Don’t let lockdown grind you away! Staying cheerful in covid year two

Despite my resilience skills, I’ve had to keep digging deep to sustain my mood, especially in these recent winter months. Whilst there’s hope for easing restrictions soon, lockdown has a cumulative grinding effect. So here are my tips for the next few months.

  1. Mindful exercise: enjoy your outdoor time to the max, with all five senses. Don’t just stride along rapidly, plugged into a headset. Get into greenery, slow down, savour it!
  2. Zerobase appreciation: this is akin to zero-base budgeting, where you start from nothing. Imagine you’ve just landed from outer space into a human body, and enjoy every basic capacity you have. Movement, eating, seeing, music: how amazing! Aim to be thankful on an hourly basis – it’s better than fretting about the restrictions.
  3. Find a circle to share your feelings: I’m in a couple of monthly online groups, and they’ve helped me understand how lockdown is subtly abrading us. A group can add new perceptions, fresh information, and can validate your feelings, so you don’t end up thinking you’re alone and crazy.
  4. Seek out humour and play: lockdown has shown me how much we humans are social animals. Usually, fun just arises when we’re in a social group, so it’s harder online. But try it, take a risk, and use structures: I’ve done quizzes and charades on Zoom calls, things I usually avoid, and had a lot of fun.
  5. Find a chance to stretch and dance: a regular online yoga or Pilates group will nourish your body, and dancing will nourish your heart and soul. Doing it online may feel odd, it’s not the same, but grab whatever is possible!
  • Cuddle up to someone, or something: with so many limits on us, we need the comfort of cuddling. I hope you have someone else in your household to snuggle with: if not, a pet is a good fallback. And failing that, a comfort blanket or soft toy!
  • Express your creativity: get your juices flowing as an antidote to restricted outer movement. Don’t care how it turns out, or what others think: just express yourself. Here are a few examples:
    • Learn to play a musical instrument, or go back to one
    • Try drawing and painting
    • Join the kind of online class you’ve never done before
    • Cook something adventurous
    • Create care packages and send to friends and family
  • Befriend your anxieties: with less contact and travel, have you noticed yourself getting more anxious about fairly minor issues? It’s only natural, so try to observe your worries with humour, and keep them in proportion. Maybe they need someone to cuddle up to!
  • Feast your imagination: get rich experiences whatever way you can: I’ve been loving Michael Palin’s travels in the Sahara and Himalayas, reliving favourite holidays, and revisiting favourite music and books.
  • Reach out and help others: a huge amount of voluntary help is what is keeping individuals and communities going in lockdown. Many research studies show that giving support to others is a great way to nourish ourselves.