It can be hard to relax and remain stress-free during lockdown, so it is important that we take time out to fit in self-care activities to maintain and enhance our health and wellbeing.

The team at The Ascott Limited’s UK properties, including The Cavendish London in Mayfair and the Citadines Apart’hotel London portfolio, have partnered with Helen Moon, founder of EventWell, the mental health and wellbeing voice of the event industry to share their tips on how to improve your physical and mental wellness.

A breath of fresh air

“It is important to go outside to get some fresh air and exercise during lockdown. I’ve decided to start a virtual walking challenge using the app World Walking, where you can ‘walk’ from London to Paris or hike the Highlands, which is a great way to keep fit and encourage me to reach my fitness goals. It also provides me with a mental escape, which is much needed while we are spending a lot of time indoors,” says Mark Hardy, General Manager at The Cavendish London hotel in Mayfair.

“If you do decide to compete in a virtual challenge remember not to put too much pressure on yourself, and to pick a challenge which is right for you to complete at your own pace to avoid any unnecessary stress.”

Work it out

Nikolay Rekov, Assistant Residence Manager at Citadines Islington says: “As the gyms are closed, I’ve set up my own home gym by investing in a treadmill, weights and elastic pull ropes so I can exercise at home before or after work. I have also purchased new healthy cookbooks and I am adding more fruit, veggies, and proteins to my diet to ensure I continue to follow a healthy lifestyle.

“My colleagues at Citadines Islington are finding new hobbies and have started joining online meditation and Tai Chi classes, which are great at helping you to improve physical and mental strength and health and to help reduce stress and anxiety.”

“It is also important that we encourage our guests to look after their mental and physical wellbeing. At Citadines Islington* we offer bikes to guests to urge them to go out and get some fresh air, exercise and explore the local area, and we provide yoga mats to guests staying in our deluxe studio and apartments. We are also partnering with our neighbour, plant-based restaurant and wellness space OMNOM to provide our guests with discounted yoga and meditation classes and healthy and nutritious food and drink,” adds Nikolay.

Make time for me-time

Germana Genovese, Residence Manager at Citadines Holborn-Covent Garden says, “It can be difficult to stay calm during lockdown so always make self-care a priority. I make sure that I indulge in things that make me happy such as arranging virtual calls and quizzes with friends or taking some time out for myself by lighting candles, putting on a face mask and enjoying a relaxing bubble bath. I also recommend trying to get a good quality sleep as often as possible as it has a huge impact on how we feel – mentally and physically.

“Over the last few months, I have really enjoyed baking to help me feel calm and boost my mood. I also try to write things that I’m thankful for in my gratitude journal each day, this has also helped to improve my wellbeing.”

Pause and reflect

Helen Moon, Chief Executive and Founder of EventWell says: “Virtual fitness is a big part of my self-care regime now and especially in lockdown. I’ve been attending the new EventWell Fit virtual yoga, Hiit and even hypnotherapy classes that we now offer to keep myself active, or an excuse to relax and breathe. I have also added a daily walk to my day, just to get me out and about in the fresh air breathing in some oxygen, and when it’s a bit fresher and chillier it can be really energising.

“I’ve also been taking breaks and resting where I can, something traditionally I’ve never been very good at, especially if I’m feeling manic due to my bipolar. Learning to stop and pay attention to other things in my life that need my focus, like my daughter’s care and her emotional security, give me the perfect excuse to be able to stop and pause. The most important thing we can be doing for ourselves right now is exactly that, learning to pause, reflect and do what we need to do for our health and wellbeing.”

Stay social

James Cowan, Lead HR Operations for the UK, Germany and Netherlands at The Ascott Limited says: “It is important to regularly check in with each other to help boost morale and motivate your teams during this challenging period. Some of our properties, including The Cavendish London, have a virtual social each month where everyone can have a fun evening together and catch up while they aren’t seeing each other in person every day.

“On the virtual socials the team celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries and promotions and raise money for events. In December they raised money for Christmas Jumper Day and Save The Children – all team members were encouraged to wear a Christmas jumper on the team call and donate to the charities online. Each month we also celebrate ‘Star of the Month’ for a team member who has excelled in their role and they run quizzes with prizes such as a Fortnum and Mason Hamper and John Lewis vouchers.”

James adds: “We have an internal communications platform called WorkPlace where everyone can connect and encourage each other. We have been providing tips for our staff on new activities to pick up on during the lockdown period, such as how to learn a new language, exercise routines to try at home as well as recommending books and movies to indulge in.”

*Citadines Islington is currently open for essential business travel and keyworkers.