Coronavirus: staying active in self-isolation

March 30 2020
Coronavirus: staying active in self-isolation

Sarah West is a senior physiotherapist, Pilates and yoga instructor working at the Thornbury Clinic. Sarah has over 9 years’ clinical experience, having worked in professional sport, within the NHS and in private practice.

AS health authorities look to contain the spread of COVID-19, more and more people are being asked to self-isolate each day. Self-isolation provides individuals the opportunity to recover from the virus without spreading it to others, until the risk of secondary transmission is thought to be low.

You might find yourself feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of these measures; being stuck indoors everyday. But fortunately the reality is far less terrifying, and we would like to share some advice on how to stay mentally and physically active whilst at home.


Here are some tips:


  1. Take care of yourself: It is essential to maintain the principles of self-care whilst at home, which in general means continue doing the things that keep you healthy. It is important to rest but sitting all day should be avoided, as it can lead to increased physical tension and emotional stress. Keep yourself busy within your house, whether that involves doing the housework, gardening or any small tasks that you have been putting off.


  1. Talk to people and express how you feel: Use your social networks, email and telephone to communicate with people. Often friends and family may not be aware that someone is in isolation, so it is important to let them know and give them the opportunity to help. This is especially crucial for anyone living alone.


  1. Try some relaxation techniques: You may begin to feel agitated or unsettled, so use strategies that have helped you deal with stressful situations in the past. This might be reading a book, doing craft work, having a cup of tea, or trying some mindfulness, meditation or breathing techniques. It is important to relax in order to combat the worrying cycle. 


  1. Limit your time looking at screens: Whether this is watching one TV programme after another or constantly checking the news, the temptation to spend time looking at screens is strong. Whilst watching television can be a good way to pass time, it is crucial to find the right balance between screen time and finding a physical activity that will benefit you. It is alright to stay informed, but checking the news compulsively will keep us in a state of high alertness, which can potentially lead to anxiety. 


  1. Keep physically active from your living room: There is a common misconception that fancy equipment is needed in order to exercise but you can perform body weight exercises such as squats, push ups, abdominal sit ups and planks without it. You can find video demonstrations on the Thornbury Clinic’s YouTube site, and Bristol-based gyms and yoga studios are now providing online classes. The biggest challenge is finding the right mental motivation: having an online video or coach can give you this. Exercise is proven to improve sleep, reduce stress hormones, improve mood, increase mental alertness and maintain cardiovascular health.


  1. Maintain a healthy diet: Eat well and drink plenty of fluid – at least 2 litres of water per day. Try to maintain your fruit and vegetable intake to reach your vitamin requirements, or use multivitamin supplements. Cooking can also be a healthy way to keep the mind and body active. You can still order online or ask a friend to pop by with some essentials.


At this difficult time it can feel very overwhelming, but there are many people out there who are keen to help you in any way they can. Remember that reaching out for help is a brave step and one that will make you feel better in the long run. If you do find yourself struggling at this time you can always contact us on 01454 838366 or email us on