As lockdown restrictions wind down and a return to ‘normal’ begins I can’t help but feel we’re not going to all be feeling the same. The destruction of the covid-19 virus has changed us all in different ways and the way out of lockdown is going to affect us all differently too. There won’t be a “one size fits all” way out of this and some people may want to go slower than planned.
Looking after yourself on our return to ‘normal’
It’s really important all of the time but I think we’ve all become alot more aware of our basic needs during the pandemic. We know that if we don’t meet our own needs then our mental health could suffer. If you enjoyed elements of lockdown that became positives then fight to keep them in your life! If you haven’t looked at self care before or it’s something you could work on then the following could help, these go a little deeper than having a nice bath!;
Scribble down all of your thoughts, absolutely everything that comes to mind. You don’t need to revisit this later, it is purely a cathartic exercise but one that many people find really helpful in organising or off-loading their thoughts.
It’s become alot more common in modern times and it can be very helpful but it takes practise, don’t expect your mind to instantly become clear on the first session. A regular meditation time in your diary can be amazing. I’d really recommend journalling first because it will help to clear your mind.
This doesn’t have to be a full on HIIT session with good ol’ Joe Wicks, although that is a fantastic way of feeling great if you’re able. Something as simple as gently stretching or a gentle walk outside can achieve great results for your physical and mental health.
Food and water
Yes I underlined water because we’re often guilty of not drinking enough. It can affect concentration, cause headaches and make you feel tired if you aren’t drinking enough. Finding a way of monitoring it and practise getting better at it if you need to.
Diet is also a massive part of physical and mental wellbeing. I’m no advocate of not eating all the yummies but make sure you’re also fuelling your body with goodness as well. If it bothers you that you’re maybe not getting enough goodness in your food then consider supplements, we felt much healthier as a family for using multi-vitamins.
On our return to ‘normal’ go at your own pace
Just because everyone else is ready to go out and meet with friends and family or go to a pub garden or eat outside at a restaurant doesn’t mean you have to. If you are concerned then call and ask if there’s a quiet time you can visit and if you’re worried you may feel overwhelmed then have a back up plan if it’s too busy. There are always alternative options.
Equally some social time will do you good, if it’s been too long since you’ve seen family and friends and everyone is comfortable with meeting then make that leap. Talk through boundaries before meeting and how the day will go. It’s especially important to talk through boundaries with children so they understand what will be expected on the day, this time has been equally tough for them too.
I hope these tips will help you through these coming weeks. I’m a huge advocate of talking to loved ones or a professional if your mental health is suffering. It’s ok to ask for help and you definitely should if you haven’t been feeling well for some time. Asking a receptionist for an understanding GP or advocate of mental health is a really good way of making sure you talk to someone understanding. You are definitely not alone, more people have been struggling so this is alot more common than you’d expect and it’s ok.
If you’re not ready to visit a health professional or talk to family then MIND and Samaritans are great at offering support and advice;