I don’t know about you but for me, lockdown 3.0 feels so much harder than the first two. Maybe it’s the weather, the short days or maybe the monotony of staying at home has finally just hit us all. Whatever it is I’m trying to practice what I preach and rather than worrying about the things I can’t change, I’m changing the things I can control and it’s helping me feel saner as we move into month two of this lockdown.
Here are a few of the things I’m doing:
No, I’m not taking part in a remake of the classic 90s TV show (but that would be awesome). I’m simply changing my location through the day.
It was originally inspired by our cat who despite appearing to do nothing all day, does in fact change his nap location. It made me think, maybe I should try changing rooms for different work tasks or just to break up the day.
I must caveat this by saying we’re incredibly lucky to have the space to be able to do this – I really feel for anyone living in a small flat right now – but for me, it’s been really helpful to simply mix up where I spend my day.
For example, I switch from working in the office to the dining table to standing in the kitchen to my dressing table in my bedroom! No, it’s not as exciting as being able to go out and work in a cafe, and it’s probably not great for my back, but it’s really been helping my mood, my focus and my productivity. Give it a go – where else could you work from?
Putting on make-up
I’ve been making more of an effort with my appearance and, as shallow as it may sound, it really does make me feel better. I’ve been painting my nails, putting on mascara, straightening my hair etc most days and it helps me feel more professional at work – even if no one sees me! It also improves my mood. Plus I’m prepared for any unexpected FaceTime or Zoom calls or bumping into the neighbours while putting the bins out!
Socially distanced walks
I’ve met a few people for socially distanced walks in the past week and it makes a big difference to my mood. As human beings, most of us need social interaction to thrive. I’m lucky I live with two other people so I do get daily social interaction, but again the change of seeing someone different in real life has been so helpful for me. It’s inspiring to hear what other people are doing to survive and comforting to know you’re not alone if you are struggling. So if you can, find someone local to you who you can meet for a socially distanced walk – just obviously stick to the rules, don’t travel too far or stop off for a picnic!
Decluttering and organising
I spent lockdown 1.0 going through the house decluttering and you wouldn’t think there would be much left to get rid of but I find tidying and organising incredibly therapeutic – creating order in a world of chaos. So I’m now going round again and getting rid of yet more stuff, selling bits on Facebook Marketplace and organising what’s left. If you didn’t see my kitchen cupboard transformation Reel on Instagram definitely go check it out. It still makes me smile now to have all my condiments and bottles organised on those lazy susan turntables! Sometimes it really is the little things.
A psychologist once told me when we’re feeling anxious we need ‘carb TV’ – things we know off by heart which won’t stress our systems unexpectedly. While I love discovering new shows, there’s something comforting about the familiar. So I’ve been rewatching Friends and Modern Family when I just need pure simple entertainment. I think we can often feel guilty rewatching the same things when there is so much else out there, but right now, we need what makes us feel comfortable and if that’s watching Friends in jogging bottoms while eating pasta then I’m going to do that.
I started by trying to switch off from social media because while sometimes a mindless scroll is helpful, at other times it can trigger anxiety as we compare the curated snapshot we see online with our own lives and feel we’re coming up short. So sometimes the best thing for our mental health is to simply step away from that trigger.
But I’ve also extended this to switching off from the stresses of life in general. I am now trying to build in 10-minutes a day to follow a guided meditation (I find first thing in the morning best for this) and am making specific daily activities more mindful – like when I make a cup of tea I no longer do something else while the kettle boils, I simply stand and look out on our garden while listening to the water boil. Being mindful and present can really help reduce levels of our stress hormone cortisol even if you only do it for a few minutes a day. Give it a go, what daily activity could you do more mindfully?
Acts of self-care
It’s the little things which are going to help us get through the next few weeks so with that in mind I have relaunched my 24-day self-care challenge – a simple offline challenge which will boost your wellbeing by guiding you to take 10-minutes a day to care for you. After all you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Sign up here to take part. I’ll email you a 2-page PDF to print and you can cut up the individual 24 self-care challenges, place them in a jar or tin and pick one each day to complete. None of the actions takes more than 10-minutes and you need no special equipment – you could even get your kids involved in most if you’re homeschooling.