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Self-isolation the healthy way


Regular routines have changed dramatically for most of us in the last two weeks. Many of us are now permanently at home, as workplaces, colleges, schools and normal life have shut down.

While no two people are the same, here are four steps to planning new home-life routines to help you feel more in control of your situation and stay healthy and active in the coming weeks.

1. Plan your daily routine


Make a daily or weekly plan and try to stick to it.

  • If you can keep the same daily structure as you would have had previously this will help you and your children to cope in a very new situation.
  • Try to get up in the morning at the same time, have meals and breaks as you would in a normal work/school/college day, finish school/work around the same time and so on. Include exercise and physical activity into your daily plan to ensure you keep yourself healthy in mind and body.
  • If you find it hard to get into your new routine or find yourself slipping, you could set your alarm to remind you of times meals, snacks, breaks, physical activity and even for turning off the TV and devices and getting out for some fresh air.


2. Plan your meals


With little access to eating out or takeaways and more time at home, getting a healthy meal routine up and running is important.

  • No matter how experienced a cook you are, meals plans will help you stick to healthy eating. Here’s a step by step guide to help you if meal planning is new
  • When you’re making up your plan, try to get all the family involved as they are more likely to eat the food they have helped plan for.
  • And as much as you can, try to eat together as a family at meal times and snack times. If you are working from home, try to set work aside and give yourself a break.


Plan for more sleep


Sleep is vital for our wellbeing during these unsettling times. Try to stick to your normal work/school routine around sleep. Here are some tips to do this:

  • Avoid the temptation to watch more TV or be on screens more at this time, particularly in the evening
  • Switch off the TV or devices an hour before you go to bed
  • Keep your bedroom cool and dark
  • As many of now have less or no commute time – it might be possible to get a little more sleep in the morning

Children of different ages need different amounts of sleep. Here's what you should aim for:

Age Sleep time
3 - 5 year olds 11 - 12 hours at night, plus a daytime rest of up to 1 hour
5 -12 year olds 10+ hours
over 12 year olds and teenagers  8 - 9 hours

Click for more on how to set up a healthy sleep routine.


Plan for play


Plan your daily activity and exercise to keep yourself and the family physically active.

  • Get outdoors when you can. The key advice is to stay in your family or household unit, and keep to social distancing advice - that's two metres or six feet apart.
  • For the kids wall ball, hopscotch, traffic lights are great for confined spaces like gardens, yards or small outdoor areas. And here we have ideas for indoor active play like Hot & Cold or Blind man’s bluff. 
  • And there are lots of YouTube channels, Apps or podcasts giving workout classes you can do in the home. Many are free – search for those that suit your schedule and home routine.

Remember this is a challenging time and we can only do our best to keep things normal. If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious here’s advice on how to maintain your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak.

© The Food Safety Promotion Board