Gathered from expert advice and evidence-based studies, I put together five things that I hope will help you look after your wellbeing during a second lockdown.
I don’t know about you, but 2020 leaves me with a certain level of anxiety. It seems; however, I’m not alone. According to the Office for National Statistics, more than two-thirds of adults in the UK reported feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most common issues impacting wellbeing were worrying about the future (63%) feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%).
As a second lockdown hits, here are five things that can help you look after your mental health.
- Write a list of things you want to prioritise
This is not about giving yourself more endless to-dos or outlining some life-changing ambitions. Writing a list is a simple way to help you focus the mind during this period and make priorities. Is there one thing you’d like to focus on during this time? Can you simplify your life while also feeling like you’re still moving forward?
“There are lots of negatives about the lockdown, but there are also many positives to be found too, such as having more time at home with loved ones, being able to reach friends via technology, having the time to organise the house or having a world of courses accessible online,” Charlotte Armitage, a psychologist and psychotherapist at Outsourced Psych Ltd, explains.
- Practice gratitude
Giving thanks can make you happier, so first let me say thank you. Thank you for your support, and thank you for reading this article.
So why is gratitude so great? It can help you to feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve your health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Two psychologists, Dr Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, have researched gratitude a lot. One study they did they asked all participants to write a few sentences about their week. One group wrote about things they were grateful for, another about what irritated them, and the third about events that had affected them. After ten weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic.
You can keep a journal, message friends thanking them for something, or even write them a letter. Simply asking yourself what your grateful for is a good start.
- Do some home-gardening
The mental health benefits of home gardening have long been known, and a recent study from Princeton went on to prove just that. Their study asked the question “Is gardening associated with greater happiness of urban residents?” and the answer was a resounding yes.
What’s more, home gardening was the only activity out of the 15 studied for which women and people with low incomes reported higher emotional wellbeing than men and medium- and high-income participants, respectively.
Gardening doesn’t have to be for those just with gardens either. You can grow plants inside the house, on windowsills or balconies. There are many ways to grow, whatever space you have.
(Check out our collections to choose something you could grow, or filter our products by location and sunshine etc. November is also the perfect time to plant bulbs.)
- Keep talking to the right people
Although we can’t socialise in the same way as we could before, it’s still important to invest in personal relationships. Although we may be sick of Zoom, there may be other ways to maintain and build relationships.
Recently I’ve enjoyed old fashioned phone calls, and often walking while talking to someone. You can also write letters or join some local interest groups where you can volunteer (safely). Are there some online events, or is it time for a one-to-one zoom again.
- Keep moving
The Autumn and Winter days are upon us, and we may need to put an extra jumper on, but there are still some beautiful Autumnal days to enjoy.
Make sure you maintain movement in your daily lives, especially if you’re someone working from home. Whether it’s running, cycling or walking – they’re all good for getting out the house and moving. Dr Chaterjee has a great five-minute kitchen workout for a daily muscle workout with no excuses.
Be kind to yourself
The most important thing is to be kind to yourself and others. These are challenging times for all of us in different ways.