22 Apr 2021

Eight tips to managing your wellbeing during Covid times.


Guest post by Laura Gallagher. Laura works part time in the Digital Publishing and Data Services section in Maynooth University Library.  She's a busy mum of three.  In her spare time shes goes for a run or a long cycle.  She loves the countryside and getting out into the open fresh air.     

In this blog post, I outline the importance of managing your wellbeing during Covid times and share with you eight tips that I have learnt over the past few months. These have helped me manage working from home with balancing home schooling (or the new found term ‘Emergency Schooling’), life and exercise. I make suggestions on how you can make these tips work for you. 

It’s important to realise that while we are all going through this pandemic together, how we are going through it differs from person to person and experience to experience.  The best advice that I have read over and over is simple, just four small words -  however we are feeling and whatever experience we are going through like everything else in life “This too will pass”.


  1. 1. Adequate Sleep A simple yet important tip.  Sleep is important for our physical and mental health.  A good restful night’s sleep sets you up for the day ahead however busy it may be. The HSE website recommends that Most people need between 5 to 9 hours sleep a night. The ideal amount is 8 hours, but everyone's different.  When I have difficulty sleeping I try to read a chapter of my book and if that doesn’t work I imagine I am on a beach listening to the sound of the sea.  There is also a wide range of music for sleep and relaxation free of charge available on Youtube.


  1. 2. My second most important tip is to Eat Right.  Start the day with a healthy breakfast.  Sit down and take your lunch whether you are working or not.  Cook a dinner even if you are tired, you will be glad you did and allow yourself a treat without feeling guilty.  Lockdown for me has actually benefited my choice of eating as I love starting the day with porridge or eggs.  Before ‘Covid times’, I would race out the door with barely a coffee in my hand and wonder why I was so hungry later in the day.


  1. 3. Get some Exercise and Sunlight.  Make it exercise you enjoy so you will stick to it.  There is nothing better than getting outside for fresh air, be it a short walk on your own or with company or a cycle or that run you crave.  Exercise releases that ‘happy hormone’ and certainly improves your mood and allows you to think and clear your head.  Sunlight also improves your overall wellbeing.  Try get out during the day if you can even for 10 minutes.  The HSE advice is Regular exercise can help improve your sleep. But try to avoid exercise in the hour before bedtime.


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  1. 4. Working From Home and Home Schooling - This has become the norm for a lot of us.  In the beginning I found myself with a laptop at the kitchen table with the kids screaming around me.  It was chaos.  Now I have my laptop set up in my ‘walk in wardrobe’.  It’s my space and I can think and work quite happily there.  I have set a ‘somewhat’ routine for home schooling.  It doesn’t always go to plan but for the best part it has worked.  It’s about finding a routine that works for you and your family and if it doesn’t always go to plan, most importantly, don’t get stressed about it!


  1. 5. My fifth tip is dealing with the dreaded Anxiety and managing Stress that Covid has brought to many.  This tip is definitely still a learning area for me.  It’s hard to sum up in a short tip.  Stress can be hard to ‘turn off’ for many.  Lately when I am feeling a little anxious or stressed, I find myself looking out the window to the furthest part my eyes will allow me see and I remind myself of a quote I heard from Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh in an interview and he said “I never worry about things like that. Others spend a long time worrying about that, and worrying is not good for you. Most of the things you worry about never materialise.”  “I’d be a believer in that.”   I find this quote helps me to stop worrying about things and brings me back to my day.


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  1. 6. Stay Connected with your family and friends.  It’s easy at the end of the day or week to just sit down and not want to talk to anyone.  By sending a quick text or making a quick call, you are not just connecting with your family and friends but you are reminding them that you are there if they need you and if you need them.  Afterall, there is nothing better than a good giggle with the people who know you best.  I love writing letters even short ones.  There is nothing better than receiving a handwritten letter or card in the post.  Dr Keith Gaynor, assistant professor in clinical psychology at the School of Psychology, UCD said ‘human beings worked better when we are connected.  This means the dreaded Zoom quiz and the awkward phone conversation when no one has anything to say, but these connections are important and much better than nothing at all.’ (Evening Hearld, Herald Health, Wednesday 3rd March ’21)     


  1. 7. Learn to relax a while.  Just breathe.  Listen to the clock ticking and the birds singing.  Listen to the lawn mower going in a distance and take the time, even if that time is two minutes to just relax and close your eyes.  It’s very easy to get caught in the race of your day.  This is a tip I’ve really only grown to know and appreciate recently and I think I will keep with me forever.  Listen to your favourite music or soak in a warm bath.  Watch a rerun of your favourite sports match.  Do something that you enjoy and you find relaxing.  It will help you unwind from the day and you will reap the benefits.


  1. 8. I deliberately left my eighth tip to last as I think this one is extremely important, Covid times or not.  My eighth and final tip Be kind to yourself.  If your work day didn’t go to plan and home schooling was a disaster or you never got outside, it doesn’t matter.  Tomorrow is another day.  Try and organise your next day by writing down a plan and see if that helps you work your day better.  Don’t be hard on yourself but try and learn from your ‘bad days’ to make better ‘good days’.  I don’t keep a diary, I tend to write a log on things I need to do, I even write ‘go for a walk’ to myself.  On the ‘good days’ where everything goes smoothly, remember them and remind yourself of them when you are having a bad day.  I love Dermot Kennedy’s cover of ‘Days Like This’, I think he really brings the meaning of the song together.  Give it a listen and remember ‘when it’s not always raining, they’ll be days like this’.


So there you have it my eight tips to managing a better wellbeing during Covid times.  I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post.  By sharing my tips with you, I hope that you can take even just one tip, use it to your benefit and make it work for you.   

I know everyone’s experience of Covid times are different.  I certainly count myself lucky that I can work from home and try and balance the everyday’s of life.   I think I’ve learned to appreciate the small things and enjoy not having to race constantly from one place to another.  I often think that when things resume to the somewhat normal that we are used to, dare I say it, I might even miss this ‘quiet time’.



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