Eight ways to make a lockdown easier to bear during a pandemic

What is the current situation?

This article has been written during the pandemic lockdown in the UK.

Currently, we are allowed to go out for essential trips such as food shopping and hospital visits as well as to exercise once a day. We should practice social distancing (2m apart). Otherwise, we should stay at home and not meet others who are not members of our family.

My 14 day challenge

Personally, I have decided to stay indoors, self-isolating as a challenge to see what effect this has on me physically and mentally. I hope to learn something from the experience.

At the time of writing this email, I’ve been on my own for about 14 days with a quick visit to pick up food after day 10. I think I said about three sentences to people that day!

I am now going to see if I can extend this for another 10 days, making the total stretch of indoor isolation 14 days. I will then see if I can push this further based upon my food stores!

What is my current emotion state?

Whilst I miss social interaction with my loved ones and friends, and miss playing outdoor sports such as tennis, I am pretty positive about the whole affair and am finding opportunities for growth everywhere.

Here is what I have found that seems to help with the social isolation

  • Have a regular schedule – this gives you a sense of normality so set your alarm so that you get up in the morning and have a morning routine, eat meals at regular times eg dinner at 7pm, exercise at a regular time
  • Establish a regular exercise routine incorporating different types of exercise – stretching, cardiovascular/aerobics, strength training. I am doing strength work everyday as well as using my exercise bicycle and doing tai chi most days.
  • Work on long term project – this gives you something to focus your day on as well as gives you a vision beyond lockdown. This might be to start a side business or to learn a course via one of the many online providers.
  • Call someone daily, preferably using the video function eg in WhatsApp or Zoom. It’s not the same as speaking to someone face to face but still helps you to connect. Share a coffee or beer over a virtual meeting, have a laugh, talk about things you’ve done that day or what you plan to do
  • Cut out negative posts from social media (snooze or unfollow people), and only look for people demonstrating growth mindset. This helps to avoid the negative downward spiral as well as getting into arguments. If managed correctly, social media services can be a powerful tool to stop you feeling lonely.
  • Eat healthily – food and drink affects how you feel both physically and mentally. Be careful of drinking too many alcoholic drinks – alcohol can make you feel depressed.
  • Get quality sleep – if you don’t get enough sleep of a decent quality then you will find it affects your mood during the daytime; make sure your room is suitably dark and is fairly quiet. If necessary, play relaxing music or white noise to drown out any background noises. If you find that you’re awake in the early hours, use this time as an opportunity to practice meditation.
  • Practice mindfulness meditation which helps you to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety plus accept things as they are. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and worried, mindfulness will help to reduce those feelings. Try a class here: wimble.com/classes

Where to go now?

Whilst I’m not suggesting you try the 14 day indoor isolation challenge, by adopting some or all of the above tips, you may find lockdown isn’t so big a deal and may well discover the silver lining to what we’re dealing with today!

Do let me know how you get on.