Top tips on keeping positive during this winter lockdown
Thursday 28 January 2021
Sophie Hughes from Brighton living with stage 4 bowel cancer
I am lucky I live with my mum and we hug and say we love each other even more than we did, even before the pandemic. Make the most of the human contact you are able to. Be mushy with friends and family over Zoom and don't worry about kissing a phone screen (as long as it’s sanitized of course!).
I was the typical sceptic but I enjoy 'Yoga with Adriene'; this woman sings in her classes but she also guides you body part by body part into the right alignment, and gets you breathing properly to support your body with breath at the same time as exercising. I feel calmer after about 10 minutes and you don't have to be fully focused to get that effect, which is handy right now.
We are in the middle of a storm, it is raging around us but it is external and it will pass. Let's try and stop the storm from raging inside us; give yourself space to sit in stillness, listen to emotional music or do a puzzle or knitting which keeps your hands busy but lets your mind wander. Let yourself laugh too. Look for the ridiculous. I find the animal kingdom useful for this; watching the birds outside our window or our very greedy guinea pigs searching endlessly for yet more kale.
Linda Studd from Peterborough lost her younger brother to the disease in 2018
James Amos from Cornwall living with stage 4 bowel cancer
To keep myself mentally well I write in my journal every day, practice the Wim Hof method breathing exercises and meditate. I find this really helps with any anxiety I may be experiencing. I have always enjoyed the gym and I miss not going, but during the first lockdown I bought some heavy-duty exercise bands and created my own portable gym with some other items bought off e-bay. It's not got the feel of the gym but it's a decent substitute.
Ron Kerr from Angus has recovered from stage 1 bowel cancer
When the first lockdown started in March 2020 I realised that the rug would be pulled from under me... Between then, and during these present restrictions, I think I have created an alternative routine to protect myself. My walking group and my employers have regular Zoom meetings which I find supportive. Myself and two colleagues in the latter have managed to produce and distribute regular monthly newsletters to 270, mostly elderly, members in Dundee and Angus. A small group of us also make a point of phoning at least one other every day.
Sophie Umhofer 39 from Warwickshire living with stage 4 bowel cancer
I know how important it is for me to get some alone time and do things to de-stress, but so far it has not really worked out. I am now starting to schedule time in at the weekend, where my husband will take the kids out for a walk so I can have the house to myself for a bit.
Since last lockdown, I have been exercising online with various classes, so this has continued for me. I make sure I do something every day to keep me moving, which helps my mood too! I've found it important to find an exercise you enjoy, otherwise you won't stick to it. It can be anything, so long as you move and it makes you feel good.
Another thing I do for me is daily breathing techniques and meditation. These both help me mentally, I find them challenging to do but feel so much better after it's done. I am also carving out time now to do some writing, reading, and studying of subjects I enjoy. Last lockdown I took an online course and it really helped me feel productive, and kept my brain going.
Lastly, I am making sure I take time out to contact friends and actually call people. So far I have made a call every day to a friend or family member, instead of just a text. Talking to other humans is really important and I forget that, as I have almost got used to this more reclusive way of life.