With the announcement of a three-tiered system of covid restrictions in England, you may be worried about what’s to come over the next few weeks and months.
For many people, the idea of being largely confined to their homes again is a worrying one, having only just begun to return to some semblance of normality. The national lockdown was tough and it’s completely natural to feel anxious about the prospect of doing it all again, especially with winter drawing in.
If you find that you’re struggling and are looking for ways to manage your mental wellbeing, try some of these tips.
Establish a routine
It’s an idea that’s bandied around a lot, but if you find yourself having to spend more time confined to your home, it’s vital to maintain a sense of routine. Without one, it becomes far too easy to slip into bad habits, to give into anxiety or to dwell on negative thoughts.
Likewise, with so many of us wrestling with our sleep, getting out of bed every morning at a similar – and reasonable – time can be particularly helpful. You’ll be more likely to feel tired at bedtime and will find it much easier to maintain healthy sleeping habits. Similarly, try to eat at set times, so that you don’t find yourself grazing throughout the day.
Try to move around as much as possible. If you’re unable to visit the gym, try to follow an online workout, though it’s important that you remember to exercise safely and within the limits of your own body. There are a huge number of routines available for all levels of fitness. You could even exercise outside or go for a walk, to breathe in some fresh air and soak up some natural light.
Nutrition is vital too. Ensure you eat well and keep hydrated. Similarly, moderate your caffeine intake and avoid consuming too much alcohol. Looking after your body will go a long way towards maintaining your mental wellbeing.
Learn something new
When has there been a better opportunity to finally start that book you’ve been meaning to write, or learn a new language? Working on a project can be a great way of adding structure and fulfilment to a potentially daunting period of time at home.
See what online resources are available to get you started or simply work through the reading list that you’ve been building. Whether it be cooking, drawing or finally tackling the DIY project that you’ve been putting off, use this time to achieve something you’ve always been too busy for. Ultimately, it’s about trying to slow down a little; something of a luxury in our ordinarily busy lives.
Maintain some control
If you’ve found yourself confined by fresh lockdown restrictions, it may begin to feel as though you have little control over your life. It’s important to remember though, that there are areas you can always control. You are able to influence and control things within your own home, as well as how you act when you venture outside, so try not to lose sight of that. Recognising and accepting this will help to alleviate some of the anxieties brought on by being stuck inside.
Keep up social contact
Try, in whatever way possible, to speak to your friends and family as often as you can. Share your thoughts and feelings – it’s likely that you won’t be alone in them – and consider offering yourself up as a listening ear to your loved ones. It will provide you with a sense of purpose and give your day some meaning.
Perhaps most importantly though, try to find opportunities to laugh and indulge in shared humour. It will not only calm you down and restore happy endorphins, but also allows for bursts of escapism.
It’s so important to give yourself permission to simply switch off if you begin to feel overwhelmed by current events. Try watching the news just once a day and limiting your exposure to social media. If you are keen to stay updated though, try not to focus solely on the bad. Whilst there are many troubling stories in the news, there are also plenty of positive examples of kindness and community spirit. This will help bring you some perspective and remind us all that there are many people trying to help.
Ultimately though, try to remember that this will pass. The future may feel uncertain at the moment, but it will bring with it some clarity and – hopefully – a renewed sense of normality.
Written by: Kirsty Lilley
Kirsty has delivered mindfulness and self-compassion courses to a wide variety of workplaces during her career and is also a trained psychotherapist and coach. She has worked at a strategic level within organisations developing wellbeing policies and been responsible for developing training courses on improving mental health and wellbeing, as well as courses designed to help line managers support people with mental health difficulties effectively and continually works towards the reduction of stigma within workplace settings. Kirsty is committed to an integrated and compassionate approach when helping others to fulfil their potential.
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