By Emma Raho – Staff Writer
With many countries heading into full lockdown or already there, we’re looking at being cooped up with our family, flatties or pets for a wee while. While the first few days will likely ping between ‘chilled out holiday vibe’ and “Oh fuck, is this the actual apocalypse?” Isolation is going to get frustrating and boring quite quickly.
To try and reduce the stress to our mental health, I’ve cobbled together a few quick tips to try and help get us through this very weird and unsettling time.
Create a schedule for yourself. That Christmas/New Year lawlessness is only going to feel good for a few days before the disorientation and general annoyance sets in. Try and stick to your regular morning and bedtime routines as much as possible to create a feeling of normality. If you generally lay your clothes out at night and put a cold brew coffee in the fridge, keep doing that.
If you can, get out for a walk, run or bike ride locally. There’s no need to be under total house arrest. Practice social distancing, don’t touch your face or mouth whilst out and about, use hand sanitizer if you have it, and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you get home. Getting out of the four walls of your house is as important as the exercise right now to avoid cabin fever.
Limit time spent on social media, and use that time to communicate with friends and family rather than mindlessly scrolling and consuming. Obsessing over every rumour and rant your conspiracy theory loving Aunt Karen posts isn’t helpful, it will just fuel fear and anxiety. Remember to fact check using credible sources such as The Ministry of Health or WHO.
Now is a great time to start or continue on with the projects you’ve wanted to do or started and never finished. I’ve been collecting patches for a few years now so I’m going to use this opportunity to actually sew them on to a jacket. I’m also going to sort out the bathroom drawers because I know those tasks will give me visible results and a sense of accomplishment.
Relax. There will be days when this all feels totally overwhelming. It’s absolutely fine to curl up in a blanket and Netflix the day away. Give yourself permission to check out for a while.
Reach out to friends to check in, chat, or rant. Calls and FaceTime give a sense of socialising and company and will help ease feelings of distance and isolation. Don’t underestimate the power of a good phone call. If you’re isolating with others, have a group movie night or dust off the board games and have a tournament. Make sure it stays friendly though or you’ll be stuck in close quarters with someone you called a “twat” for buying Park Lane for the duration of the lockdown. Awks
Go for a drive. You are still technically isolated in your car (As long as it’s just you and/the people you live with). If you can’t get to a scenic walk, go to a local area you haven’t visited before. Drive down the “posh street” and discuss which house would be the best to hide out in during the zombie apocalypse or what you’d do with the garden if you owned it – anything that captures your imagination and sparks a discussion.
Remember this isn’t forever. Although we can’t be exactly sure when life will return to normal, it will. This isn’t the end of the story, it’s a chapter within it.