How to Cope with Lockdown.2
Okay. Don’t panic.
We’ve been here before. We can get through this!
First things first, we need to acknowledge that this isn’t permanent.
Secondly, we need to understand that whatever we do during this second lockdown, be that sitting in our pants watching Netflix everyday or smashing your to do list, it’s okay. Nothing needs justification, nothing needs a reason, it’s just about you and your mental wellbeing.
Last lockdown saw people taking advantage of the (what we thought would be) once in a lifetime ‘break’ from reality. It allowed us to get all the jobs done around the house done that would usually get put to the bottom of the list, to turn our dreams of owning our own businesses into realities, to become the amateur chef’s we all never usually have time to indulge.
This time around though, things feel a little different. We weren’t expecting to be back in this position ever again, so where do we go from here now that these restrictions are back in our lives?
Working From Home
A lot of us are working from home for these four weeks, as we’ve most likely already been put on furlough and companies are trying everything they can to avoid having to make losses again this time around.
This can be tricky for some, especially if there’s small children involved. But also for many it can be hard to distinguish between work and home life. One thing that is super important when taking care of your mental wellbeing is being able to ‘switch off’ from work when your shift’s finished.
TIP: Try to create a separate office space which is solely for working hours. When your work is finished, be sure to turn off your computer, emails and notifications on your phone and try and get out of the house to go for a walk to really sink in that your working time is done and now when you return home you can enjoy your home time and space.
Dark Mornings and Nights
You may have heard of Circadian Rhythms. If not here’s a quick overview;
A circadian rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats on each rotation of the Earth roughly every 24 hours. It can refer to any biological process that displays an endogenous, entrainable oscillation of about 24 hours.
When the clocks change in the UK it can mess with our circadian rhythm, as well as causing SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) where a person suffers from depression during the winter months when there’s less natural daylight.
Add into this equation working from home where we’re probably leaving the house even less than we normally would, our regular routine’s gone to shit and we’re having to deal with the fact we feel trapped or bored, and we’ve got a whole mixture of emotions and feelings that we’re trying to come to terms with.
TIP: Get out of the house as much as possible. Even if you don’t have a dog or child that you can take outside for a walk, just go out. Get fresh air. Stretch your legs. Soak up some midday daylight.
Also, try and stick as closely as you can to your normal routine. Get up at the same time as you normally would, have lunch and dinner at the same time, if you would have a regular meal out try and stick to that same day but mix things up and FaceTime your friends instead. All small things which add up to keeping your schedule as close to normal as possible.
For many of us this second lockdown feels a lot like we’ve taken one step forward and three steps back. And to those that suffer from any form of mental health issue this can be tremendously hard to come to terms with.
The main advice I can give to anyone who’s in these shoes right now is to talk. Whether that’s to a friend, a family member, or your GP. Whatever you feel like you’re going through get it off your chest. Believe me you will be heard.
Another method to cope with any MH is journalling. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know i’m a huge fan of journalling.
It helps manage your anxiety
Can help cope with depression
It also provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and to help identify negative thoughts and behaviours - allowing you to recognise these and work on resolving them.
TIP: How to Journal
Grab a pad of paper, a pen and a brew.
Start by writing down your top emotions of how you’re currently feeling.
I.e Anxious, worried, overwhelmed.
Then try and write a list of reasons as to why you’re feeling this way.
looking after the children all day by myself
Having to cook and clean
Not having any escape or time for me
Not knowing when this lockdown will end
For each point on the list, write down whether this is something in your control that you can do something about, or out of your control that you can’t.
I.e looking after the children all day by myself - in my control
Not knowing when this lockdown will end - out of my control
For everything that is IN YOUR CONTROL write down each point and what you can do in the next 24 hours to address the issue. Then write down what you can do in the long term to address the issue and bigger picture.
I.e looking after the children all day by myself - in my control
24 hours - schedule out our week and what activities we will do at what time. Allocating time slots for me and my partner to look after the children.
Long term - Ask my partner to have the children for one full day a week allowing some ‘me time’.
For everything that’s OUT OF YOUR CONTROL write a list of ways that you can try to change your thoughts around this subject from NEGATIVE to POSITIVE.
I.e Not knowing when this lockdown will end - out of my control.
‘I acknowledge that this could go on for a while yet and I am okay with that, as it’s allowing me to spend quality time at home with my loved ones which I wouldn’t normally be able to do. I will stop obsessing over the news and just enjoy my time at home’.
End with a gratitude list.
Write down everything that you are grateful for right now (nothing is too small)
I.e I am grateful for the beautiful colours of Autumn
For my fresh cup of coffee
For being healthy and able to look after my children
Keeping a schedule and planing out your days and weeks is a great way to stay on top of your routine.
Get outside and stay as active as possible.
Speak to your friends and family, or seek advise from your GP.
Write lists and journal your emotions as a coping mechanism.
I hope you find this post helpful, and utilise some of the points above to help you cope with this second phase of UK lockdown. If you do try anything, be sure to tag me on Instagram.
If you’re really struggling please speak to your GP or family and friends, or alternatively my emails are always open.
Stay safe, stay sane and let’s get through this last stretch of 2020 together.
Thanks for reading,