11 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health During the Next Lockdown
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (honestly, who could blame you) you will have heard that most of Europe and North America is moving back into lockdown to brace for the next phase of the pandemic.
As though life wasn’t difficult enough when the first wave of Covid hit, the thought of going back into lockdown can make even the most resilient people want to cry. Coupled with other chaotic world events (I’m looking at you, US election!) it is no wonder everyone’s stress and anxiety levels are at an all time high.
So how do we get through this next phase of lockdown in one piece, given that most of us are still traumatized from the first one?
Keeping it simple is the way forward
The best way to ease into this upcoming lockdown is by taking things one week at a time. Instead of worrying about finally publishing your novel, landing that massive promotion or achieving any other long-term goals, keep your focus on more short-term events where possible.
If we learned anything from the first lockdown, it is that things can change very quickly during a pandemic. Therefore, there is little point in stressing over something in the distant future, when we don’t even know what the situation will be like next week. By keeping your worries confined to small, near-term events, your mind will be a more peaceful place.
Secondly, the next best thing to do for your mental health right now is to try and keep life simple and be kind to yourself. For the next few weeks, try to forget about what you ought to be doing and instead do what serves you in the moment.
Here is a list of simple habits anyone can stick to over the next few weeks of lockdown to improve their mental health:
- Rain or shine, try to take a walk outside if you are able to. Fresh air and greenery does wonders for the soul.
- Be extra conscious of your posture throughout the day, because we are all sitting and lying down more often.
- Talk to other humans. Call your family, text a friend, make small talk with the cashier. Everyone is feeling lonelier these days and could use an uplifting chat.
- Make sure you are getting all of your vitamins and nutrients, most importantly vitamin D.
- Lying on the ground can be very grounding, especially when accompanied by deep breaths. I highly recommend this if the world ever becomes too much.
- When you are feeling low, lift your spirits by dancing to music that you love.
- Buy something to make you happier at home, because you’ll be spending a lot more time there this winter. Luxe candles, a good cookbook, a plant, a lap desk.
- Put up your Christmas lights early. There really are no rules anymore.
- Join an online support group if you need someone to talk to. Knowing you aren’t all alone can be incredibly comforting and cathartic.
- Schedule something in the calendar to look forward to in the next week or so. Even the smallest things, like going to the farmer’s market or making a challenging recipe, can re-invigorate you during a stale week.
- Watch an old movie that inspires you. Then watch all of the credits and be mesmerized by all of the people that had to come together just to tell this story.
If all else fails, remind yourself that if you can make it through the remainder of this year with only a handful of mental breakdowns on your roster, then you are already ahead of the curve.
As we inch closer to the end of this year, it’s becoming clearer that 2020 will be an experience we can all hopefully agree to write off.
Sure, there will always be a few outliers who come out thriving and living their best life or whatever, but the rest of us should sleep just as soundly knowing we barely made it through, and that’s ok too.
2020 isn’t your year. It’s not my year, or anyone else’s. In a way, this fact is very comforting.
By keeping our standards low, surrendering any self-imposed expectations and freeing ourselves from having to perform at 110%, there is a good chance we might make it to 2021 in one piece.