It seems like such a long time ago that the pandemic first hit, parts of the country have been back in local lockdown for weeks and now the restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19 look set to get tighter as the three-tier system is introduced.
As we brace ourselves for a potential lockdown, it's hard not to feel fatigued and nervous again, but this time there is an added dreaded sense of deja-vu. The idea of going through it all again but this time battling the darker evenings and colder weather can make the most optimistic person question their positive outlook.
Naturally, feelings of trepidation, anxiety and even anger will surface, but there are things we can do to improve these feelings and maintain our wellbeing.
Firstly acknowledge these feelings and own them. You are not a bad person to feel angry and upset about potential restrictions; it's natural to feel this way. Don’t battle to get rid of your unwanted feelings - this can be emotionally exhausting; try to make room for them instead and work with them.
Live in the Moment
We cannot control things that happen outside of us. We can only control how we manage our own response to situations. Try to live in the moment, concentrate on the here and now and learn to embrace moments of quiet solitude. Write three things you are grateful for each day and practise mindfulness each day. Taking the time to stop and listen to yourself and your own body and live in the moment helps reduce worries and improves our levels of contentment.
Make Positive Plans
Ensure you have something to look forward to in the diary whether that's arranging a drink with a few friends, a family meal or going for a walk with the dog. Try to focus on what you can do and make the most of it. If unable to get out or are worried about face-to-face contact, arrange phone calls and zoom chats, and of course the obligatory online quiz! It may seem obvious but putting in place things to look forward to that keeps us entertained for an hour or two helps takes your mind off the negatives.
If a wave of anxiety hits you, try a grounding exercise to bring you back to the present moment. There are many mindful exercises in our cans to help with this, whether that's a breathing exercise, trying to name five things you can hear, see and smell, closing your eyes and imagining a happy place, listening to a calming piece of music. Find the exercise that works for you and helps you cope.
Look after yourself
Now is not the time to skimp on self-care. Don’t become too busy worrying about others or the outside world that you neglect yourself. Eat healthy but also delicious food that makes you happy, keep hydrated, get out and exercise, give yourself time to do something you love each day. All these things will help improve your well-being. Exercise in particular, increase the endorphins in the body and is scientifically proven to lift your mood.
Be Kind to Yourself
We’ve all navigated this pandemic as best we can and faced our own challenges over the last 6 months. Give yourself credit for what you have achieved so far. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself moving forward; take time out to just be. Don’t overload on work or chores and remember to ask for support from others when you need it.