Few of us will have escaped the challenges of recent months. Their impact has been huge, leaving us feeling so emotionally and physically drained, that we can feel like we’re running on empty. This makes adjusting to the new normal and all its challenges even harder. Giving ourselves time to recover, to boost wellbeing post-Covid, will be essential to our resilience going forwards.

Why do we need time to recover?

Recent events have increasingly pushed us into a chronic state of high alert. The normal activities that helped us to manage stress and recover pre-Covid became inaccessible to us. Opportunities to socialise, exercise and relax have been eroded. Without this time to recover, we risk burning out.

After months of juggling multiple demands, it’s likely many of us are feeling relieved that our lives are returning to a familiar pattern.

However, as we finally settle into new routines and start adjusting to a new normal, the future remains uncertain. Although we are now able to have contact with our families, friends and colleagues, concerns about safety remain. This may make us feel worried about sending our kids off to school or returning to the workplace. We hope that life can return to normal but feel unsure what new threats and challenges may yet emerge.

With so much challenge and change, we can’t expect ourselves to just bounce back. We need time to recover and find a new balance and order to our lives. We need to give ourselves time to rebuild our emotional resources so we will be ready to take on the next set of challenges.

How to make time to recover

Recovery is something that we can achieve through attending to our own self-care. It is about stepping back from activities that drain or deplete us emotionally and making time to engage in nourishing activities. We may do this in brief bursts throughout the day, boosting our wellbeing when we feel it is flagging. Or we can schedule time for activities that contribute to improved self-care and wellbeing.

Brief recovery

Take brief recovery breaks when you notice you are becoming fatigued or losing concentration. This might include:

  • Doing something physical: go for a walk; take a stretch; try controlled breathing or a relaxation exercise; or do something mindfully.
  • Using your brain differently: switch the type of task you are doing; do something mundane that uses little mental effort, a crossword or a puzzle.
  • Building positive emotions: talk to a colleague; notice what there is to celebrate; watch something funny; or do something you are interested in.

Brief recovery does not have to take long, sometimes just a few minutes can help to recharge and refocus.

Scheduled recovery

So many of our usual channels for scheduled recovery were blocked during lockdown. Now these activities are more available to us again and we need to ensure we take the opportunity to re-engage with them. These activities might include:

  • Taking time to rest: taking a bath; listening to music; enjoying the moment; being mindful.
  • Doing something fun: playing sport, tending the garden, going to the cinema, engaging in a hobby or interest that gets you in the ‘zone’.
  • Spending time with friends and family: being with others who we care about and who care about us is essential to our emotional wellbeing.

Remember, self-care is giving ourselves nourishment. Often neglected when we face multiple demands and challenges, self-care is key to recovery.  Time spent looking after ourselves will make us fit and ready to face new challenges and to take care of the people who are most important to us.

If you found this helpful and would like to read more bitesize tips to boost your health and wellbeing at work and at home, check out some of the other blogs.

You might also like to join our Facebook group UR Resilient, where members are busy sharing creative and inspiring ideas to build personal resilience and maintain a positive mindset during this challenging time.