Nobody knows just how long the coronavirus pandemic is going to last for and, once we do come out the other side, what the new normal will look like. It is no surprise that, after months of lockdown and restrictions in place, many people are struggling with their feelings and wellbeing. Studies have shown that lockdown is having a significant impact on people’s health, and, as we learn to deal with feelings of anxiety, frustration, and sadness, it can be very easy to slip into feelings of depression. This then, in turn, has an effect on our diets, sleep, and exercise routines, which only cause an increase in the negative feelings.
It’s important that we look after ourselves during this uncertain time, and self-care techniques and lifestyle changes can help to manage the feelings and symptoms that come with lockdown, which will then help to prevent these problems from getting worse and developing. So, if lockdown has got you feeling a little down, here are some tips to help you get back to being the better you.
Get a proper night’s sleep
If you’re one of the millions of people who have suddenly switched to home working, then getting a proper night’s sleep is essential to your mental health and wellbeing, as well as your physical health. When working from home, it can be hard to find the line between work and home life, and it can be all too tempting to catch up on some work and stay up late or have a lie in to replace your usual commute.
However, disrupting your sleep schedule and not getting enough sleep can have an impact on your immune system and overall health, which can leave you more susceptible to picking up illnesses. Most adults need around 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and you should try to stick to regular sleeping hours, both during the week and at the weekend. Instead of doing more work in the evening, set aside some time to wind down and relax.
Whether it’s having a bath, reading a book or some gentle exercise, such as yoga or pilates, you should try to avoid electronic devices and caffeine stimulants for around 2 hours before you go to bed, as this will help you get to sleep easier and allow you a proper night’s sleep.
Cut back on the junk food
It can be all too easy to eat in response to the way we are feeling – it’s all part of being human. Indulging in delicious foods now and then, especially if you’re not feeling particularly hungry, isn’t a problem. But, if you’ve found yourself comfortable eating a lot more during the lockdown, either through boredom, stress, or anxiety, then this can start to put your self-esteem and health at risk.
In a 2018 study, it was found that 46% of adults ate more or chose unhealthy foods in response to stress, and this was before the coronavirus pandemic! If you’ve found that you’re choosing junk food more frequently, then take small steps to cut back on what you’re eating. Buy less sweet treats and convenience food when you go shopping and instead stock up on fruits and vegetables and other whole foods, such as nuts, beans, and pulses, to keep you feeling full throughout the day.
If you’re feeling groggy or run down and have been eating more processed and junk food than normal, you may be deficient in vitamins, and this is your body’s way of telling you that enough is enough. Probiotic supplements and iron tablets can help to make you feel more energized and focused, whilst vitamin D supplements can help with the lack of natural sunlight many of us have been getting over recent months and help your sleep pattern.
Make room for grooming
With many of us staying indoors more than ever, comfort has taken over in favour of our appearance. There’s nothing wrong with choosing comfort over style (joggers win over jeans every time), but if you’re feeling a lot less like your usual self, it might be time to make room for a regular pamper session. Not only will this improve your self-esteem, but it can also help you to feel back in control of some aspects of your life again.
Take time out a few times a week to have a nice, relaxing shower and pay attention to your hair care again. If blowdrying and styling your hair makes you feel better, then go for it. Noticed a face mask-induced breakout? Then pop on a soothing face pack and relax for half an hour. Noticed your beard is a little long? Give it a trim and apply a nice beard oil. There’s nothing wrong with spending time on making yourself feel great again, and you’ll soon be looking good and feeling better.
Spend some time alone
Between homeschooling, working from home, and day to day household tasks, it can be easy to find yourself stuck in the house for days on end with all the members of your family or household. It’s important, now more than ever, to take some time for yourself so that you can focus on you and do things which interest you or make you feel happy.
If you’re creative, this could be doing some form of craft, or if you like to cook, it could be trying out a new dish. This will take your mind off the daily stresses of this new everyday life and keep your brain active and focused.