So here we are again, in a lockdown which seems to be never ending! There are certain things we can control and others we can’t, and having a lockdown is out of our control, but how we show up to it and use our time is in our control. It’s hard to have a positive mindset when you don’t feel positive, but here are some tips to try and make use of your time.
- Make a list of things you’d like to achieve this year – this isn’t to depress you further! There may be things on this list you can do right now, like learn a language, or I’ve taken up playing guitar again. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to do Couch to 5k, or re-watch all the Harry Potter films, or read a book you’ve had for ages. Try and do some things that are in your control right now.
- Everyday do some exercise – you don’t have to do a half marathon every day, but even a 20 minute walk would be good and gets you out in fresh air and produces endorphins. Walk, run, stretch, yoga, one of the plethora of online classes available, don’t stop moving your body. Even try something new, such as an online dance class, no one will see you so that can take some of the pressure off! I think moving is so important, even when I’m in clinic, I jump up and down a few times in between patients to keep moving! Move your body, change your state of mind and energy!
- Breathe/meditate/gratitude/prayer – As well as looking after the external body, we must look after our internal world too. Every day, it would be good to do some breathing exercises, some meditation, and some prayer if that’s your bag. Gratitude is also good for anchoring us in appreciation of our lives. Even during lockdown! I tend to do my gratitude at night and write down all the good things that happened to me, even if it’s a nice text from a friend, some nice dinner, a good sleep, a warm shower… there’s many resources on line but the Calm and Headspace apps can be a good place to start if you’re new to all of this.
- Keep in touch with your loved ones – not just on social media! Actually, pick up the phone, do a Zoom/Facetime call, see people for a walk (if you’re allowed to in your area). There’s nothing like real life interactions. They boost your spirits and are good for your health by reducing stress by having a good laugh with your friends, it’s good for your immune system.
- Plan something big and epic – studies have shown that having something to look forward to, such as a holiday, gives you more happiness when you’re planning it than when you’re actually on the holiday. This lockdown can’t last forever! Make a big, exciting plan for later this year or next year – it can be a big trip, a party with all your friends, a plan to move house or move cities. Think about it and start planning it!
- Get your house in order – if you have more time right now, use it to get things in order. You could sort out your cupboards, sort out your finances, do things that would normally seem a bit boring such as sorting out insurances or wills.
- Be kind to yourself – we find ourselves in extraordinary times. This is a hard time, with everyone having a massive change to their routine and life. There will be good days and bad days, days where we feel super productive, and days where you just sit on the couch eating and watching Netflix feeling miserable. It’s all ok. Reach out when you feel low to your support network and enjoy the days you feel good. You’re only human. Remember if you’re really struggling there are lots of support agencies out there such as The Samaritans on 116 123.
This too shall pass!