Lockdown is once again upon us here in England and just like before we’re faced with the prospect of a month spent mostly behind closed doors. For some the opportunity to spend more time at home can only be a good thing. While for others the prospect of being stuck inside with little to no human interaction can fill them with dread.
If you fall into the latter of those camps then the next four weeks are likely to deal a significant blow to your own mental health and wellbeing. So it is important to try and keep yourself busy and your mind in check.
With that in mind here are a few suggestions of how to take care of yourself during the second lockdown period.
Just because you cannot see your friends and family in person that doesn’t mean that you can’t see them altogether. We are lucky now that technology has gotten to a stage where making a video call is just as simple as making a regular call. So make the most of Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom to stay connected with your social circles.
Reduce your news intake
Watching the news is heavy going at the moment. Coronavirus dominates of course, but there’s all sorts of other bad news out there that if consumed too much is likely to make you feel deflated. Try to limit how often you check in with the television and radio news, and try not to spend too long looking at the news sites online. It is important to focus on the things that you can control rather than those that you can’t.
Regular meditation is a great way to settle an overactive mind and can help you to refocus your energies onto the things that really matter in your life. Try to meditate at least once a day if you can, especially when you begin to feel any anxiety kick in. There are plenty of good meditation resources out there to choose from such as Headspace or Insight Timer and all will guide you through the process from start to finish. I recommend you use headphones for the best experience.
It is important to get a decent nights sleep at the best of times. But if you’re stuck at home for a month with the knowledge that you don’t have to go anywhere, you might find yourself falling into the habit of staying up later than normal. Try to stick to your regular routine if you can. Go to sleep at the same time that you normally would when we’re not in a lockdown situation, and try to get at least 7 hours a night. Avoid caffeine in the evening and try to use the blue light filter on your phone in the hours before you head to bed. A lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on your overall wellbeing.
Keeping your mind active is just as important as keeping your body active. So try and stay as busy as possible during your time at home. As old-school as it sounds, I find jigsaw puzzles to be rather relaxing and a great way to kill a few hours. Set yourself up with a 1000 piece puzzle, a hot drink and a playlist of your favourite music.
Of course if that’s too pedestrian for you then there are plenty of other ways to keep busy. Lose yourself in a good game or binge on a boxset, (Upload on Amazon Prime is one that I recommend!) or if you’re really bored, why not tackle all of those tedious but necessary jobs around the house? Cleaning, tidying and sorting out can be very therapeutic!
Lastly, remember that you’re not alone in all this. We are all in the same boat, all worried about the ongoing situation and fearful for the future. I know it’s tough and I know it feels like this is how life is going to be forever. But it’s really not. Things will get better and they will return to normal one day. So keep focused, stay strong, keep busy and don’t be afraid to reach out if you find yourself struggling. It’s okay not to be okay.
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