Self-care during COVID-19

Sitting down to write my letter for this issue of Infuse, never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in with COVID-19. It is having a devastating impact on everyone around the globe. Many of you have been personally affected, and we want you to know that we are thinking of you.

Kate and I recently recorded a podcast issue about how we are navigating the environment we now find ourselves in (it is available for download now from Stitcher or iTunes). One of the topics we covered was what we are doing at Dietitian Connection (DC) to maintain a positive outlook. I will share some of my personal strategies here and encourage you to have a think about what might work for you. Self-care has never been more important.

Sleep 

I love my sleep! Getting my eight hours of sleep is non-negotiable. I love nothing more than to sleep in on the weekends, and more often than not indulge in a cheeky nap in the afternoon. Kate and I recently heard Todd Sampson from Gruen and BodyHack speak about sleep being even more important than nutrition and exercise for brain health, so it’s one strategy I’m happy to prioritise!

Movement

I have never been a huge fan of exercise but I know how important it is, so now more than ever, I make sure I schedule it in. I have moved my personal training sessions online via Zoom and purchased some equipment to use at home. There are lots of online exercise programs available, many of them free and doable in your own space. The only time I’m leaving the house is to go on my daily walk with my dog, and I find myself strangely looking forward to that at the end of the work day. The DC team is now conducting walking meetings, which have been a great way to stay connected.

Nutrition

Stating the obvious for dietitians, but I’m being very conscious of my diet, especially my vegetable serves and fluid intake.

Mindfulness

Each morning I start the day by reading some affirmation cards from Kikki-K and doing some mindfulness and breathing activities with the Headspace app. This sets up my day with positive intentions.

Gratitude

We start each day as a DC team with a Zoom call where we check in with each other and mention three things we are grateful for. You could try this with a colleague, mentor or family member. Each night I complete The Resilience Project Gratitude Journal, which allows me to think about who and what I am thankful for that day.

Psychologist and business coach

I have a predisposition to anxiety, so I am indebted to my psychologist and business coach who keep me sane. I am meeting with them virtually (fortnightly with my coach and monthly with my psychologist). I highly recommend having a professional in your corner to maintain your mental health. Psychology has recently been added to the telehealth funding arrangements by the Government, so it is more accessible than ever.