Lockdown 1.0 was no doubt a whirlwind of emotion, anxiety and stress for many people. Living through a global pandemic is an unknow territory for most and unfortunately, we are still living through it. Many countries around the world are being taken into a second lockdown in attempt to reduce cases, but how can we approach this lockdown better than the first one? It goes without saying that being cooped up in your home can have an effect on your mental wellbeing. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with the situation effectively and to look after yourself better. Here are some lessons learnt from the first lockdown to take into this one:
Don’t skip the exercise routine
If there’s one piece of advice I could’ve given myself in lockdown 1.0 – it would be to get outside more. I’ll admit, this lockdown is going to be a little different. The days are slow, the weather is dreary, and it gets dark in a blink of an eye. It can be tempting to wrap yourself up in a blanket and remain a couch potato all day long. However, getting your daily exercise is fundamental to looking after your mental wellbeing. Getting some exercise every day will release ‘feel good’ hormones (endorphins) which will make you feel happier instantly.
So, wrap yourself up in a big winter coat and a woolly hat – and head outside! Going on a socially distanced walk with a friend will be sure to boost your mood. You could even grab a takeaway coffee to make things feel a little more normal. Try to incorporate some exercise into your daily routine, this will give you an increased sense of structure and productivity. A win-win situation!
Take time for yourself
This one may seem a bit unusual when it seems like all we have is time to ourselves. However, it is important that we prioritise time for doing the things that we really love. We have been given many tips and tricks for working at home, working out at home and remaining productive. But how often do you give yourself time to unwind and focus only on the things you enjoy? We suggest carving out large periods of time to do the things you want to do. Whether that be creating a new and improved banana bread, watching every Netflix series under the sun or curling up with a good book – do it! It’s an uncertain and worrying time for all and the best way to treat this stress is to indulge in your creature comforts!
It’s ok to be unproductive
It is also completely ok to feel like doing nothing. We are living in strange and unprecedented times and it’s normal to feel out of your depth. It is difficult not being able to see friends and family and not being able to do the things you normally do. There are days when you are going to feel like doing absolutely nothing. These days are the perfect opportunity to switch off, to avoid looking at the news and social media. Spend the day being in your own company, ticking whatever you can off from your to-do list and then it’s time to relax. We recommend running an essential oil bubble bath or lighting a candle to unwind and de-stress.
There are people around you who look like they have everything together. Yet the chances are that they are finding this situation just as difficult as you are. There are many people who are out there to listen to how you feel and want to guide you along the way. No one knows how to deal with a second lockdown perfectly – you’ve just got to take one step at a time!
Look after your relationships
Lockdown is a difficult time for relationships. Whether that be a partner, family or friends – it can be hard to balance it all. The key is to give yourself your own space, especially if you’re working from home all day. Find a spot in your home that can be designated solely for work. Ensure that you have a quiet environment, away from any other members of your household. This way, you will be able to spend quality time with them once the workday is over. When you’re at home 24/7 it can be hard to protect your personal bubble – but it is extremely important. Create a ‘me-time’ in your daily routine to give yourself a breather from constantly socialising!
However, it is also vital that we all check up on each other. So, make sure to call your friends and family members that you don’t live with. Ask them what they’ve been up to and how they are feeling. It is important that we all look out for one another and get through this together.
Keep your mind active
Although I’m a bit of a preacher for relaxing during lockdown – it is also crucial to keep your mind active. Whether this be listening to a podcast, reading a book or watching a documentary, it is good to keep your mind occupied with interesting information that doesn’t regard the pandemic. It will help you to remember that everything is not all bad and that there is still plenty of good in the world. I recommend listening to the ‘Happy Place’ podcast by Fearne Cotton if you want to feel uplifted.
There are plenty of things you can do to focus on yourself and your happiness during this lockdown. Learn what it is that fills you of joy and fill your days with as much of it as possible. Remember that you are not alone during these uncertain times and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.