It’s happened. We’ve arrived at the start of Lockdown 2: Electric Boogaloo, with many people feeling nervous and uncertain about the times ahead.
Even though the pandemic remains a major world health crisis, it’s important to factor in the impact lockdowns are having on your mental health, as well as find logical solutions to mediate the effects.
The original lockdown in spring had a huge impact on people’s mental health and personal wellness. And as the second national lockdown falls in the gloomy winter months, opportunities to venture outside and socialise in the park are looking slim.
So, what can you do to improve emotional stability during these testing times? Read on to learn about some tips we hope will help you through the next few weeks and months.
Don’t stay glued to the news
Raise your hands if you’ve been glued to your phones during the pandemic.
Smartphones are both a blessing and a curse. While they allow us to stay connected and informed, our reliance on these devices also means we can never switch off. Staying informed is one thing, but spending the day glued to the news and refreshing for updates is enough to drive anyone mad.
Consider setting aside time — maybe half an hour in the morning and evening — to consume coverage about the outbreak and give yourself a reprieve throughout the rest of the day. And don’t worry, we guarantee the news will still be there when you get back.
Spend more time doing things you enjoy
Improve your emotional stability by making more of a conscious effort to do things you enjoy during the second lockdown.
If nothing else, coronavirus and its consequences have given us a fresh perspective on life — one which is founded on valuing what’s near and dear to us, from spending time with family to racking up playtime on our favourite video games.
We all have people we love and pastimes that make us happy. And in some ways, lockdown allows us to find deeper value in the things we love to do.
Here are a few examples of what I’ve been trying to do more of during lockdown:
- Reading great books
- Creating Spotify playlists for work
- Playing video games (and planning on treating myself to a PlayStation 5)
- Catching up on critically acclaimed movies
- Putting time aside for friends and family
Use lockdown as a chance to slow down and indulge in the little things. Yes, that big holiday is cancelled and work is looking uncertain. But Spiderman: Into the Spider-verse just arrived on Netflix, so give yourself a break and kick your feet up.
Learn a new skill
You’ve likely heard enough about being practical through lockdown. After all, these are tough times for us all — and life is beginning to feel like a pressure cooker ready to explode.
Don’t feel obligated to learn a new qualification or sit a stressful online exam. Rather, it’s best to keep busy with things you enjoy and have a curiosity to learn about. We’re all muddling through and dealing with lockdown in our own way, so it stands to reason we find our own ways to keep busy and find emotional stability during these testing times.
Fancy yourself as a whizz in the kitchen? Spend some free time cooking something new and mastering your cooking skills. What about the novel you said you’d write? Maybe you can delve into the writing process and learn more about the craft. There’s an infinite pool of new skills and intriguing hobbies you can pick up in lockdown 2.
Try not to succumb to the pressure because you feel you have to, though — how you choose to spend your time is up to you. Find a way to incorporate learning into your lockdown routine without making it feel like another task.
Most of all, enjoy what you’re learning about. Otherwise, your motivation goes out the window.
Get a good night’s sleep
Whether we’re in lockdown or not, getting a good night’s sleep is arguably the most important factor that affects our emotional stability.
Good quality rest can make a big difference in our lives. This is because how we sleep — and how long we sleep for — sets us up for the day ahead. So, making sure you’re well-rested puts you in the best position to face the day and improve your mental wellbeing.
However, sleeping soundly through the night doesn’t come naturally to many people, especially with the added anxiety of lockdown. Our minds are always active, particularly when there is something to worry about.
The NHS marks consistency as the key to getting a good night sleep. Here are some useful tips recommended by health professionals:
- Set a regular bedtime: help settle your brain into a routine
- Wind down before you sleep: put yourself in the mood for sleep
- Create a sleep-friendly bedroom: minimise distractions and improve sleep hygiene
Sleep is one of the most important parts of your day and you need to respect it, especially during lockdown — a time when external worries and bad thoughts can disrupt your daily routine.
With the second lockdown looming you may feel things are getting on top of you. But remember, you’re resilient and you’ll get through it like you did the last one.
Put down the phone and stop reading the news. Instead, spend the time focussing on the things you love, lean into your curious side, and most importantly get some much-needed rest.