So it’s official – we are now heading into another national lockdown for at least 4 weeks, if not longer. Depending how you found the first time around many of us may find this lockdown more difficult to navigate given we’re heading towards winter with shorter days and colder weather. Since the first shut in you may well have lost a job, business, or relationship(s), and your mental health and wellbeing may be suffering or at risk. So in this month’s blog I thought I would share some strategies for surviving another lockdown – physically taking good care of our bodies and our immunity, mentally staying sane and looking after our state of mind, and emotionally nourishing our souls.
While it’s tempting to turn to comfort foods, laze around watching TV all day, and turn to booze in the evenings (and of course we can do any of those things in moderation), it’s so important that we look after ourselves physically. Physical health is intrinsically linked with our mental health, so it’s never been more important to:
- Eat well – ensure you’re eating a healthy balanced diet including a range of fruits and vegetables to nourish your body and boost your immunity
- Supplement Vitamin D – the NHS recommends 10 micrograms a day through the Autumn/Winter as low levels of Vitamin D are associated with symptoms of depression
- Limit or reduce alcohol consumption – while there’s nothing wrong with the odd tipple to take the edge off, if you are prone to depressive symptoms too much alcohol is likely to add to your anxiety and low mood as it’s a depressant
- Exercise regularly – use home equipment, follow workouts online, and get outside for walks, runs, or cycling
- Make time for rest – while it’s tempting to stay up later and lie-in during lockdown, it’s far healthier to keep to a regular sleep routine, and listen to your body when it’s tired
In any given year, 1 in 4 adults will be diagnosed with a mental health condition, but 2020 has obviously been far more challenging for most of us than a typical year. I’m sure at some point or another this year you have felt almost at your wits end – whether you were locked down with family and struggled to find time and space for yourself, lost your job or have been facing financial difficulties, or living alone and feeling lonely. How can you safeguard your mental health and manage any anxiety that arises this time around?
- Stick to a routine – daily habits may vary depending on a person, but we are creatures of habit, and it’s good for our mental health to follow a routine – particularly in the morning upon rising to set yourself up for a positive day
- Train your brain – keep your brain fit, healthy, and stimulated with puzzles like sudoku or crosswords, taking up a new hobby, reading, or learning a new language
- Set yourself some goals – big or small – to give yourself focus and motivation, and reward your achievements
- Be present – practice mindfulness or meditation to keep yourself grounded in the moment and avoid worrying about the future
- Lose yourself – films and boxsets are a great form of escapism, so allow yourself time to switch off an lose yourself in a good watch every now and then – just keep an eye on how much time you spend in front of the telly as it can adversely affect your mood leading to feelings of guilt and laziness
Finally it’s crucial that we take care of our emotional health and nourish our souls during these challenging times.
- It’s good to talk – we are social creatures so it’s important to stay in touch and speak often with friends and family, nurture your social and professional networks, and get to know your neighbours (you never know when you’ll need them!)
- Love yourself – being kind to ourselves has never been more necessary. If you’re feeling down on yourself try writing a list of your achievements so far in life and take time to appreciate yourself, or create some positive affirmations you can use to boost yourself up every day
- Ground yourself – keep yourself grounded and present by spending time in nature, meditating, or practicing mindfulness, or breathing exercises
- Let it out – if you need to cry, vent or scream then do. We all feel sad at times – with or without lockdown, and crying actually releases feel-good hormones that help to ease both physical and emotional pain and give you a sense of calm and wellbeing
- Practice self-care – all of the above are strategies for self-care, as well as doing the things you enjoy – whether that’s walking in nature, taking a nice long bath with candles, reading, treating yourself to a piece of cake, or journaling your feelings (the list is endless!)
If you’d like to prioritise your wellbeing during this second lockdown I’m re-running my popular ‘Surviving Another Lockdown and Winter Wellbeing’ workshop this month – 10am – 1pm on Saturday 28th November via Zoom. We cover a variety of strategies and tips for looking after your wellbeing in detail, open and close with relaxing guided meditations, and you also receive your own self-care gift set like the ones pictured delivered to you as part of the ticket price.