How to survive lockdown
Ok, so life is pretty stressful at the moment and we’re all trying to adapt to changing ways of living. Every day new advice is given and it’s hard to stay on top of everything.
Muddy Devon tapped life coach and counsellor, Bianca Flood of Plymouth’s Truwellbeing for tips on staying sane through the lockdown.
1/ Find your inner tree trunk
When you lose routine and structure in your life, you can feel lost. Add whining kids into the mix and it can feel like you’re falling apart. YOU’RE NOT! You’re just finding a new way of coping, and it will take a while to find your flow.
Imagine yourself as a mighty and strong tree. At the moment it’s getting battered by the winds but you’re capable of flexing with the wind and you stay true to your core.
Make a list of what is important in your life and make a plan to meet those needs. Build a routine and structure for you and your family, so that they feel that you’re in control (even if it doesn’t feel that way, fake it till you make it.)
Even if you don’t have to go into work, get up and dressed at the same time. Use the extra time to have nice leisurely breakfast or read a book.
It can be tempting to give in to the call of the Pinot Grigio a little earlier than you normally would, after all you don’t have to drive anywhere, do you? Or have a snaffle of something tasty in the cupboards to cheer yourself up. Essentially, you will start building a coping mechanism which might be hard to undo, so don’t start.
Instead, make a meal plan and most importantly, find a way to give yourself what you really need, which is reward for getting though. Remind yourself you are doing amazingly and find away to rewards yourself in other ways than alcohol or high sugar/high fat foods.
It can be tempting to check on the news and social media every five minutes. This does a great job of raising our anxiety but doesn’t really help us get on with the job of living. Set a time to check for updates and limit your ‘checking’ to a maximum time.
4/Be social, virtually
Book in a date with the girls, but use video conferencing like Zoom or Skype. Find ways to still have fun with it. A client played Monopoly virtually with her family by both setting up boards. Another did a pamper party, doing their nails and facemasks at the same time as Skyping.
5/Relieve the stress with a hand massage
If your hands are suffering as a result of all the handwashing, take time out before you go to sleep to give them a massage with some luxurious hand cream and slip on some cotton gloves to help keep them hydrated. There is a point in your hands, called the union valley, which you will find in the webbing between the thumb and index finger.
Giving yourself a hand massage by wrapping your hands in a warm towel for a few moments and then, using slow circular motions. Apply firm pressure and massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
Attention is a demonstration of intention. If your intention is to relieve stress and find inner calm, you must use this time to give your attention to the process of finding calm.
It’s hard staying away from loved ones and it’s ok to be sad. Remind yourself that you will get through this.
In the words of Winnie the Poo. “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
7/Look at your bucket list
There are lots of things you want to do, but you haven’t done because you haven’t had time. Well, now is the time to focus your wondering mind. Your brain is on high alert and if you’re prone to anxiety, telling it to be calm isn’t going to help. Use you active thinking productively and channel it into positive planning.
Start researching those holiday locations and make a savings plan. Clear out your wardrobe, sort out the ‘stuff drawer’/loft, organise your bills & paperwork etc. Order the knitting needles, pilates DVD or painting equipment.
(On a side note, if your budget is going to be challenged during this period, maybe now is the time to cancel the subscriptions you don’t use, or shop around for cheaper utility providers.)
If you are used to walking around in your job, even it’s just from desk to desk, try to do the same at home.
Can’t get to the gym – You have a gym already to hand in your own house. You don’t need a stairclimber/cross trainer if you have stairs. Skipping ropes, hula hoops all come in handy for keeping your body and also your sanity. You don’t need weights, you have bottles/cans – or small children are handy for motivation. They love it and they can join in – although don’t try to do kettle bell video with your three year old – I tried it and there were all sorts of problems!
9/Give it away
The biggest problem is that we’re all navigating our way through this so you might feel that you don’t want to burden others with your thoughts. Whilst this is caring for others, it can be isolating for you. Try to record and process your thoughts and feelings by writing in a journal. Lots of life coaches & counsellors work online through Skype. Consider booking in some time to help you process what you’re going through and help you make a plan to get on top of things.