With our lives feeling more unstable and uncertain than ever it is only natural that we will find ourselves feeling overwhelmed, anxious and angry. I myself know these feelings all too well – a by product of Victoria’s seemingly never ending stream of lockdowns.
A majority of Australia at this time finds itself in lockdown, and as disheartening and frustrating as the restrictions may be, deep down we know that they are in place for our safety. Despite there being nothing we can do about the status of our lockdowns, there is a lot we can do to look after ourselves during lockdown.
I absolutely know that we will make it through this, there is no doubt in my mind, all we need is a little patience. However, in the meantime and whilst we are in the thick of it, the most important thing to prioritise is the way in which we are coping and caring for ourselves. Having, like all other Victorians, gone through 4 lockdowns already, I have been able to develop my lockdown strategy and find the things that I know make me feel a little better.
I know that for many of you, who perhaps are only just coming to terms with the likelihood of an extended period of lockdown, will be finding yourself feeling lost and so incredibly stressed and my heart goes out to you all – it’s not fun.
So, given these challenging times, I’d love to try support you in some way and below, in the hope that they might help or comfort you, are my personal lockdown tips and strategies. These are the things which I’ve implemented to help me through and to remind me that there are still things to be thankful for.
The first thing I found which helped me is to accept the situation for what it is – lockdown means more time at home, not seeing my loved ones or colleagues and a new routine (or lack of) and sense of normal. By taking the time to talk to myself and get this through my head it made me realise that everything I’m feeling is absolutely valid and a by product of all the uncertainty.
It’s important to feel all of the emotions and not deny ourselves the opportunity to cry, get frustrated and feel sad. The one thing I’ve found is that sometimes these emotions can take a toll on the relationships with those around us. In those more heated moments I’ve found it super handy to take a moment to myself, away from my phone to breathe and sometimes even to write it all out. This has helped me to ensure that I manage all those emotions better and am able to open up and talk about what I’m feeling with those closest to me when I’m ready.
I’ve discovered that when I am able to share my feelings with others who can offer their perspective and support, it affords us both with an understanding of how lockdown is impacting me, which then allows us to be there for one another.
The second thing and probably one of the most powerful things I’ve done to look after myself in lockdown is moving my body. It has been the one part of my life before lockdown which has been able to remain constant and for that I am so grateful.
Indeed, the reality is that when it comes to exercising, sometimes our motivation won’t be present (especially in lockdown), and that is completely fine. So instead of waiting for it to show up, I get started and more often than not it arrives five minutes in once those endorphins really start flowing.
The physical and mental benefits of moving my body have truly helped me to get through lockdown life and have played a big part in my lockdown routine.
The biggest thing I found in lockdown was moving to suit my mood. If I am lacking energy, I opt for something of a lower intensity like pilates or a walk as it doesn’t take too much energy but once I get my body moving l feel a whole lot better.
Even more importantly, remember to be proud of yourself for taking the time to do something that benefits both your body and mind!
3. FAMILY & FRIENDS
The third thing I’ve found that has helped me tremendously throughout lockdown is staying connected with those I love. Of course I can’t embrace them in the biggest hug during lockdown, but I can see their beautiful face over a screen, hear their voice over the phone or read their words over text.
Whether it be a quick FaceTime while making dinner, a phone call while I’m out walking or even texting while mindlessly watching TV, checking in and staying connected with my friends and family has helped tremendously. When I do this, not only do I find my mood is boosted as I’m connecting with someone I love, but I also feel a little less alone.
It is a gentle reminder that I’m not in this alone, rather we are all in it together and together we will get through it (and soon enough I’ll be able to give them the biggest hug ever).
I have been so grateful to have been able to maintain the routine of work from 9-5 in lockdown, and I absolutely know that not everyone has been afforded the same opportunity. But in lockdown, for me, routine is paramount and I actually try to emulate my usual routine. I begin my day by working out followed by a shower and then I get dressed as if I were going into the office. I find that this makes such a difference for me and really gets my head in the zone.
So from my experience, I’d encourage you to plan out your week and establish your routine! Whether it be having a plan to work out in the morning, followed by an episode of your favourite show, then heading to the kitchen to bake something delicious, topped off with a call with a loved when you’re preparing dinner, I’ve found that maintaining structure and bringing purpose to my day keeps me feeling more productive, positive and accomplished.
5. GRATITUDE AND KINDNESS
The final thing that helps me so much in lockdown is expressing gratitude and being kind to myself. I particularly find that when I’m lacking motivation (whether that be to workout, to get a work task done or to complete housework) I tend to be so hard on myself. However, I remember that it’s completely normal to have a down moments (we are only human and in a pandemic after all), but by reminding myself of how grateful I am to be able to move my body, to have a roof over my head and to still be able to work, it grounds me and leads me to think that things might not be as terrible as they seem. I find that by making small steps towards establishing a lockdown routine whilst also being kind to myself I am able to slightly combat the lockdown blues.
The final point I’d like to make is that what we are currently experiencing is new and uncharted territory and that it’s okay to not to be okay. I encourage you to reach out if you are struggling and need support during these times and please know that the KIC community is absolutely here for you – always.
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