Sometimes we’re tested not to show our weaknesses, but to discover our strengths

As the Covid -19 virus travels across the globe, causing lock-down in some communities, school closures, panic buying of loo rolls and pasta, here at Be Strong we are going to spread a little bit of positivity to get us through these tricky times.

Now more than ever, it is of the utmost importance to look after your mental and physical health.  I have no doubt that everyone’s mental health is at varying degrees of anxiety right now, and this will ebb and flow as things progress. Whether you work on the front line, as a health care professional, a police officer, teacher, delivery driver, in a supermarket, or you are working at home trying to keep the economy afloat, whilst home schooling your children, or you have sadly lost your job, our anxieties will rise and fall like the waves of a tempestuous sea.

Keep the anxiety in check

There is lots that we can do to keep those anxieties in check.  First of all it is essential to understand that mental health and physical health are inextricably linked, poor mental health affects our physical health and likewise our physical health affects our mental health, so we must do all we can to keep them both on an even keel.

Let’s look at this situation as an opportunity to get ourselves and our loved ones well, and reconnect with each other, rather than living in this fast paced, exhausting, disconnected world that we currently inhabit.  One thing is for sure, the world is going to slow down a little, which can never be a bad thing.

Acknowledge when you are feeling anxious and take the time to breath. A few minutes of mindfulness each day, just concentrating on your breath can really help to reduce anxiety.  You tube and Spotify have loads of mindfulness and meditation exercises that you can listen to and follow, just to give your brain that little bit of space it needs amid all this chaos.


We don’t know how long this situation is going to last, so we need to establish a ‘new normal’.  Establishing a routine as soon as possible will help you to feel calmer about the things that you do have control over, because lets face it, there’s a hell of a lot right now that we don’t have control of.  Routine will help you to feel in control and it will give those you care for something to cling on to and feel normal about too.

If you are home schooling, get the kids up at a reasonable time, and keep that same morning routine of getting dressed, and breakfasted, ready to learn. I have even heard some parents are going to make their kids put their uniforms on still, so that they get into that learning mindset.

If you are working from home, set up your work space, as you would at work. Make it a place you go to, every day to complete the tasks you need to complete, rather than trying to juggle it with everything else going on at home.

Set yourself a timetable of work/education, meal times, exercise time and leisure time, otherwise it will become like the days between Christmas and New Year when we don’t know what time or day it is, what meal we should be eating , and whether we should be dressed or not. This might be ok for a few days, but long term is not going to do anyone any favours, so start as you mean to go on, and get organised.


If you have been feeling tired lately, this is the best time to catch up on some much needed sleep – if you are saving an hour or so’s commute every day, set your alarm for a little bit later, and sleep in.  Your body needs sleep to remain healthy too, don’t be tempted to just watch one more episode on the latest box set that you’re bingeing on, staying up even later – stick to your regular bed time routine – or take the opportunity to establish one. We have info on how to establish a good sleep pattern here.

When we sleep our immune systems release proteins called cytokines, which help our bodies to fight infection and inflammation, along with antibodies.  When we don’t get enough sleep our antibodies are reduced.  Adults should aim for eight hours a night, children 9-10 hours a night. So use this less busy time to get a good bedtime routine in place and establish a good sleep pattern.


Now is the time to get creative with those meals, try the recipes you wanted to try but didn’t perhaps have time to do so. You could even get creative with the contents of your fridges, freezers and cupboards.

Make sure you are eating balanced plates of food – plenty of fruit and vegetables, to keep those vitamins and minerals up to boost your immune system. Fresh or frozen fruit and veg is just as good each other, so don’t be worried about not being able to get hold of fresh stuff.  Wherever you can use those foods that are known to boost your immune system: citrus fruits, red peppers, blueberries, garlic, broccoli and spinach.

Spices like ginger and turmeric have health giving properties. Proteins such as chicken, turkey and shellfish provide vitamins which help with the formation of healthy blood cells, and zinc which helps our bodies to heal and boosts our immunity.  Nuts and seeds are also great sources of vitamins and minerals, but watch the calorie content.


There is masses of evidence that physical activity reduces our long term health risks, but it also boosts our immunity.  Taking part in daily exercise for up to an hour a day, can enhance your immune system.  With scientific research showing that those cytokines we mentioned before, increase when we take part moderate and vigorous intensity exercise for up to an hour.  There are lots of other complicated sounding chemicals in our body that help to protect us from disease and infection that increase too, when we exercise – so don’t let your fitness regime slip.

In fact the PM himself has actively encouraged us in his press conferences to go out and exercise, particularly in the fresh air. Just make sure you follow the current social distancing guidance.  

Our HIIT sessions are a great way to remain active whilst your’re at home, or you could take your iPad, laptop, tablet or phone out into the garden, if WiFi permits and do it out there if the sun shines. Why not do them with the kids, if they are at home with you? They also need to remain active and will benefit from burning some energy off.

Fresh air

Getting out into the fresh air especially when it’s sunny can do wonders for your wellbeing. Vitamin D from the sun helps to keep our moods on an even keel.  But also reconnecting with nature, can give a sense of calm. I love climbing to the top of a big hill and then just sitting and looking out across the landscape. It helps me put things in perspective and I get a massive sense of achievement for the climb too. Find your nearest hill and get climbing!

Get a break from technology and 24/7 news

Whilst it might be tempting to keep the news channels on permanently and to scroll social media, we need to get a break from it. There’s a lot of fake news and misinformation spread on social media, click bait on internet sites and by tabloid headlines.  This can give rise to anxiety and panic, but also mislead us. It’s best to watch the news once in a morning and once at night and restrict scrolling time to once or twice a day. This really is the perfect opportunity in my view to reconnect with those we love, and spend more quality time with them, taking care of each other, and being kind.  Go back to basics, play cards and board games, read a book or a magazine, cook.  We will always remember 2020 for this, so make the most of the time wherever you can.

Follow the government guidance

Above all else, keep yourself and your families safe. Follow the latest guidance from the government. They are updating it all the time on the .gov website, and it is the only place to get proper correct information.

Lots of love and stay well,

Rick and Rach xx

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