The coronavirus lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, with measures to limit the spread of the virus temporarily changing the way we live our lives. Whilst we’re all in lockdown, there’s a great amount of uncertainty and it’s understandable if you are feeling worried and overwhelmed. It’s important to look after your mental health and find moments to be calm and relaxed. Here are some suggestions about how you can manage your own wellbeing during lockdown:
Be Kind To Yourself
Things will rarely go according to plan, particularly now that all our routines are different, so it’s important to avoid self-criticism. Setting personal goals benefits our mental wellbeing because it gives us a sense of structure and purpose. Achieving these goals boost how we feel about ourselves, so feel proud of what you achieve, however small. If we feel proud of our achievements, we feel good about ourselves, happier, and less likely to feel down.
Not everything has to change because of the situation we’re in, and as much as possible you should continue to live as you did before. Think about the activities and hobbies that are important to you and how you can adapt them in lockdown. Distraction techniques are a good way to calm us and improve our sense of wellbeing. This might be a form of exercise or a new hobby. The important thing is that it’s something you enjoy.
Notice What's On Your Mind
It’s sometimes easy to overlook or ignore any negative emotions. You might feel stressed, without having realised how this started. It’s good to do regular ‘mind checks’ about how you’re feeling. Some days will be stressful or upsetting but this can’t be helped. Instead, when we’re feeling stressed, it’s best to just accept the feeling and not blame others for it.
Turn to calming activities and try to make them a regular part of your day. For some people, having a bath, listening to music or going for a walk outside will help. Find out the methods and activities that help you relax. That way, you can begin to let go of some of the more difficult feelings faced during lockdown.
Connect With Others
To support our own wellbeing, regularly connecting with other people has never been more important, so make sure you check in with friends, family members or professionals. It’s important to remember that you are not the only person who feels this way and we are all finding a way to cope during this time. It helps to share worries and experiences, so try to reach out to others and solve problems together.
While we may miss the face-to-face contact we would usually have, we can still find ways to reach out and support one another using technology. Many people are reaching out digitally, through online groups or video calls, as a supportive place to share how they feel. When we feel well supported, the calmer we tend to feel – and the more space we will have in our minds to support others in return.
Create a Routine
Having a daily routine greatly improves our wellbeing by providing us with structure and purpose. If the day feels endless and without a plan, anxiety can easily be triggered. Staying focused, knowing what happens next and feeling proud of achieving our goals makes us feel good. But it’s not easy. Try having achievable timetables with attainable goals.
We are typically used to routine in our life. The pandemic has disrupted this and it’s natural for lockdown to cause some anxiety and confusion. You don’t need to plan every moment of your day but it’s important to give ourselves as much structure as we can during this chaotic time. It’s especially important to maintain certain routines like taking daily exercise and sticking to regular mealtimes and sleeping patterns. Planning your day to balance work, leisure and rest can help us to feel reassured because we know what we expect to happen.
It’s important to remember that nobody can get things right all the time. Misunderstandings, disagreements and differences of opinion are normal, and they aren’t a sign that things are not OK. Where misunderstandings are of our own doing, it’s important that we can acknowledge that we don’t always get things right. Apologising can be helpful for getting things back on track and moving past problems. If possible, try to sort these things as early as possible to prevent negative feelings festering.
It’s natural to feel a range of feelings during times of uncertainty. Rather than ignoring or trying to control any negative emotions, we need to recognise them. Acknowledge how you feel and let those around you know that we all go up and down a bit in our emotions, and that’s OK. Being honest and open with others will boost both their wellbeing and your own.