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Lost in lockdown? 7 daily steps to feeling like you again

The feeling of uncertainty and constant changes. The separation and isolation from friends and society. The fragility that has been highlighted with each struggle or loss. The monotony and confinement of being in one place. It’s been easy to lose a sense of self in lockdown. This is why it really is so important to commit to ourselves and take even the smallest changes, creating a shift and lightening the load. 

We hear a lot about ‘self-care’ these days, but what is it, what does it really mean? Is it selfish? Indulgent? Uncaring? We also constantly hear about ‘protecting your mental health’ - but how do we do it? Protect what exactly - the way we think? Or is it the way we feel? The truth is, if we take steps to feel true to ourselves, have a purpose, take care of ourselves and connect then we will naturally be both looking after our mental health and ticking the self-care boxes. There aren’t any rules. It is about what allows you to feel whole, respected, stimulated, valued … you.

Though it can seem difficult to know where to start, this technique is great in helping you address different needs within yourself, brighten your mood and bring about a sense of equilibrium. 

There are seven different areas to focus on - one for each day of the week. 

These areas are: 

  1. Human
  2. Healthy
  3. Connected
  4. Balanced
  5. Attractive
  6. Mindfully engaged
  7. Creative

Each area is associated with a concept. For example, the first one - Human - is simply about what allows us to feel human, alive, awake, present. Following the technique each day, will bring about a sense of self, allowing you to feel more like you again. The longer you continue, the more that will grow to feel the very best version of who you really are and want to be. After the first week, you’ll likely feel more positive. Carry on for six weeks - adapting what works for you as you go - you’ll be actively enjoying a sense of self.

For each area, each week, write down three things to do that will fulfil each basic need. Ensure you choose things that feel good to you - rather than what you ‘ought’ to be doing or think you ‘should’. It doesn’t matter how simple they are. It’s fine too, especially as the weeks progress, to give something new a go, so long as it’s judgement free if you choose to leave it behind. 

Man writing

Follow the plan, focussing on one element per day - carrying out all three of your ideas on that day. Aim to do this for six weeks. You can start your plan on any day of the week, its a good idea though to stick to the order in which you focus on each element.

Here are the elements and some ideas on what might fulfil that need;

Day 1: Human

This is about the most basic of acts that are integral to you feeling that you are the valuable human being that you are. The things that we enjoy not doing for a day or two, but that can eat away at our confidence and self respect if they are left to drift. Though they may seem basic, all over the world there are rituals associated with bathing and dressing, eating and sleeping. How we perform these acts are fundamental to what we are. Some simple tasks you might do;

Refresh

  • take an exhilarating shower
  • enjoy a hot bath
  • have a good shave
  • take time to wash and style your hair

Eating

  • have a good breakfast
  • make time for lunch
  • create a dinner from scratch that you really enjoy
  • take a look at your diet and see if there's anything you'd like to change

Aesthetics

  • tidy your space
  • put on a fresh, laundered outfit
  • ensure there’s positive lighting
  • have a clean bathroom and kitchen

Energy 

  • get up early 
  • go to bed early
  • give yourself enough sleep
  • put on crisp clean sheets

Day 2: Healthy 

This sounds obvious - that doing healthy things helps us to feel better. When we are either too rushed to bother or feel we have so much time, we put it off and put it off, it’s easy to forget to do. It is really important here that we do things that really make us feel healthy, this isn’t about punishment, it is about fulfilling our needs. Many people feel more healthy when they;

Exercise 

  • go out for a walk
  • do some resistance training
  • set aside a dedicated time to exercise
  • take an online class

Nutrition 

  • drink plenty of water
  • cut out alcohol
  • eat fresh fruit and veg
  • reduce processed foods

Energy 

  • get some fresh air
  • be out in the daylight, sunshine if you can
  • become aware of unnecessary stresses
  • take some time away from the screen

Woman walking dog

Day 3: Connected

Staying connected with others has been a real challenge for many over the past few months. Even those who like their own space have been somewhat tested. As humans we are social beings, it is hard wired in. We also need to feel as though we are part of society as a whole. Along with this there needs to be an awareness of what we connect to - ensuring that it has a positive effect and making the most of our limited exposure. Ways to connect;

Social space

  • arrange a regular call with someone you value
  • get in touch with someone who might have fallen off your radar
  • ensure you have some kind of group activity online
  • write a letter or email you wouldn’t normally have time for

