Jenny Rogers

Looking after ourselves during Covid-19

When we ran two catch-up seminars via Zoom for coaches interested in our trauma work, many of them people who had already attended one of our masterclasses, we asked for ideas about how to manage our own anxieties. Here is a selection of the many useful ideas that people put forward:

Mindfulness and meditation: not surprisingly there were many fans for subjecting ourselves to the discipline of regular sessions, usually run online and free. One participant said, ‘I hate mindfulness and struggle to do it, but I found it was really helpful. I emptied my mind and it calmed me down.’ Jon Kabat Zinn got rave reviews as did The Compassionate Institute

Exercise and movement: people who were not necessarily fans of meditation have found that movement serves the same purpose. Ideas here included dancing along to music, walking in a beautiful place, running and jogging. Many people commented on how much it helped to make these pleasures a regular commitment. For those who like to follow a routine set by someone else, there are many free online tutors who cater for every level of fitness, for instance Lucy Wyndham Read

Deep breathing: the art here is to make the outbreath a lot longer than the in breath. Some people advocate breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, blowing the breath out gently and imaging the stress leaving with it

Progressive muscle relaxation: these well known exercises involve relaxing major muscle groups one at a time, for instance starting with your toes, working up to your thighs, torso, shoulders and face. There are many free videos and audio tapes available here, eg

Adapting our professional practice: many coaches commented that although Zoom and other virtual platforms are useful, it is tiring to have long sessions. One hour sessions possibly more frequently seemed to suit many people. Then there is a whole range of useful tips on managing online work, for instance, turning off your own picture as it is disconcerting and distracting to see yourself constantly, something that in ordinary face to face work we never see.

Volunteering: feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression may be kept at bay to some extent by volunteering. A lot of coaches are involved in a variety of schemes offering free coaching to NHS staff. Others are working at food banks or helping neighbours who are shielding. One of our participants described making scrubs and protective gowns for clinical staff.

Pastimes which involve different parts of your brain! Jigsaws got a mention here along with knitting, gardening, listening to music, reading undemanding books and watching boxsets on video.

Other resources:

Carole Pemberton (who attended one of our catch-ups) has written an excellent book very relevant to this topic. : as has another attendee. Julia Steward. She has written about resilience for leaders in education

NScience are a good source of ideas and inspiration on trauma and related topics. At the moment they are doing all their work online. This October evening webinar looks interesting – the Emotional Regulation Toolkit

Finally, don’t forget Julia’s much-praised book, Coaching and Trauma which you can get from Amazon or from Jenny’s website:

Our next masterclass will be done online in two parts. Dates: Sept 22 and Sept 29. You can book below