2020. The Olympics around the corner, Great Britain set to bring home the gold. The Euros pending and England set to… well, let’s not talk about it. The summer of our dreams just weeks away. Then. Boom. COVID-19. Double glazing and government lockdowns hold us inside. For some, an inconvenience. For others, the loss of normality represents a greater loss, a loss of distraction and reprieve from our thoughts.
Below are 4 tips. Remember, these are tips, not guarantees. Our thoughts are our own and how we manage them is individual to us all. I know this blog won’t take all of your problems away, but I hope that it encourages you to look for ways to regain control over your thoughts and find respite at this difficult time.
So, without further ado, I present 4 tips for tackling lockdown demons:
Maintain a sleeping patternHumans need 6-9 hours of sleep to function at their best. Too little and we become Shaun of the Dead style zombies. Too much and we stay up till 3am googling whether Jaffa’s are cakes or biscuits. For some of us the silence that night-time brings only leaves more room for our thoughts to become louder, leaving us feeling totally overwhelmed. The NHS offer tips and tricks to help kickstart your sleeping journey.
Add structure to your dayWithout society forcing structures upon us it can be tempting to watch the day go by on the sofa in our PJ’s. I’m not telling you to stop, I’m saying consider moderation. Try setting mealtimes and eating meals at the table. Think about setting time aside for work and arranging when the computer and phone are to go away. This is the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby. Plan at least an hour a day that can be spent doing something you enjoy. I know you might think this is pretty obvious stuff - but here is a link to someone talking about how it really can help.
Take up meditationDon’t worry you don’t need spirituality or an orange robe. Mindfulness is a form of mediation which uses breathing techniques to focus your mind on the here and now. The aim is that with your mind focused on the present, you begin to notice your thoughts and how they can make you feel. The absence of distractions allows for more space to think about how you want to respond to what you might discover. Meditation might not be for everyone, for more advice on mindfulness and to see whether its right for you take a look at the mind.org.uk resources.
Speak to someone
For some of us things might feel too hard to manage alone. There are people out there who want to help. Speaking to someone else may help you to find ways to cope. Some of us might feel comfortable speaking to friend and family. Others might want to speak to someone else. The NHS offers a list of helplines which you, or someone on your behalf, can call, text or chat with online to seek advice. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
There they are, my 4. I wonder what your 4 would be. These might not work for everyone. If they don’t work for you don’t see it as a failure merely a starting point. A closing point - how you feel won’t last forever. Trust me.