Active space 

  • keep connected with what’s going on in your area of interest
  • ensure you are checking in with colleagues more than normal
  • actively ask how others are, not everyone will say
  • ask for help when you need it

Energy

  • turn off notifications that are stressful
  • moderate your exposure to the news
  • identify and manage the energy sappers in your life
  • share something that makes you laugh with another person

Day 4: Balanced

It isn’t just about doing things, it is about creating a sense of balance and equilibrium. This reduces stress, allows us to feel in harmony with our own emotions and thoughts. Sometimes we don’t realise the things that knock us off balance, so it is always good to spend a little time paying attention to where we are at. Activities to promote balance;

Calming

  • yoga/meditation/breathing techniques
  • writing or drawing your thoughts
  • a quiet space
  • having some coaching

Relaxing

  • uplifting music
  • spending time with pets
  • massage - self or with a partner
  • aromatherapy/calming smells

Energising

  • doing something new
  • dancing
  • laughing
  • playing

Woman listening to music

Day 5: Attractive

This may seem an odd one to add in. Isn’t it all meant to be about how we feel, not how we look? Well, yes, this is primarily about feeling attractive, but if for you the way you look impacts on how you feel or behave, then it's good to encompass that too. Feeling attractive is every bit as important to being rounded and happy as any other element. So long as it is positive and brings something to you and isn’t about merely meeting the expectations of others. Some thoughts on ways to feel attractive;

Attire

  • wear something you enjoy 
  • spend a little extra time getting ready
  • put something on that feels great to touch
  • invest in some under-layers that match how you want to feel 

Interactions

  • give genuine positive comments
  • accept compliments
  • be generous of spirit
  • smile

Energy

  • surround yourself with your favourite colour
  • stand tall, like the best version of you
  • find a piece of music that makes you feel amazing
  • take a moment to release negativity and breathe in sparkle and charisma

Day 6: Mindfully engaged

It can be easy to want to switch off when the world is in overload, in order not to be overwhelmed. That’s fine to an extent, but we don’t want to leave a gap where our mental energy lives as that would lead to a feeling of unfulfillment. Instead we need to ensure that we have some activities lined up that sparks our imagination, drives our inquisitive mind and gets those neurons firing;

Knowledge

  • reading non-fiction
  • gaining an understanding of something we ‘never understood’
  • write to share - this could be an article or even a quiz
  • learning a language

Exploration 

  • trying out a new skill
  • looking for something new in an area we already know about 
  • discovering a different culture/time and how they approach/ed life
  • go somewhere you have never been - even if it’s up the road

Energy

  • notice when unhelpful thoughts cloud our mental space
  • tackling an old habit or fear
  • write down your assumptions and beliefs and see if they are still relevant
  • concentrate on something wholly for half an hour

Woman reading

Day 7: Creative

Our creative spirit is so important and for some this period of time might have dampened that - with so many venues and opportunities to collaborate having been temporarily closed off. However our creative spirit lives and at times like these, we must nurture it and fuel it. Everyone is creative in some way or another. 

Practical

  • paint, draw or colour
  • play an instrument or sing
  • take and edit photos
  • craft, restore or build something

Inventive

  • cook something you have never cooked
  • write a poem or song
  • change or redesign the layout of your living space
  • invent a new game or exercise

Energy

  • speak something you have never spoken
  • play a game you wouldn’t normally play
  • watch or read something that’s beyond your usual choices
  • create the future - boldly plan something for when we can move on!

Doing something each day has a cumulative effect, even if it is small things. You will soon notice that it becomes a habit - a helpful one that will brighten your days, lift the load and support you way beyond the pandemic. Change is always around us. Trying to stay the same in a world that moves uses up all our energy. If instead we take control of the direction we change in, move toward things that we enjoy, that inspire us and that allow us to feel fulfilled, we will not only be in the best place for ourselves, but also for those around us too. 

If you would like some help on your journey toward feeling better day to day, coaching can support you on your journey. Online coaching really works and if there was ever a time to explore that, it is now. If you like the idea of feeling better tomorrow than you did today or yesterday, it's a great way to help you move forward in the way you want.

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London SW6 & SW3

Written by Rachel Coffey

London SW6 & SW3

One of Happiful magazine’s regular panel of experts, Rachel is a leading life coach, career coach and voice coach. She works in a confidential, practical and intuitive way. Using innovative and person centred techniques, she helps her clients create real and lasting change. Enquiries are always warmly welcomed. Online coaching available.

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