How have you found these past few weeks of lockdown? It may be that the weeks have seemed like a lifetime and many of us have been finding the loneliness and isolation a real struggle.
Without our normal daily distractions we may have started to realise that we live quite an isolated way of life, going to work then home, perhaps looking after children, maintaining our homes, maybe running a homebased business. Omit human interaction and socialising and it can be quite a lonely way of life.
It’s only when something like a global pandemic occurs that we realise how important the incidentials like office banter, coffee mornings, gyms and quiz nights really are. They’re not just places we pass through; they provide opportunities to catch up, socialise, discuss problems and enhance relationships.
Now that those restrictions are easing how are you coping with lockdown? Are you ready to revert back to ‘normal’ or do you need a little time to decide what you want, to readjust and regain your trust in the outside world?
At a time like this it’s important to look after yourself, your mental health and do things that invest in a positive mindset, support your wellbeing and make you feel good.
- How comfortable is your home? As we’ve been spending more time there it’s important to continue ensuring that it’s a welcome place to return to. We may have used the time well and expended effort in tidying, cleaning and maybe introducing some brightness and colour by way of fabrics or pictures on the walls. All ways that have made your home feel good to come back to. Fresh bedding or a relaxing bath rather than a shower can be ways to treat yourself with more kindness. It’s still tough at the moment, so be gentle with yourself. parents or children can become a little fraught if there’s no respite and still no clear end to lockdown in sight.
- How have your relationships been at home? Living in each other’s pockets, being full-on with a partner, Good manners, consideration and a sense of humour are especially important during these exceptional times. Continue planning constructive ways to spend your time together. Even if you’re tired and don’t particularly feel like making an effort, remember, home is not only about you. Maybe get the board games out, kick a ball around outside, revisit your music collection or old photograph albums. You may find these times become treasured moments where you enhance your family connection.
- Pay especial attention to mealtimes. Rather than simply grab food on the go or eat whatever’s around, instead commit to making more of a feature of your meals, as they may well be the most important part of each day. Ensure that you’re eating enjoyable, healthy, nutritious food and look after yourself. And these good habits can continue long after lockdown is over.
- Be wary of drowning your sorrows! Alcohol is actually a depressant and when we overindulge we consume an excess of toxins, hence becoming intoxicated. This then requires our body to work extra hard to clear those toxins out, so causing dehydration, headaches and low mood.
- Have you internet access? Keeping in touch with colleagues, family, friends and social groups online can be a great way of maintaining connections, discussing concerns and minimising loneliness. Many people enjoy skype and zoom calls, sharing photos, tips, support and advice, all valuable ways to feel less alone, especially in lockdown. And it’s interesting to see how successful some people have become when they’ve moved their business to an online offering. Workshops, classes, delicious foods and clothing have adapted well to a home-delivery service.
- Plan for your down time. If you live alone, still plan your reading and TV viewing in advance. It’s good to have something to look forward to. Make the most of an evening phone call by settling down with a brew for a leisurely chat with a friend. Treat yourself extra well; those little touches can make all the difference to how well you cope.
- Keeping a journal might be another way to find comfort and support. Record how you’re feeling, the thoughts you’re experiencing. Note a daily success or achievement and start to remind yourself of your value, worth and accomplishments. Focus on the good things you encounter, the beautiful sunrise, an unexpected kindness and stop discounting or taking these things for granted. It can take a little discipline to incorporate this routine into your daily life, but your journal may gradually start to include photos, pictures and other mementoes, so becoming a friend and making the entries more special.
Remember that everyone’s been touched by this unprecedented pandemic. No one’s been exempt. Whilst some will been more affected by it than others it’s important to be kind both to yourself and to those in your life. Be mutually supportive and as we come out of lockdown appreciate what really matters to you. These tough times can bring with them great insights and inner peace.
Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net