as we near the end of lockdown, it’s no secret that most of us are champing at the bit to get out of the house. the anticipation of the day arriving and preparing a long to-do list. maybe you are giddy to see your friends and family, to get down to your local pub or return to the office for the never-ending tables of cake
sure, there are things we want to forget about. stockpiling of food and sanitary products, bad hair days and the endless Zoom calls. but before you run off and leave lockdown behind you in a cloud of dust, it’s worthwhile taking a bit of lockdown with you
lockdown has forced many of us to stop in our tracks. pause our social life,
distance ourselves from loved ones and postpone major life events. frankly, it’s given us time to reflect on what’s important in life
- self care – being forced to stay at home, has meant spending time alone – a lot. but what that has taught us, is to listen to our body and recharge our batteries. treating ourselves to a bath, an hour of listening to music, pampering or eating your favourite food. selfcare comes in many shapes and sizes, but pre-lockdown it was something that few allowed themselves. selfcare, it’s here to stay!
- community – although thursday’s clap for carers came paired with a lot of important questions. it did bring together apartment blocks, streets and communities. it introduced us to our neighbours, gave us a sense of belonging and created new friendships. don’t lose these new friendships as soon as you can return to your bffs. check-in on your elderly neighbour and organise that street party!
- kindness – the sheer amount of kindness we have seen has been overwhelming. we’ve seen volunteers delivering groceries, football clubs ringing their supports. and cafes and restaurants providing meals to our front-line staff. kindness can, and will, change the world. why should we only show compassion in times of hardship? imagine what we could do when we are all in a happier and healthier place?
- exercise – let’s be honest with ourselves, when we have all the freedom in the world, how often do you go for a walk in the park? (not counting dog owners!) that famous saying springs to mind: “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”. most of us used the daily allowance to stretch our legs in our activity of choice. the chances are, this is the first thing you’ll stop doing when the time comes. don’t give up on your hour of ‘yard time.’ take that hour lunch break, start your weekend with a visit to the park – come rain or shine. your body will thank you for it
- mindful spending – i know we’ve all missed our takeaway coffees and delicious sandwiches. but did we survive without them? yes. and even more importantly, our bank accounts are thrilled. we’ve gotten so used to spending mindlessly – all those meal deals and extra-large coffees in Instagrammable cups. it’s time to start asking ourselves, whether we truly need that coffee, or whether we can make one at home or at work? and maybe, we can get back into packed lunches? your bank account will be thankful. thanks to contactless, we thoughtlessly tap away. how often do you remember the amount spent? tap. tap. tap. take a minute, do the maths. how much money have you saved simply by not being able to go to your favourite food joints? don’t get me wrong, treat yourself, but let’s start being smarter about our spending
- cut the tech – if you’re anything like me, after the first few weeks, the news became a bit too much. coronavirus updates 3 times a day and daily statistics are bound to make even the most sensible of us feel anxious. switching off from media is a great way of protecting your mental health. limit your daily news intake, choose who you want to follow and when you want to read it. the same reasoning applies for accounts that make you sad, leave you comparing yourself or leave a dent on your self-worth. set your boundaries, mute or delete anything that impacts you negatively – it’s just not worth it
- keep on learning – sourdough anyone? if i had a penny for every person i know, that attempted a sourdough starter or made banana bread. i’d have my hands on a new MacBook Pro – but alas. how much fun did you have trying new skills? we took it upon ourselves to use this downtime to learn something new. baking, drawing, musical instruments and new languages. we spent time doing arts and crafts with our children and podcasts took over the nation. why give up on a good habit now? set yourself the task of learning something new every month, it’ll come in handy. promise
- family time – families gained the opportunity to be around each other more. no more commuting, no sports events and no work trips. for those on furlough, it meant being a parent and a teacher 24/7, possibly the hardest job in the world. but, with that, came the opportunity to spend time with your children – the real gift. witnessing precious moments of your children growing up, first steps, first words or being able to put them to bed every night. although i’m sure many parents will be happy to get back into a normal routine. make a promise to yourself that you will continue to keep to one or two of the new routines you took on during lockdown. you won’t regret it
- health – covid 19 is all about health, keeping yourself and those around you safe. we have watched our loved ones fight for their lives and mourned the loss of so many across the world. it has taught us that life really is short. we need to learn to live it the fullest; cliché, but true. a key takeaway is to look after ourselves both physically and mentally. don’t delay going to the doctor. don’t keep putting it off because you’re busy, nothing is more important than your health. get regular check-ups, regularly check yourself. encourage those around you to go to the doctor – don’t be ashamed or scared. speak up and get help
- gratitude – it’s in times like these, we see people’s true colours. of course, we already know that the work that the nhs staff do is up there with superheroes. but don’t forget the teachers, the supermarket staff, the volunteers, the cab drivers, the restaurants, the hotels, and all those who stepped up to the plate to help. as a nation we’ve come together and shared our appreciation. this is just the beginning. acknowledging all the goodness in your life can have a positive effect on your overall wellbeing, but it’s easy to forget when things get tough. make a list of all the things you’re grateful for, you’d be surprised. let’s continue to show gratitude – spread the love!
this lockdown has been a time of reflection for us all. perhaps you’ve been FaceTiming your parents more. writing letters to your grandparents, checking in more regularly on distant relatives. lockdown has strengthened many families and restored broken relationships. don’t let those slip away again. keep in contact, keep making the effort. it will pay off, it always does
to help you continue to manage your mental health as we come out of lockdown, head to the app store and download the sidekick app. with plenty of tips and tricks, we help empower you to look after your mental health