With everything that’s going on in the world right now, there’s never been a better time for a little perspective. I wrote this blog to share a few simple things you can do to help you to gain clarity, and maintain a little sanity.
- Get enough sleep!
I’m finding this very hard right now. My son is up with the sun every morning, I’m having to do extra work in the evenings, as is my husband, and of course there’s the constant worry we’re all experiencing, but a good nights sleep is super important for your immune system and mental health. I wrote this article on sleep health a long time ago, but it’s still entirely relevant.
- Allow your feelings.
Don’t try to suppress your anger / sadness / fear / frustration. Yes there are always going to be people worse off than you, and each of us has a lot to be grateful for, but that doesn’t mean your feelings of discontentment aren’t valid. Acknowledge how you feel, sit with those emotions, and then explore what you’re feeling thankful for. Writing this stuff down can be wonderfully cathartic. For example, “I’m gutted that my dream holiday has been cancelled, but I’m glad I have travel insurance, and am grateful to be safe at home.”
- Eat well.
It’s a given, but look after your body from the inside as best you can. You might not be able to buy fresh as often as you would normally, and I think we’re all having to adapt. Apparently wine sales have increased 700% since lockdown (!) but let’s make sure we’re all drinking plenty of water too, and getting some decent home cooked meals in us. I think simple is best right now. Perhaps plan a weekly rota, and consider batch cooking to fill the freezer if you have the space (and ample ingredients).
- Keep moving.
Exercise is very important for your physical and mental health. I’m almost hesitant to write this, however, because I do find it kind of crazy that so many people who never usually exercise are suddenly desperate to go out for a bike ride, or are doing five HIIT sessions a week. So perhaps make sure you don’t go too mad i.e. gradually increase your exercise volume if you do have time on your hands. If you’re able to get outside either for a walk somewhere quiet, or even just in your garden, then fresh air will do wonders for perking you up. And even if you’re unable to leave the house, there’s a lot you can do from the comfort of your own home. (All my classes are now online, for example)!
- Ignore the productivity pressure.
If I hear another person suggest that we “use this time to [insert unrealistic expectation]” I’m going to completely lose my rag. First, what time?! Not everyone has lots of extra time on their hands. Some are busier than ever: Perhaps they’re working on the front line (you’re all total legends), perhaps your job involves a whole load of crisis management (this seems to be 90% of my husband’s workload right now), or perhaps you’re juggling full time work and childcare (can I get a hell yeah). Despite losing a number of clients in the past fortnight, my feet have barely touched the ground since the middle of March. I’m not here to bore you with an hour by hour account of my days, but I think there’s another aspect that seems to be ignored when people keep saying how we should be using lockdown time to better ourselves… We’re told to get in the best shape of our lives, sort the Feng Shui in the house, learn a new language… But we’re living through a whopping global crisis. We are SCARED! Not everyone is going to be capable of awesomeness right now. So it’s OK if you feel totally overwhelmed, and less productive than ever. Just focus on you, and what you need to get through this thing. Maybe your coping mechanism is to go on a massive journey of self improvement, and that’s OK too. But I suspect that for the majority of us, the opposite is true.
Stay home. Stay safe. Stay in touch.