RI’s top tips for COVID-19

In the past week, society has started to shut down, functioning only to provide for our basic needs as we adopt social distancing in the global effort to contain COVID-19. We are in uncharted territory and many of us need to make adjustments such as self isolation leading to inevitable boredom.  Many people in our community including our elderly neighbours, people living alone and those at high risk of the virus may also feel isolated, lonely and like everyone else, a sense of uncertainty.

To combat this, we have compiled a list of useful tips and ideas to consider, which will keep us healthy, happy and hopeful!


Keep a regular routine:
Establishing and maintaining a clear schedule each day is advisable. This will keep us feeling positive and productive, while also preventing us from feeling deflated because our general routine has been disrupted. If you are working from home, get up at the usual time, dress comfortably and find a free space where you can focus. Try to limit your news intake to specific times during the day and keep regular times for coffee breaks and lunch times.

Don’t forget about your physical health and monitor your mental wellbeing! Dedicate specific time each to exercise. Some of us are still allowed to go outside for exercise. If you have someone in your household that can come with you that is great – but we know not everyone can leave their homes and this makes regular exercise even more important. There are many apps and You Tube programmes that can help you to learn how to use your own living space for exercise. Try not to do anything too strenuous!

Some members of our community have told us how online apps dedicated to mindfulness can really aid relaxation.

The extra time at home can also be the perfect opportunity for us to re-connect with some of our interests and hobbies we haven’t had time for. What better time to become more inventive with how we exercise our mind, body and soul! There are so many options for audio books and we know some people are even starting to learn new languages.


Maintain social contact:
We have never been in a better position to cope with a pandemic as we have so many options to keep us connected. Social media, smartphones and video conferencing are helping us ensure we can keep regular contact with our friends and family. We can’t meet and share a laugh over a coffee, but we can use these resources to reach out to others, who may feel left behind.

Our team at Retina International are hosting virtual coffee breaks via video link to chat about all things non work related for 15 minutes each day. This really helps our team stay connected and helps us to share our thoughts and concerns at this time – but also some laughs!

Make sure to call your grandparents or elderly neighbour and remind them you’re here to help, whether that means buying the groceries or simply having a conversation with them and telling them you’re thinking of them. No doubt they will also have a list of jokes or riddles to occupy you to keep the boredom at bay.

If you are someone who lives alone and is fearful of being isolated, reach out to your family, neighbours and friends. Communities have mobilised around the world and there are many willing to help. Why not contact your local community group and they can help you to learn more about what is happening in your region.

Equally, living in close confinement with someone can be a challenge during these trying times and may cause tension to build. If you recognise this happening, take some personal time to rewind each day, gather your thoughts and remind yourself that this is a tough time for so many people, there will be a time when it is all over.


Get a head start on the Spring cleaning:
Cleaning has long been known to be a contributing factor to a healthy lifestyle. Cleaning has been shown to improve people’s health in a multitude of ways.

  • Improves heart health
    • Elevates our mood by helping us to feel accomplished
    • Reduces the spread of germs and pathogens (Very relevant right now!)
    • Increases productivity as we now have a clean and organised workspace.

“Quaranclean” is certainly one way to keep ourselves sane at home and is a smart way of keeping active while being at home. So why not dust down the office desk, polish the windows and make that toilet glisten? (maybe leave that one to later!).

How Cleaning and Organizing Can Improve Your Physical and Mental Health


Learn a new skill or revisit an old one:
For many of us, we have more free time than we could have ever imagined and we are struggling to keep occupied. Not only will practicing a new hobby or skill alleviate the monotony, but it will also help to release stress. Educate yourself about anything from fitness and nutrition to psychology by listening to audiobooks and podcasts or learn how to knit on You Tube and other free mobile applications e.g. Apple podcast for iOS (Apple product) and Castbox for Android.

Skillshare is an online platform which offers thousands of free tutorials on an endless number of topics, ranging from how to design and build your website to learning how to play the guitar.


An online games platform called “The Playroom” features a wide variety of games designed especially for people living with visual impairments and blindness, including monopoly, uno and connect four, which are sure to keep the entire family occupied for hours on end.

QuentinC’s Playroom online games platform

All this spare time is guaranteed to help you discover your passion!


Keep active and exercise:

As tempting as it is, don’t work from bed or sit on the couch all day. The novelty wears off very quickly and boredom soon sets in. Make a conscious effort to keep active and mobile. Complete a workout, climb the stairs to increase your daily step count and do ten squats every time you open the fridge. The gyms are shut but be inventive with your exercise. Record each day you exercise and challenge yourself! You will feel the benefits in the long run. Countless home workouts are circulating on social media and there are hundreds of apps to help you. There are some resources below that provide home workouts. Make it interesting and compete with your friend over a web call! There are also workouts and exercises to facilitate beginners and elderly people too, so there is something here to suit everyone.

The 12 Best At-Home Workouts You Can Do Without Any Equipment

At-home fitness apps to keep you in shape during COVID-19

Standing exercises for older adults

SportEngland: How to stay active while you’re home


If formal exercise is not for you, get creative; play music that you love to dance to or run around with your pet in the garden. Do something you enjoy and you are more likely to do it.

Diet is another huge factor to consider if we are to stay fit and healthy. Additionally, a healthy balanced diet can boost our mood as we look after our mental health too. Now is also the time to tune into your diet and experiment with new recipes, it’s not like we have somewhere to be! Check out these ideas to keep in mind when eating healthily.

The pantry meals people are cooking during COVID-19

Eye healthy smoothie recipes

American Optometric Association: Recipes for healthy eyes


Mindset and Meditation:

Our mental health is certainly something to be conscious of during this period of social distancing. Anxiety and worry about COVID-19 can be exacerbated by misleading and sensationalised news stories. Please take guidance from legitimate sources, such as your national health ministry, the World Health Organisation, United Nations and other reputable organisations.

World Health Organisation (WHO) website

The United Nations (UN) website

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


Some of the tips outlined in this article, like establishing a routine, cleaning and doing physical exercise helps to relieve this stress so please heed this advice if you feel overwhelmed. Staying in regular contact with other people will also help to alleviate anxiety. Arrange calls with friends and family frequently that you can look forward to.

Acknowledge that this is an uncertain time and be aware that these feelings of being overwhelmed and nervous will pass. Engaging in recommended hygiene practices will help to calm and relax you as you do your best to protect yourself and others.

If you do find yourself getting increasingly anxious, worried or overwhelmed, please explore the resources provided below for help. This will not last forever!

CDC: Managing stress and anxiety

Managing mental health during coronavirus – experts around the world share insights



Ask about your health appointments:
One thing to consider is that any medical appointments you have arranged may be rescheduled in consideration of COVID-19. It is best that you contact your doctor or clinic to ask about your appointment and if cancelled, monitor your health at home.

For anyone who is receiving Anti-VEGF treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration or diabetes-related macular edema, please check your vision daily using the Amsler grid available on the AMD toolkit through the link below. There is a list of simple eye tests that can and should be carried out regularly through this link and we strongly recommend that you check them out.

If you do notice any changes to your health, please contact your doctor immediately.



Make a list of all the “little” things you miss:
No, I’m not talking about the dream holiday you planned! I’m talking about the simple, mundane things your heart now aches for; holding someone’s hand, a laugh with friends over a coffee, spending quality time with your nieces, nephews or grandparents and watering your office plant.

We won’t take the little things for granted after this is over, because in life, it’s the ordinary things that make it so extraordinary!

Whatever comes as a result of this pandemic and whenever our lives return to normal , remind yourself to slow down, take each day as it comes and appreciate the little things.


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