Finding light in the lockdown
Fears and anxieties
This is normal during this time but if it is affecting your functioning and wellbeing you might need a step back. Have you ever thought what may be driving the negative thoughts? It is important to educate yourself enough that you are kept up to date with information that will keep you safe. But are you sure looking up the daily death count-o-meter is helpful? Or reading all those WhatsApp forwards….Or listening to that friend who has a conspiracy theory for everything…. You are in control of what you listen to and how much (turn off apps, politely tell friends you don’t find their texts helpful) Perspective is key (more survive COVID-19 than not, more COVID-19 tests are negative than positive).
Work from home
This is new territory for a lot of us. It will need trial and error to fix up routine that works for you, and also to learn new good habits but try stick to usual routine as much as possible. Wake up same time, eat breakfast, exercise, dress smartly (no PJs), hair brushed etc. Try to work outside of your bedroom or AT LEAST no working in your bed. Have meals and breaks away from the desk and keep away from WhatsApp text marathons with mates. Have proper start and finish times and don’t let your whole day blur into a work/home mess.
Your bed is only for 2 things; sleep and relationships. Don’t associate anything else with it otherwise will be hard to switch off when need to. Don’t bring devices into bed; laptops in bed are not a work station. Switch off devices one hour before bedtime (put phone on Aeroplane mode to stop you sneaking a peek in middle of night?) Melatonin (sleep hormone) builds up over the day, every time devices are switched on, melatonin drops down.
Healthy weight is important for good immune system and general good physical and mental health. With reduced movements you might need to reduce intake, increase portions of fruit, veg and good fibres. Be careful of mindless boredom snacking. Eat meals away from desk, at the dinner table with family. If by yourself, maybe organise online dinner date with a friend/family? Without panic stocking, you have realised you have enough food to last you for a while and only need to buy essentials as top ups- choose this time to change eating habits for the better. Be grateful for the small things-even if you can’t always buy things from the shops, they were probably luxuries rather than absolute staples. Remember we have enough food supply chain- you will not starve, but taking lots of food off the shelves takes it away from the elderly/vulnerable who can’t go out as much as you.
There are tonnes of free exercise stuff on YouTube (9am Joe Wicks PE workout anybody?!) Make it social by doing live online classes. Daily exercise is a must! Incorporate different types different days e.g. stretching to ensure muscles don’t stiffen and shorten, especially if at desk all day. Take breaks from WFH and get up and move from desk. Vitamin D important so within social distancing, try to walk outside.
Social and Leisure
Stick to routine (the good parts) using innovative ways to ‘meet up’ and incorporate new good habits. There are lots of free online social groups; look it up on Eventbrite, Meetup, etc (virtual quiz night, exercise club….etc.) You can make your own social group within your family and friendship circle. Text marathons are not an ideal way to truly stay connected, so aim to do regular video/phone calls for your close ones. Turn off social media at times so you are not over relying on it for human contact. Talk about normal things, not just COVID-19. We want to all try to come out of this a better person; build into your week at least one activity/ learning opportunity you always wanted to do but never had the time (Language? Coding? Cooking?) Give back… volunteering and helping others boosts happy hormones. Giving zakat, charity, telephone befriending for elderly…anyway you think might help. Spirituality and faith can be a very healing time now. Don’t be afraid of isolation, contemplation and a time to get closer to God in a way that is comfortable for you.
The government has responded in a number of ways to try to help people in different categories; statutory sick pay if isolating, applying for universal credit, self-employed, loss of job etc. It is important to read up and know your rights. Check up on mortgage holidays, making sure to discuss with landlords early. Check with your banks on rules on overdrafts, using savings and fees being waivered. Use a budget planner- what are your in-goings and outgoings, perhaps write it down? Review your outgoings and review them again… and then again (if finances are a huge issue, really think if various subscriptions are needed etc.) Don’t browse online out of boredom as you might find yourself buying things which aren’t needed. Charity is not always financial, so if you want to increase your deeds, remember even a smile is charity.