Your mental health toolkit for surviving lockdown

Posted by Andrew McCaig on

   
The current situation is not how we pictured spending 2021, especially given
how hard 2020 proved to be. But here we are, and given the amount of research
pointing to the impacts lockdown is having on our mental health, we wanted to
create a survival guide to help you get through it. 
  
Fingers crossed we’re not here for much longer. But in the meantime,
here’s a few ways you can hold onto your sanity and look after yourself.
   
   

Mindful activities

   

        
When you’re required to stay at home and the highlight of your day is hearing
the latest Covid press conference, it’s easy to start getting stuck in your head
and worrying about all the things you can’t change. That’s where mindfulness
comes in; doing any activity without distraction or multi-tasking is considered
mindful, and what this does is help you to stay in the present. It cuts all the
worry about the future or lamenting over the past, and just keeps you in the
moment. 
  
Mindful activities include listening to music (without also scrolling on your
phone), reading a book, eating a meal without distraction, having a one-on-one
conversation with someone, colouring in or drawing, cooking, exercising - you
get the idea. By spending time mindfully engaging in singular activities and
trying not to get swept away in your thoughts, it’ll work wonders for keeping your
mental health in check.
  
Apps like Insight Timer are great for finding a range of guided meditations with
everything from relaxing to sleep or morning motivation. Journaling can also be
a great mindful exercise to put all your thoughts onto paper and out of your
head, which in turn will help you process and move on from them.
   
  

Get creative with meal-time

   

  
In lockdown, all meals can start to blur into one, and cooking can definitely
become arduous. Try mixing things up in the kitchen to help you stay
entertained and eat (relatively) healthy. Use Instagram to find new recipe
inspiration or look up a recipe you’ve always wanted to try. Bake something for a
friend that lives in your area and surprise them by dropping it off on their
doorstep - then enjoy the bonus endorphin points from the good deed!
   
You could follow cooking videos on social media, do a virtual cooking class,
or even start one yourself with some friends. Follow the same recipe, share in
the baking chaos, and enjoy a meal together at the end.
      
  

Movement

   

   
Even when we’re not in lockdown, movement is essential for keeping your
mental health in check. During this period, try and incorporate movement into
every day if possible. Moving with at-home yoga classes, neighbourhood walks,
a dose of cardio with friends on Zoom, a dance class, or a bike ride are all ways
you can keep moving during lockdown.
   
Some days, you won’t feel like it - and that’s ok - but if there’s even a bit of
motivation stirring in you, grab it and get yourself out of the house for a quick
walk or onto your mat for a quick stretch. The difference 15 minutes can make
is invaluable.
   
   

  A healthy dose of escapism

   

   
When lockdown gets the better of you, opt out and escape to
somewhere different. Revisit your favourite old books, movies, and TV shows,
ones that fill you with joy, or indulge in some fantastic new imaginary worlds.
If you don’t already, now is as good a time as any to get a subscription like
Netflix or Audible, and trust us when we say spending $10 a month to get
access to your all-time favourite films is a solid investment for days when you
don’t want to get out of bed.
  
If your headspace and personal development are some things you’d like to
explore during this time, the progressive psychologists at The Indigo Project
have rounded up some excellent books to inspire and support you during this
tough time.
   
And in the event these types of entertainment don’t fit the bill, remember there’s
a world of podcasts out there to sink your teeth into. From self-care to crime,
pop culture to celebrity scandals, mental health to comedy - the podcast world
truly is your oyster, and makes for great background noise when you’re cooking
or in the tub.
      
  

Keep connected

   

  

   
Don’t discount the importance of connecting with loved ones during this
extraordinary time. If you live with friends or family, book a few nights throughout
the week to eat together, watch a movie, play board games or just chat.
If you live alone, catching up with loved ones becomes especially important so
you can keep your mental health in perspective.
  
That might look like Zoom cocktail hour on Fridays, a phone call with your
favourite person when you’re feeling like crap, or - restrictions permitting - a
distanced walk with a friend in your area. Whatever connection looks like for you
at this time, remember that when your mental health is stalling, this is the very
thing that can help you get going again.
   
The lockdown is a tough time for everyone right now, and no one experience
looks the same. Whatever you’re feeling, know that it’s ok to feel that way,
and that there’s always resources, people, and practices that can help keep
things in check. Your mental health might be struggling, but with a few acts of
self-care each day, things will be just that little bit easier in the long run.

     

   

Look after yourselves and stay safe! We’ll get through this with support from
each other.
  

If you are in need of urgent help please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

 

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