How to prepare to cope for another lockdown
As the temperature cools and we head into autumn and winter, it also looks increasingly likely that we are also heading into another lockdown. Or at least some significant curbs on our collective freedom. Although, for the most part, it isn’t something to look forward to, we can put ourselves in the best position to survive and emerge intact and ready to meet the world again come spring!
What can you do to help you through lockdown?
If you are someone who found the last lockdown a real challenge, the best place to start is finding coping strategies to enable you to keep as balanced as possible. Beginning now will mean you have the best chance of creating the mental headspace to help you achieve this.
Prepare to make yourself comfortable
Last time the lockdown took us all by surprise. This time, however, you have more chance to get yourself and your environment ready. Before the world sells out once again buy yourself something cosy to lounge around the house in. Whether that’s a pair of snuggly socks or a cashmere blanket, there is something out there to suit every budget. Making your environment as enjoyable as possible will allow you to feel happily at home, safe and protected.
Think about food
Really begin to notice how the way you eat affects your mood. Gather some recipes together that you really enjoy. Research which snacks might help elevate your mood rather than your weight. Take a look at how you ate during the last lockdown and decide if there’s anything you’d change to help you emerge feeling like the best version of yourself.
Make a provision for exercise
Even during a lockdown, there is a chance to get those endorphins moving through some kind of physical exercise. Whatever it is you enjoy, get a plan together now and the means to achieve it. If you plan to walk, ensure you have a warm coat and decent shoes. If you want to yoga your way through look into some online classes that suit your budget - and if you are new to it, begin to limber up now so it is less of a challenge when you start. You might also want to find an exercise buddy or a class that has more interactivity, to give you that personal connection.
Do a review
Although we mightn’t really like to think about it, it is really helpful to take a look back and be honest with ourselves about how we felt at different points during the last lockdown. What drained your energy or made days harder? Which things did you secretly enjoy? Who or what made you happy? What kind of communication helped you? What kinds of people or information supported and enlightened you - rather than raised more anxiety or frustration? Understanding how all of these things can be managed can really help us create more of the good times and less of the stressful ones.
Be mindful of media
Whether it is social media with its wide range of opinions or the next box-set we choose to watch, the media we let into our minds creates real feelings that can either lift or darken our mood. It can sometimes be hard to step out of the conversation - and equally hard to begin another, but it is important to realise that what we choose to let into our environment has a genuine affect. This tends to be heightened when our perceived world is temporarily limited in terms of human interaction and a more confined environment. Begin a list of more positive viewing, listening and conversational possibilities, so that next time you have too much time on your hands you move toward the more uplifting choices.
Find a purpose
It always helps if we can manage to find some kind of purpose to our days. This might be an over-arching purpose that could cover the next few months - like a fundraising campaign or giving your time to help others. Equally it might be a quieter day to day reflection - a conversation, broadening your creativity, even clearing out a cupboard. It doesn’t matter how big or small it is, having a sense of purpose helps us to value our time, value ourselves and in turn, allow others to value us too.
Find support now
This could be an online group, family, a good friend or a professional. In fact it could be all of those things. Building a structure and network of support - even if we don’t yet feel the need - will mean we are helping to secure our future mental well-being. You might want to tackle some negative thinking or just have someone to talk through what is going on. You might want to clear something that’s being niggling away for a long time and begin to prepare your mind for a brighter future. You can use support to both help you through the 'now' - but also to enable you to move forward in the best way possible. There are lots of online coaches and there will be one out there to suit you if that’s what you want. Deciding to take the first step toward finding the support that’s right for you will give you what you need and can be a really great weight off your mind.
Although the current situation may be far from ideal, there are opportunities to look after ourselves and also to give us the time and headspace to grow. As humans we are built to adapt - that is what you have already begun to do and this is just another phase on the journey. At some point things will improve. Until then we can take the initiative to protect and nurture our spirit, creativity and our mental well-being. We can come out the other side of this stronger, wiser and ultimately brighter. We just need to make a decision and do it.