Maintaining Wellbeing During Lockdown
For many people lockdown is easing, and they’re now able to see people in their gardens for barbecues, visit parks and shops are soon to open again.
But for others in vulnerable households, lockdown life is going to continue for a while longer.
It was tough initially adjusting to not being able to just pop to the shops whenever we ran out of something, or I had a new meal idea. It was hard to only be able to walk the dog around the local streets and not being able to go out wherever and whenever I wanted.
After three months I’ve adjusted to this; Planning meals in advance, finding new local streets and fields to explore and finding things to do in the home to break up the day.
Physically I’m not sleeping well, I’m overeating, but I’m not doing too bad now I’m in a routine.
Mentally, that’s another story…
Lockdown has been tough on so many of us, even those who have never had a mental health problem in their lives.
This is unknown territory for us. We’re not used to being forced to stay in a building and not socialise for months unless we are in prison.
Humans haven’t been able drive far or socialise by seeing friends and family. To be fair, I’m not hugely sociable anyway and tend to go months without talking to anyone outside of my immediate family, but even I’ve found it tough.
My anxiety has been up and down. Initially it was huge, worrying if I could get food, worrying if my mother got it she could die (that worry is still there daily) and worrying how to educate my eight year old and lack of income.
Over time this has settled a little, but it’s a rollercoaster. Some days I’m achieving lots in the home, on the blog and homeschool. Other days it’s hard to even cook dinner and have a conversation.
Sleep is rare. Snacks are constantly on my mind. Home educating is really, really tough. My son’s not wanting to do any of it and is fighting me all the way.
He’s bored and missing having other children to be around and play with.
Here’s how I’m trying to maintain my wellbeing, as I know there’s still a long way to go and I’m determined to come out of this with a shred of sanity!
I hope these tips may be useful for you, and feel free to add your own in the comments below.
Lockdown Wellbeing Tips
Have a Routine
Our brains seem to do better with a routine. It doesn’t have to be extravagant- it could just be setting times to be up and dressed, fed and listing small household chores to achieve.
While it’s nice to lounge around in pyjamas, mentally it can have a lethargic, negative effect if done everyday.
Try to Exercise
I’m attempting the NHS’ Couch to 5k which involves three 30 minutes sessions of walking and jogging per week. The idea is to learn how to jog solidly for 30 minutes in nine weeks.
I’m no runner, but having Sarah Millican talking to me during runs has actually been fun and motivating. I feel a boost of energy and positivity on the days I do it which makes it worthwhile.
Walking the dog has also meant I’ve been outside daily, which in itself is so helpful for our mental health.
Be Gentle About Home School
At the start of lockdown I felt huge pressure to educate my 8-year-old as I don’t want him to be behind when he returns to school.
But this pressure led to stressing both me and him out hugely. So I try to take it as it comes each day now. We try to do the basics: reading, bit of writing, some maths and something creative.
Some days are easier and more successful than others. He’s bored and fed up of me being his teacher so I get a lot of attitude. It’s a huge work in progress, but I don’t beat myself up about it. I’m not a qualified teacher and I’m doing the best I can which is all I can do.
Natural Ways to Boost Wellbeing
I’ve upped my vitamin D and C to try to boost my immune system. Low vitamin D can cause depression and lethargy and being mixed race I already have low levels of this.
I’ve increased my fresh fruit and vegetable intake, because nutrients are vital for the body, which in turn can help the brain.
Don’t forget to make time to pamper yourself, as self-care is critical for wellbeing.
Talk to someone about how lockdown is affecting you. That could be calling a friend or family member, talking to someone anonymously online or even talking to your doctor.
If you are getting depressed or high anxiety, a doctor may suggest some medications, exercise and talking therapies.
Don’t Feel Guilty on the Bad Days
Some days are easier/happier than others. I’ve had a lot of bad days during this, but now I accept they’re going to be there and let them be.
I no longer feel guilty if some days I achieve no chores on my to do list, because my body and mind need rest.
Pamper yourself on those days, watch TV, enjoy a bath or face mask and enjoy it.
Distractions are not helpful if used to block our feelings, but they’re great for boredom.
I’ve become addicted to TikTok! I enjoy watching mum videos that make me laugh, and I’ve even attempted some of my own videos too.
TV, films, board games, books and even puzzles are fun, calming ways to distract from the stress too.
I’ve been growing vegetables for about 3 years now and love it. I never went near a garden before that, but then I found out how amazing it is for mental health.
There’s something about growing something from seed all by yourself that feels so rewarding. It’s so calming and therapeutic to dig, weed and plant your seedlings.
I feel at peace in the garden, just like I used to at the allotment. It is away from screens, social media and even people. It recharges you.
Try to grow some tomatoes, courgettes or pretty flowers. It’s more fun than you think!
No payment was received for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.