A man gardening and getting help from his granddaughter
Managing Daily Activities
A man gardening and getting help from his granddaughter

Why are we talking about daily activities?

As you recover from COVID you might be experiencing symptoms such as fatigue and breathlessness or changes in your mood and thinking. These symptoms are common after a serious illness, especially if you have received hospital treatment. You might find that these symptoms affect your ability to complete everyday activities, such as getting washed and dressed, and doing tasks around the home. Activities that are usually simple might seem like hard work, and you may feel that you have less energy than usual.

 

I’m finding my normal activities more difficult than usual. What can I do?

There are lots of simple things you can do to help yourself. Getting enough sleep and making sure you eat well will both help. It is important to conserve your energy when you are completing your everyday tasks to help make sure that you have enough energy throughout the day. Try following the 3 P’s Principle – Pace, Plan and Prioritise – to conserve your energy when going about your daily activities.

 

What is the 3 P’s Principle (Pace, Plan and Prioritise), and how will it help?

Pace

  • Give yourself permission to slow down. Don’t expect to be able to do everything at once, or at the pace you used to do. Do less than you think you can.

  • Break activities into smaller tasks and spread them throughout the day. You’ll recover faster if you work on a task until you are tired, rather than completely exhausted.

  • Build rests into your tasks and plan 30-40 minutes of rest breaks between activities. Resting is key to recharging your energy.

Plan

  • Look at the activities you normally do on a daily and weekly basis; develop a plan to spread these evenly across the week.

  • Think about which activities you find most tiring and make sure you spread these out, with plenty of time to rest in between.

  • Don’t try to complete several activities all in one go. This will drain your energy, and you will need more time to recover afterwards.

  • If you find that your energy is lower or concentrating is harder at certain times of day, plan to avoid tiring activities at these times.

  • Think about ways you can do activities differently to make it easier and less tiring. For example, you could sit down during tasks like washing and getting dressed. Rather than lifting and carrying items when cooking, try pushing and sliding them across the work surface instead.

  • Rearrange rooms like the kitchen so the items you use most are easy to reach.

  • Simple pieces of equipment can make lots of daily tasks easier to manage. Websites such as livingmadeeasy.org.uk will help you to find equipment that might be useful to you.

Prioritise

  • Some daily activities are necessary but others aren’t. There might be some tasks that you usually do that you can stop altogether, do less often or ask someone else to do for you.

  • When prioritising activities make sure you have a balance of things you need to do, like washing and dressing and things you want to do for fun and enjoyment.

  • Start the day by asking:

    1. What do I need to do; what do I want to do today?

    2. What can I put off until another day?

    3. What can I ask someone else to do for me?

 

When will I get back to normal?

COVID is a new illness and we are still learning about how people recover from it. Your recovery will depend on things like how ill you were with the virus, whether you have other health issues, whether you went into hospital and whether you were in intensive care.

Some of your symptoms might go away quite quickly, whilst others may take much longer to improve. Be patient with yourself, think about moving forwards gradually and steadily, and ask for support if you need it.

If you are struggling to complete essential daily activities and are unable to ask for help from family or friends, take a look at the when to seek help section of this website for more advice and information.

“Small steps and little achievements each day helped me to progress. Plan and set yourself little targets each day, then reflect on how well you have done over say a week. Talk to those around you about how you are progressing. People near to you will often notice the difference more than you. Positive feedback does wonders for boosting your mood.”

You will find advice for employees and employers in the return to work section of this website.