So 2021 isn’t really going the way we had envisaged…
With a new year and two vaccines being rolled out across the country, most of us saw 2021 as a new chapter and the beginning of the end of this pandemic. Unfortunately, Covid had other plans. The news of a third national lockdown will prove distressing for many in lots of different ways, as well as frustrating and sad, therefore it is important that we stay connected, safe and kind during these difficult times. To help ease the current situation, here are six simple tips you can incorporate into your daily life.
1. Don’t forget to breathe
It sounds like an easy task but with this pandemic wrecking havoc, many of us have felt under constant stress which can lead your breathing rate to quicken or you just forget to exhale at all. Whether you’re actively anxious or even subconsciously stressed, try some deep breathing exercises. Place one hand on your belly and one on your heart and take a long, deep breath in through your nose, feeling your belly rise. Breathe out through your mouth, releasing tension and feeling your belly fall. Try this for one minute, or five minutes, and repeat throughout the day when you feel tense. You can also download a meditation app for guided breathing and relaxing exercises, plus some smart watches also have this feature.
2. Disconnect from the world at the start of the day
This one is easier said than done. I am very guilty of grabbing my phone as soon as I wake up, but starting the day with social media and the news is going to instantly overwhelm you. Try to pick up your book – preferably something light-hearted – and read, even if its just for five minutes. Set your alarm that little bit earlier (urgh, I know), make a brew if you want and get cosy with a good read- you’ll feel better for it. It is such a peaceful and pleasant way to start the day, and can become a habit you carry with you even beyond the lockdown. You can always do something similar to this before going to bed to switch off from the world too. If you’re need of a new read, why not support an independent bookshop in Bristol during the lockdown? You’ll not only be helping yourself to switch off but helping a local business too.
3. Do some form of exercise
As much as I like being horizontal the majority of the time, a bit of movement during the day will allow you to also disconnect and release those endorphins. Whether it’s a walk, a run, a HIIT workout, a yoga class or even some hoovering, these all get you up and about and feeling good. For me, just changing the king-size bed sheets is an intense enough workout. Whether you’re in need of a new exercise routine or looking to start one this year, there are lots of options available to suit your goals, from sweaty workouts with Joe Wicks to a relaxing yoga app like Downward Dog that is free for the whole of January.
4. It’s all about the self-care
Despite all the extra time this lockdown might bring us, it’s easy to forget to look after yourself. Try to carve out even just one evening a week that is dedicated to you – no zoom quizzes, no one else, just you. And then do something that’s for you, just you. This might be reading, watching your favourite TV series for the fifth time, a long soak in the bath or doing an at home facial, but make sure it’s what you want to do.
5. Get outside for some fresh air
It’s rather cold outside right now, but making use of your permitted daily exercise is really important. Even a 30 minute stroll outdoors can boost your mood, help your circadian rhythm (your body clock and sleep cycle) and clear your head. Wrap up warm and drag someone from your household or listen to a podcast as you wander around one of the many green spaces in Bristol. You might not be able to feel your face for a bit but you’ll definitely feel better for getting some fresh air.
6. Be kind to yourself
Last but by no means least, if we’ve learnt anything from the previous two lockdowns it’s that we should be gentle with ourselves. January is hard at the best of times, so in this lockdown don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be productive, to learn a new skill or become a fitness guru. Don’t forget to check up on your friends and family who you cant be with at this time, and share this to anyone you think needs to look after themselves a bit more.
Stay safe and well.
If you are struggling during the pandemic, there are number of helplines you can contact:
Anxiety UK- 03444775774
Crisis line- Text “SHOUT” to 85258