So we are now in the second day of lockdown: the return in England. To be honest, to me, it doesn’t yet feel much different to pre-lockdown. It is not like I was going out very much (!), schools are back and being a family of 6 our interactions were limited anyway! We are both working from home still. A few minor social plans have changed. It does feel a bit quieter and instead of visiting a local cafe for lunch on a Friday we now have to get takeout. Trying to support local businesses and small firms as much as possible, although, I did notice though that the online shop was more sold out and the deadline changed to earlier so I guess people are doing more food shopping online again. And the library is still open (yay).
That said, there is a change in mood. Talking to friends and colleagues, everyone feels tired and a bit flatter than before. Cancelling social plans can make a huge difference in terms of feeling like you can plan and giving you something to look forward to. The evenings are longer, the days are shorter. Despite beautiful weather in London this week, by 4.30 darkness is drawing in which curtails that outdoor activity that so many of us relied on in lockdown 1. And there is still uncertainty around Christmas and what will come. I guess usually we are all tired at this time of year, yet plans for Christmas, going out and socialising, sparkly lights and general excitement us enable us to get through it. This year, we have to look a bit farther to build up that resilience and energy.
In our Directorate meeting this week (and it was the focus of a few meetings actually) we discussed what people were doing to support their wellbeing during lockdown II and so I’ve collected a few of the ideas below – thanks to LEaD for their great ideas….
- Create a new routine or intention for the days of lockdown. You could decide every week day to go for a walk before starting work or read a book for part of the day, watch something on TV or take some time out. Or it could be doing something creative. I have decided to read a poem every day during lockdown too. Commit to something that you enjoy and would not normally do, it doesn’t have to take long.
- Try to get outside every day. Even if you do not have immediate outside space like a garden, a walk around the block can make you feel better. If the weather is bad, dig out or invest in some good weather gear. Getting into nature has been proven to support mental health and wellbeing.
- Do some exercise regularly. This could be related to 2. or you could do something at home. I’ve been doing Yoga with Adriene videos for a while and there are so many that there is always one to suit your mood or needs.
- Connect with others. You are able to meet with one other person outside or form a support bubble if you are on your own so you can connect with other people and not feel isolated. Of course you can do this online too although we are all spending so much time online that face to face contact is appreciated, socially distanced of course!
- Treat yourself. Particularly at this time of year, its not the time to scrimp on some treats. This could be getting coffee from a local cafe regularly or as a treat, getting takeout or just ordering some good chocolate online. Something that will give you a lift and if you are shopping local that will support your neighbourhood too. I’m particularly partial to these chocolate buttons, which now I have found they do in huge jars – one for the Christmas list!!! 🙂
- Try something totally different. Its National Novel Writing Month in November so if you have that novel inside you waiting to come out, now is your chance. It doesn’t matter that it started a few days ago, just writing every day or committing to doing something creative and/or different gives you something to aim for every day.
- More time for your hobbies. Perhaps you are a baker or a gardener and feel like you don’t have enough time. Or you want to do more crafts with your family. Lockdown the return could give you more time to continue with these hobbies. Or bake or garden for a friend or neighbour who might not be able to.
- Start to imagine the future. Lockdown II will end. We don’t know what will happen then and we don’t know about Christmas and seeing family, but you can start to imagine different possible futures. Taking a bit of time to think through options of what you might be able to do or how you can cope if you are not able to see those you care about in the same way this year may help you feel more in control of events and show you that there are options.
- Share your thoughts, concerns and ideas with others. We are all in different places in terms of our response to lockdown II and at different times we all face different challenges, opportunities, frustrations and hopes. Talk about how you are feeling and ask others to share too. Not feeling like you are alone and sharing your thoughts can help you feel more connected.
- Tackle online meetings differently. We are all spending so much time in online meetings so if you are able to incorporate something different into these that will be appreciated by all. Perhaps it is starting the meeting with something creative or different, or starting and finishing the meeting earlier to allow people breaks, or playing music as people arrive. Whatever it is, it will freshen up an online meeting which can help break the groundhog feeling.
- Be kind to yourself. We’re in this for a while. Make sure you take time out to just be and listen to what your body needs. There is no right or wrong way to cope. You don’t have to be making copious cakes or creating fabulous artwork. Or maybe you do. This pretty much sums it up for me!
Take care, keep sane, keep safe and keep well.