Your #STAYHOME Self-care Guide

The UK is well and truly in lockdown now due to Covid-19, and in many ways it can feel like life has slowed down. 

While the change in pace of life may feel uncomfortable (I shared a prayer on my Instagram to help anyone who is facing anxiety during this season as part of a new prayer and encouragement series I’m doing called #thePrayerSessions), we don’t need to feel anxious about it.

Today I wanted to share a few quick tips for anyone trying to adjust to the new way of life. I think that even though the idea of a ‘lockdown’ can feel a bit restricting and claustrophobic, in reality the season can be full freedom in other ways; of pursuing new (and old) hobbies, building more intentional friendships, and getting on track with fitness goals, for example!

  1. Physical Health

Get out and exercise! With health ministers having just announced that we could be in this lockdown for another 6 months, there’s no way we can go until September without exercising! 

I’ve been on a fitness journey this year since January (training for a half marathon later this year) and so having more time at home in the day has been a real blessing, allowing me to go for my training runs at more flexible times. I shared in a recent Instagram post how it’s transformed my life. 

I’d encourage you, during this lockdown, to get creative with ways to keep your body moving – ESPECIALLY if you’re sedentary and working from home for long periods of time. Whether that’s a home workout routine (I love this one by Jeanette Jenkins and there’s some more inspiration in this Red Table Talk episode by Jada Pinkett Smith!), or going for a run a few times a week, you’ll feel so much better and freer and your body will thank you.

And for those who always say ‘I don’t have the time to exercise!’ when asked about their fitness routine, well now you’ve truly got the time – and potentially for six months. No excuses 😌.

2. Emotional Health

For me, the main thing that’s helped has been getting stuck back into some of my old-time hobbies, like singing (check out my new singing series on Instagram!), music production and other projects I had to put down when I started work last year. It honestly has felt like such medicine, like a boost, and I’m buzzing and on a high from it all!. That is what happens when you do what you love – praise God! It’s been amazing to get to use my gifts actively on Instagram to serve others and encourage them – why not use your gifts and hobbies and passions to do the same this season? People need encouragement now more than ever in these unfamiliar times.

What’s the thing that makes you tick, your biggest hobby, and what you’d do for free for the rest of your life? That project you had to put down because of other commitments and time constraints? What course could you enrol on (here are 450 free Ivy League courses you can do right now online for free) to develop your skills? Now is the time to go for it! Doing so will give you a sense of purpose and direction during a time when the ‘busyness’ of life and the normal daily or weekly routines that often give us a sense of purpose and direction are somewhat skewed.

Pursuing your gifts and hobbies, investing in yourself and your passions, and helping others with it, will provide an emotional boost like no other. Use this precious time wisely! I’d also recommend finding ways to help people who may be more vulnerable at this time – maybe an elderly neighbour, or signing up as a volunteer to help the NHS. You could help change someone’s life during this difficult situation – and you’ll probably feel so much better afterwards, too, knowing you’ve helped someone. Win-win ☺️.

3. Mental Health

Two key things that have helped me:

Maintain a healthy sleep routine

So always sleeping and waking up at the same time – not getting lulled into a false sense of security that I can sleep late because I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow to commute to work, has really helped me. I learnt that if we get our sleeping pattern messed up because we take the additional free time we now have for granted, we can easily end up feeling more tired during this season than during our normal pre-lockdown life! So, I would encourage you to set a sleeping routine and stick to it.

Keep in touch with your friends and family

Zoom and Houseparty, two free video call tools, have been so good in terms of keeping connected with my friends and wider family. I’d encourage anyone to take a look at them. I’ve now been to a Zoom birthday party and it was awesome – it was a games night, such a good idea. Why not arrange a call with your friends this weekend?

4. Spiritual Health

Lastly, but most importantly, it’s a good idea to think about how we can maximise this free time to get on track in our spiritual walk. When everything is changing around us, we need to tune in more than ever to the God who never changes.

Two staples that I can recommend:

Get stuck into Church

Churches across the world are now live-streaming their services. It’s easier than ever to go to church now – no need to dress up or iron any clothes, no need to put make-up on 😂. Church is now in your living room, with the help of video tech! Why not use this season to ‘visit’ a few churches across the world? Whatever you do, I encourage you to make sure you stay plugged into church this season.

Schedule in Devotional time

Daily time with God is the bread and butter of the Christian walk in many ways. I’d encourage you to choose a Bible plan (I recommended a few here) and stick to it. I have my devotional time in my calendar as a daily event as I find it really helps me carve that time out; you may want to do the same. Plenty more on choosing a Bible plan here. If ever you felt ‘too busy’ to sit down and spend time with God, now He’s taken away a lot of that ‘busyness’ – I encourage you to chill with Him for a set portion of time each day. Ask Him what He’d like to say, or like you to do. Spend time praying, worshiping, and just being still. It’ll do wonders for your walk.

So, there you have it. A range of ways we can take care of every aspect of our being during this lockdown season and get this season right. I personally believe God has blessed a lot of us with this free time for a reason – and that it’s important to steward it well because so much good and rest and creativity and bonding and spiritual growth and fruitfulness can come out of it – if we get it RIGHT. I really believe if we embrace all or most of the tips I’ve shared, we’ll find that this season of restriction ironically has the potential to bring us an immense sense of freedom 🤩.

Stay safe and well, and feel free to keep up with my singing (#RawVocals) and prayer (#thePrayerSessions) IGTV videos – come say hi on Instagram!

See you in April,

Imani x

Main Photo: Anthony Tran

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