20th May 2020
It’s Day 3427398328923 of Lockdown and the conversations have officially dried up. There is no news except ‘The News’ and that’s mostly a shambles of completely differing opinions and viewpoints that make all those 2019 Brexit arguments feel like drinks party gossip. As time wears on, many of us are adamant that we will put on a brave face no matter what, many of us are riding the wave of emotion like a cheap fairground rollercoaster with no guarantee that the safety straps work, and many of us can feel ourselves slowly going under, engulfed by the prolonged stressors of uncertainty, boredom and tricky mindsets.
All reactions are valid in such an extraordinary set of circumstances, but there are some positive ways that we can react to what’s happening, without ignoring our difficult and often varying emotions.
Recognise that there are moments to push and strive, moments to actively rest and recover, and moments to just quietly stand still and observe. You may travel through all 3 of these states multiple times during Lockdown and that’s fine. As long as you recognise which state your body and mind requires, you can honour it, knowing that it’s just the flow of you taking care of yourself. That doesn’t mean you allow yourself to plummet into a state of doing nothing or numbing out your feelings with TV or food or alcohol. It means being self aware and acknowledging that today might just be a day to send one email and turn the computer off, or to just focus on cooking for your kids or taking an afternoon nap.
Spend some socially distanced time with really good friends. That will look different for people in different areas, but it could be a Zoom call, it could be a gin and tonic poured into a reusable coffee cup and a 2m stroll around the park with a neighbour. Spend time with the people who pump your tires, and you can help elevate their mood too. Make it someone different from the people you live with, or co-workers who you regularly talk business with. And make it more than just a bit of banter at the preamble section of a group quiz. See the friends who you can really dig deep with and you will come away feeling refreshed.
Go to bed at a decent time every night. Like 10pm decent. Repeatedly staying up late is not conducive to a good mindset. And if you’re worried you’ll wake up at 5am, so what? The sun is up, start your day and take some quiet time to yourself before the world wakes up and the chaos starts again. It will help you feel a lot more centered than going to bed late and waking up on the back foot.
Congratulate yourself. What for? Whatever you did well today. Getting dressed, cooking a meal, not losing your sh*t when your child poured something all over the carpet. Speak to yourself like an American chat show host. GOOD JOB YOU! WELL DONE! WELL WOULD YOU LOOK WHO WE GOT HERE, SHE HUNG THE LAUNDRY ON THE LINE, WAY TO GO LADY! Just the physical act of smiling releases endorphins and lowers stress, so if you can make yourself laugh and compliment yourself too, then it’s a little win-win for lockdown ladies everywhere.
Keep moving. You may have abandoned the online fitness regime and those handweights may well be gathering dust in the cupboard, but keep moving your body every day, and not just to walk to the shops. Get out and look at something green, some clear water, some beautiful flowers. Take some time to be in nature, it’s a natural mood booster.
Keep eating well. Easier said than done when every major fast food outlet is now delivering at all hours of the day, but it’s critically important, along with drinking less alcohol. If you can’t remember the last time you didn’t have junk food or a drink, then make today that day. You can hit the Big Mac again tomorrow (just the one, mind)
Plan a trip. You might not be actually booking it right now, but get planning. Having something to look forward to is a huge mood boost and this type of internet escapism is a good thing! Plan what you might wear, who you’ll go with, what the local activities are. Make a Pinterest board and share it with a friend.
Read some books, or some old magazines. Escape from the chatter and dive back into a world where this was all science fiction.
Offer yourself small, easy kindnesses. Wash your bed linen, wash your hair, cuddle your kids, cuddle your dog, have a little dance to some 90s R&B (we’ve made you a playlist here)
Know that this will end. Things are already getting better, and as much as this pandemic has become a hideous political circus and fear-inducing merry-go-round, a lot of good things have come from it. The world is accidentally becoming more environmentally conscious, mental health is being openly discussed and addressed and not seen as a weakness, people are spending more time with their families than in a very long time and individuals are realising who and what their priorities are. We won’t suddenly be in a global Utopia by the end of the year, but some things will definitely improve. And while it’s important to remember and learn from what happened, for now, calm your mind, and know that this will pass.
For a bit of rather excellent further viewing on the topic of feeling difficult emotions, take a look at Harvard psychologist Susan David’s TED Talk here:
The Balance Club x