How to help cope during the coronavirus lockdown
The effects of the government enforced isolation period will be felt across the whole nation. It’s going to be difficult for all of us to spend three weeks (at a minimum!) without leaving home except for essential travel and one form of daily exercise. We’re going to have to adapt and find new things to keep our days filled to keep our spirits up.
Give yourself “micro-lifts” throughout the day
One of the main difficulties with self-isolation is that you’ll begin to miss the “micro-lifts” you have peppered throughout the day. Often it’s the little things, like popping out of the office to get a coffee at your favourite cafe or going to the gym, that enrich your daily routine with enjoyment and meaning.
The lockdown obviously means you’re going to lose many of your regular “micro-lifts”. So creating new ones is essential to keep your spirits up.
These could be anything, from a regular Skype call to a daily yoga routine. Be creative and try to turn the situation on its head, looking at what the increased time at home enables you to do rather than what not going out prohibits you from doing.
Learn something new
Not only does learning a new skill slow cognitive ageing, it provides you with the sense of achievement that comes through deepening your knowledge of something. While now isn’t the time to enroll in a face-to-face group class, there are plenty of online options available.
Many education providers, including some American Ivy League colleges, have responded to the coronavirus crisis by offering free courses online. A quick Google search will reveal the wealth of courses available. Studies show that learning which challenges you to come out of your comfort zone has the greatest boost to mental health.
Keep a healthy diet
When staying at home, it can be tempting to regularly snack to stave off boredom. Unfortunately, this means you’re likely to be consuming more calories and unhelpful fats. Mental health charity Mind suggests that healthy eating can improve your mood, give you more energy and help you think more clearly.
Keeping to regular mealtimes and eating a balanced diet, high in fruit and vegetables, are two important features of a healthy diet. Of course, you can still treat yourself once in a while…
Keep a routine
When you’re at home, it’s easy to end up still in your pyjamas at 3pm because you don’t have to see anyone else during the day. Although it can feel nice to slow down and let yourself be lazy, in the long run this can be bad for your wellbeing.
Try to maintain a sense of routine as far as possible. If you’re working at home, try to work regular hours and get up at a sensible time.
This said, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s important that routine doesn’t become monotony. Be flexible and remember to change things up from time to time.
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