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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.

Since you have returned home from hospital, it might be more difficult for you to manage these daily tasks than before. Some of the common problems people have after their hospital stay are:

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 activities
  • 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 activities difficult, here are some simple things you can try out:

  • Get 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, break down tasks so they are more manageable
  • 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.

Give yourself easy goals to work towards every day, feel proud if you reach them. Give yourself permission to rethink your goals if they were too much for you to manage today.

Try not to do several tasks all at once, rest after each task and think about how you are feeling. Pushing to complete lots of tasks 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
  • Arrange the rooms in your home to make the items you use and need the most, easy to reach – you might need support to do this – if you have stairs, you might want to plan your day/what you need so you do not need to use them regularly
  • 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 start to do things you enjoy again as you recover. 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 them
  • Stop doing 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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