Right now our freedom is the concern on most people’s minds because many of our usual freedoms are being taken away. Depending on where you are in the world, you are either living with lockdown, or it could be imminent in your area.
This is to protect the community and our physical health, but it might seem that our mental health could now be put at risk by enforced confinement. However it doesn’t have to be.
There are several steps you can take to keep yourself occupied, emotionally stable, and even on a positive track to self-improvement.
Your mental balance will be protected if you focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t. Rather than seeing the restrictions, look for the possibilities they present. Use the time wisely and you can become psychologically stronger and more resourceful. Here are some suggestions as to how to make your living with lockdown better:
One of the main ingredients of emotional resilience is your attitude in a crisis. The ability to see things as they are without dramatising will help preserve your emotional energy and shield you from worry.
Whatever your outlook, protect yourself by staying away from scaremongering and catastrophizing. This means avoid negativity in all its forms. You need information, but keep it to a minimum. Avoid too much news, some people, and above all, be very selective with social media. You are careful about what you eat and drink, apply the same caution to what you consume through your eyes and ears. What you take in can be just as toxic and damaging as an unhealthy diet.
Structure and routine
Structured and routine can help you feel more in control. Organising your time into both daily and weekly routines can establish healthy patterns in your life. This leaves you less time to worry about things you can’t change.
If you are working from home you already have a partial structure. Stick to it with regular work/break times. Be disciplined about this, and respect your timetable. The same applies even if you are not working. In either case, get up at a regular time each day and wash and dress as if you had to go out and face the world. Alternatively, you can read our tips to be more productive.
Sleep is vital for wellbeing and routine is a must so stick a regular bedtime and get up at the same time each morning. This applies to weekends too because ‘sleeping in’ or binging on sleep will disturb your sleep patterns.
Now that you can’t go to the gym, but there’s plenty you can do at home to keep yourself in shape and even improve your fitness. Exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous. Regular Yoga, Tai-chi, aerobics and dancing are all beneficial. If you are allowed out then walk or run if that appeals to you.
Relationships need to be kept in good shape too. 24/7 living together can be stressful if you are not prepared for it, and stress can threaten even the healthiest bonds. Harmonious and tolerant relationships don’t happen by accident, you need to work at them. Talk to your partner, and do nice things for each other. It’s easy to become preoccupied with daily concerns and to overlook those you love.
Take time and care in planning and preparing your meals. Regular mealtimes are better for relationships, your digestion, and your mental health.
6) Learn something new
Develop an interest or hobby. One of the great things about our connected world is that the possibilities are limitless. Many universities offer free courses and there’s currently a boom in online learning. If this sort of study sounds too formal to you, then consider improving your practical skills like cooking, art, or writing. If you have a particular talent or skill you might even launch a course of your own. Otherwise, you can learn about yourself through personality quizzes in the free LiveMore app.
7) Stay connected
Arrange virtual dates, meet-ups, book-groups, or study sessions. Planning these at a regular time each week will help others, as well as you. Ask around, then organise it. Take charge and make it happen. If you are not confident enough to do it by yourself then partner up and plan together.
Make time for fun! Board games, card games, playing music (or learning to play a real or virtual instrument). If your imagination isn’t up to creating your diversions, there is no shortage of conventional entertainment; stream a concert or plan a movie evening.
9) Look ahead
Living with lockdown may be inconvenient but it doesn’t have to be all bad news. We will all be changed by this global crisis but the restrictions offer time for reflection, insight and even planning for some of the things you told yourself you would do ‘one day’ or ‘when I have time’.
This may be a good time to reflect on how your life could be improved for the better, once this is all over. Things may never be ‘normal’ in the same way, and now might be the time to learn from experience and to begin planning how you would like your life to be once freedom is returned to us.
If you’re interested in reading additional personal development advice, feel free to visit my blog.