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A man gardening and getting help from his granddaughter
Managing daily activities

 

A man gardening and getting help from his granddaughter

Why are daily tasks important?

Your daily tasks are all the activities you do on a day to day basis. Ideally these tasks should include things you choose to do or enjoy doing to improve your overall wellbeing.

If you have had COVID in the last 4 weeks, you might have some ongoing problems that make it more difficult to manage your daily tasks, such as cooking or cleaning. It is common to have these problems if you have been unwell at home:

These problems can affect how you manage your daily tasks, or you might find some tasks more difficult to do, such as:

  • Putting your clothes on
  • Having a bath or shower
  • Going shopping
  • Cleaning your home
  • Preparing and cooking meals
  • Walking upstairs
  • Going for a walk or doing daily exercise
  • Looking after the garden

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What can I do if I’m finding my daily tasks difficult?

If you are finding your daily tasks difficult, here are some simple things you can try out:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating healthy food
  • Conserving your energy – you may have less energy than normal so it is important that you plan, pace and prioritise your activities – see The 3 Ps for more information
  • Taking breaks between tasks so that you do not get too tired (Find out more about getting moving again)

Consider asking for help from your family or friends with tasks, or part of tasks – if they are not available to help, you can speak to your GP or local social services department for signposting to formal services.

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The 3 Ps

The 3 Ps (plan, pace and prioritise) are some tips to help you manage daily tasks when you are recovering from COVID:

  • Plan – plan your daily or weekly tasks
  • Pace – take your time
  • Prioritise – decide which tasks are the most important to you

Plan

Think about the tasks you usually do every day or week. Decide which tasks must be done and which you find the most difficult. Spread these tasks out across the week and plan breaks between these tasks. This will be your weekly plan. Make sure your plan includes some activities you choose to do or enjoy, as well as things you must do.

You may want to introduce a diary to plan your day and week, you can use this to reflect on your past week and help you more carefully plan your tasks for the coming week.

Give yourself some goals you might want to work towards, maybe daily or weekly goals. It is okay not to reach your goals, be kind to yourself, review the goals and change then as needed.

Try not to do several tasks all at once in one day, rest after each task and think about how you are feeling. You may need to plan the tasks out throughout the week. Pushing to complete lots of tasks in one go can drain your energy and you may then need to rest more and take longer to recover.

If you know you always feel tired at certain times of the day, try not to do tasks at these times.

Think about different ways you can do tasks to make them easier. For example:

  • Sit down when you get washed or get dressed
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects – try to drag or push them instead
  • Clean one room of the house at a time, taking regular rests, rather than trying to do all house work tasks at once
  • Equipment/daily living aids can be used to make tasks easier and safer e.g shower seat, perching stool -if you believe you need a piece of equipment you can contact your local services Occupational Therapy department who may be able to assess you for this
  • You can also buy equipment online that can make lots of daily tasks easier to manage

Websites such as living made easy will help you to find equipment that might be useful to you.

Pace

  • Don’t expect to be able to do everything at once, or at the same pace you used to do – let yourself slow down
  • Learn to stop and rest before you ‘over do it’ and tire yourself out
  • Split tasks into smaller tasks and spread them out throughout the day, e.g. a one hour task can be paced out into 4 x 15 minute chunks
  • Take regular breaks so that you have more energy for the next task

Prioritise

There are some daily tasks you do, such as washing and dressing yourself. There are other tasks you do because you enjoy them, such as listening to music or baking. Doing tasks you enjoy will help you feel good and improve your sense of wellbeing.

Try to do a mix of important tasks and things you enjoy. Think about tasks you need and choose to do and prioritise them over tasks you feel you should do.

Some tasks are less important, so you can:

  • Give yourself permission to do them another time
  • Ask someone else to help you with those tasks you find very difficult
  • Stop doing them, or find an easier way to do them, until you feel ready

Start the day by asking yourself:

  1.  What do I need to do today?
  2.  What do I want to do today?
  3.  What can I put off until another day?
  4.  What can I ask someone else to do for me?

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When will I get better?

COVID is a new illness, and we are still learning how people get better after it and everyone is different.

How long it takes for you to get better may be linked to:

How ill you were when you had COVID

If you have any other health issues such as heart, diabetes and asthma

Some of your problems might go away quickly, and other problems may take much longer. Be patient with yourself and ask for support if you need it.

If you find it difficult to do important daily tasks and cannot ask family or friends to help you – take a look at the when to seek help page.

Ask your family and friends if they think you are getting better. People who know you well will often notice how well you are doing, and getting positive feedback from family and friends will make you feel good.

Learn more about:

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Hobbies

After you have been ill or you are feeling stressed, hobbies can be good for your health. You may take up a new hobby or start an old hobby. Hobbies can help you to:

  • Take your mind off things
  • Make you think
  • Help you to relax
  • Make you feel happy

Here are a few hobbies you may want to try out:

  • Listening to music
  • Puzzles or word puzzles
  • Colouring books
  • Painting
  • Reading

When you start a hobby, make sure it is right for you. Think about how fit you are. Is it too much too soon? Here are some important questions you should answer:

  1.  When did I last do this hobby?
  2.  How well could I do this hobby before?
  3.  Do I feel ready to start this hobby again?
  4.  Am I fit enough to start my hobby again?

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