw it away or if that’s not possible then into the crook of your elbow. Try not to stand too close to people and don’t be offended if handshaking isn’t a thing anymore.
Prepare for conflicting emotions
Isolation has been difficult, but many of us can also reflect on things we have gained from spending more time at home with the people we love. It’s okay to have conflicting emotions about the easing restrictions. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself a slow and steady settling in period. It’s also important to hold in mind that we have been bombarded with messages of invisible dangers in the world outside our house. Therefore going back out there is going to be a mixture of trepidation, excitement and fear.
Slowly form your new routines at a pace that is comfortable to you. That might be slowly building up the time you spend out and about, or picking and choosing the types of places you deem important to go. Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s – you aren’t walking on the same path.
Be picky about where you get your news
It’s important to check your facts. Social media platforms are not always the most reliable source of new information and even media sources use sensationalist headlines to grab your attention and present you with information that whilst shocking, isn’t always factually correct. Good media will always reference their sources and often their source’s credentials. As the government announces new measures and safety requirements, be sure to check the sources of your information and stick to reputable media outlets.
Hold on to what you have learned
Lockdown – all three of them – was a great source of reflection for many of us. When our lives were stripped back we were able to identify the things that weren’t as important to us as we thought and we focused on new habits and routines that were. Don’t lose all of that as restrictions ease. Lessons are learned for a reason. For example, I realised I was commuting to many meetings which were just as efficient and effective by video with much less stress and agitation – and that is not something I want to go back to.
The NHS still need your help
The easing of measures is not to be taken lightly. The virus is still as relevant and the every doctor and nurse keeping the NHS running need us to take the best care of ourselves we can. Eating well, moving regularly and reducing risky behaviours like drinking to excess all help keep the NHS flowing for those that need it most. There is more need than ever to live well for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Don’t expect business as usual
The virus has burned like a fire through the world and changed the landscape irrevocably. Although vaccines have allowed the world to open up, take heed that life may not return to a replica of what it was before this happened.
Work life balance will shift again and childcare situations. Try to take it each day at a time and keep a close eye on the changes to the rules. If you’re finding it difficult to manage all of the changes, or want advice from people in a similar boat, then places like the Results Wellness Lifestyle (RWL) community are great places to find people experiencing similar challenges to yourself. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all.
Nurse consultant Emma is the clinical lead at fitness app Results Wellness Lifestyle (RWL). To sign up for workouts and recipe content see resultswellnesslifestyle.com