What can we do to survive Lockdown 3?
Almost a year into the pandemic many people are beginning to feel worn out and low. It seems hard to carry on and many people feel that their mental health is suffering. Firstly I think it is important to acknowledge that feelings of anxiety and exhaustion are an entirely normal reaction to a difficult situation. We have endured huge life changes with our normality turned on its head. Our normal coping mechanisms are often not available e.g. going to the gym, socialising with friends. Our basic human need for connection with others is very not being met. It is very difficult but mostly we are coping very well. If I had told you a year ago what was ahead of us, most of us would have said we wouldn't cope with the challenge. However here we are, somewhat battered but still standing! Take a moment to acknowledge how resilient you have been.
While there is much that we cannot control, such as when the pandemic will be over and when we can expect to get our vaccinations, we can control certain aspects of our health and mental health. It can be helpful during lockdown to maintain a routine, try to keep Monday to Friday in a work style routine so it is different to the weekend. That will break the week and allow the weekend to feel more like a weekend rather than a succession of endless days.
Get some basics right in your lifestyle, these are all common sense but they really so contribute to an overall sense of wellbeing.
- Get enough sleep, we need eight hours sleep in order to properly recharge. Failure to get enough sleep can lead to us waking feeling anxious or frustrated.
- Exercise outdoors in the fresh air for at least 30 minutes. Try to get out for a change of scenery, breath in the fresh air, get the benefits of daylight (particularly important at this time of year).
- Try to eat well, a balanced diet without too much junk. Also try not to drink too much alcohol, alcohol acts as a depressant and can leave us feeling worse.
- Cut down on your exposure to bad news. Try and limit your intake of bad news and speculation. Doomscrolling can result in a digital diet of bad news and impact on our mood. Try and be in charge of your phone rather than letting it be in charge of you!
- Make contact with your friends and family, if you can't meet outside for a walk, maybe do a virtual walk. Both people walk and chat, not quite as good as face to fact but not bad!