AKA: staying sane in lockdown
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”Martin Luther King Jr
Hey guys, hope you’re staying safe and sane in lockdown!
For the last few weeks we’ve talked about how to set up a regime and why being open to altering it where you need to is so important.
I’ve used this quote from King (though out of context to his original purpose) to show how if we can cover the basics of getting through this, then even if we don’t know when it’ll end, we can at least take each day – each step – one at a time; knowing we have our essential needs covered.
Now we get into the pretty cliché content to post right now…
It’ll vary for everyone, but here are the highlights that I’ve found work well for not just getting through lockdown mentally and financially in one-piece, but to thrive in this time too…
Unless you’re a trust fund kid, you have to earn that bread. If you’re lucky enough that the company you work for has set you up with home working, don’t slack off and make sure you work. Now is not the time to lose your job because you were too busy watching Tiger King.
It’s key to block off time in your daily regime to work, just like you’d do if you were in an office. If you want tips of how to work from home, check out this post.
If you’ve unfortunately lost your job because of Coronavirus or struggling financially, there’s support available through the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus. If you’re outside the UK, many administrations are doing similar support packages for their citizens and these will be advertised on their websites also.
In the short term, many supermarkets and courier services are taking on staff with start dates from the next day.
For those still able to work, saving has never been so important. It’s expected that the economy will be worse off for some time after the virus itself has retreated, so while the usual sources of expenditure are closed (i.e. shops and restaurants), use this time to get off Amazon or Deliveroo and make a buffer. Whether it’s £50 or £5,000, you’ll appreciate it later.
Keeping a stock of non-perishables to last 14 days is a good precaution in case you become ill or can’t leave the house for whatever reason.
Fresh food is important too however and a single, weekly shop for fresh food will limit your exposure while still giving your body enough variety of foods to work optimally. Eat your vegetables!
Chocolate and treats are good to keep in too, but try to save them so you don’t run out before your next weekly shop!
Some people are having issues with collecting prescriptions, so make sure you don’t run out of any vital medicines before going to pick up your next batch. Going a few days early can help with this.
If there’s anyone you know who might need help getting their own supplies in this time, pop them a message. You might just help someone who needs it – or if they’re fine, showing that you care enough to ask can really make that person’s day.
Final thought: it’s easier to panic buy when you’re out, but taking a list and sticking to it will not only save you money for your buffer/fun things after this is over, but also ensure that you don’t take anything you don’t need or take too much from others.
Remember The Sims? Well, one take away from that game is that topping up your social bar is important if you want to be happy… and not see the Social Bunny. The horror.
Seriously though, everyone needs different levels of social interaction in order to be happy and in different ways. Some people are happy with very little interaction, but it has to be face to face. Others with a lot of interaction, but chatting online does it for them. Most people have a mix of all these different forms and levels of need, so take some time to think of what forms you need when planning different kinds of remote hangouts during this time.
Maybe FaceTiming one friend at a time works best for you? Maybe you want to host a virtual for a group of mates? Discord gaming sessions? Putting someone on speakerphone while you both cook? Going old school and writing letters that you can both keep? The options are endless, you just need to find what works best for you.
If you live with others, try connecting with them in different ways. Respect their need for space when they want it, and the same goes for you: say if you need space socially for a while rather than grow frustrated with feeling crowded. Honest communication can help us all get through this.
Then again honest communication can lead elsewhere and the running joke is that a lot of divorce lawyers will be busy after quarantine. If you are planning on ending your relationship, do it clearly so there’s no confusion, as kindly as possible, and set some boundaries to act more as roommates until you’re both physically able to leave after lockdown.
On a more positive note, now could be the time to mend frayed or distant relationships, where you can reflect on who means the most to you and reconnect. Old school friends you’ve been meaning to speak to again is a good place to start!
I ’m not talking about getting buff or glowing up in quarantine. Just moving your body will break up your day and does wonders for your mental health.
There’s so many ways to work-out with or without equipment, so it’d be madness to describe all the options here, so I’ll share my favourites that make me feel good: running, yoga and home workouts.
Try a variety and find what you enjoy (or at least, don’t entirely loathe…) then commit to it. That way, you’re more likely to not skip your exercise days.
With running, remember that it’s hard to run a whole 5k straight off the bat, so build yourself up slowly and the distance will come as your endurance builds. The same goes for yoga: don’t expect to be able to touch your toes or have your heels on the floor in downward dog right away, keep practising to build up your flexibility. All the other forms of exercise? They’ll build too the more you practise.
The key takeaway here? Keep at it! Changes take time, but it’s worth taking care of your body even for only small physical changes.
Sleep boosts your immune system, helps protect your mental health and does so many other things for your health that the bottom line is:
Get some good quality sleep for between 6-9 hours a night.
#6 Self-care, hobbies and projects…
It’s good to manage and survive daily, but ideally we all want to live a little between work and sleep after all.
We’ll get into these next week in a post focusing on these as the fun (yet just as vital!) parts of taking care of yourself during lockdown.
Join me next week in Part 4 where there will be a spread on the pleasurable, less “survival” based things like creative hobbies, self-care and the often missed out but highly necessary time to do absolutely nothing but chill.
Until then, stay safe, stay in and enjoy yourselves!
The next post is Saturday: part 4 of Life in your Fortress of Solitude.
The next writing advice post is next Monday (enjoy bank holiday all!).
This week’s featured image is Fortress of Solitude by Dylan Cole.