By now I’m sure we’ve all heard enough of that word ‘lockdown’, as unfortunately over this last year, it’s one that has been spoken on repeat. We’re constantly reminded by our surroundings that we’re living through a peculiar time, whether it’s brought up again during the discussion at dinner, spoken about during work meetings, the news, or simply reinforced by the fact that we’ve seen the same four walls that make up our bedroom more times than we have seen our friends, family and work colleagues in the flesh for almost a year now. It’s a tough time. An odd time to say the least and it’s difficult to know how exactly we should be handling it. Well, I don’t think anybody does, but we’re trying the best that we can with the unfair cards we have been dealt with.
Now more than ever, we need to be kind and considerate to others around us, but also to ourselves. With the restrictions that have been put in place and the normality of structure our lives had been taken away, it’s easy to forget to make time for yourself, even to take care of yourself and your needs. Whether that be ensuring you go to bed at a reasonable hour, getting a regular dose of fresh air, or even keeping your room tidy and comfortable environment for you to be in.
Just looking after yourself and taking some time out for you I think is something to be seen as productive and meaningful, so with that being said, below I have shared some ways that have allowed me to see value in my time spent and also to look after myself in the process while living with the effects of a lockdown.
Making a good night’s sleep a priority
I have really struggled to keep to a healthy sleep routine over this last year, which in turn really effects how I feel the following day. My mind typically races as soon as I get into to bed, and as you can imagine, that does nothing else apart from making me feel anxious and more awake. Getting a good night’s sleep is easier said than done, but I have tried a few ways in which I prepare myself for a good night’s rest. I like to keep a notebook and pen by my bed for when my mind begins to race. As soon as I start to feel panic or begin to worry, which typically begins as soon as I shut my eyes, I write all of those thoughts down to allow them out of my mind. To relax my body, I have a warm shower before bed and aim to be in bed at the same time each night. As well as this, instead of scrolling through my phone, I try to spend the last hour of the day before bed winding down and relaxing. Experiment and see what works for you. Listen to an audiobook, a bedtime podcast, or read a couple of pages of that book you’ve been meaning to start!
Create a music playlist with an array of your all-time favourites
It’s a cliché I know, but music has been an important part of my life ever since I was a little girl and I know that many feel the same way. It’s a great way to relieve stress, so it is high up on my list when it comes to self-care. I created a playlist of all songs that I enjoy, love to sing along to or that I associate with some amazing memories, such as festivals and seeing friends. All things we can look forward to having again. I ensure to take some time each day to play tracks from this playlist and allow myself to sink into the music for a while. I even have it in the background while I’m working, or getting household chores done to make those things more enjoyable.
Creating a daily plan
Adding structure by creating a daily plan, even to the boring-nothing kind of days, I found has prevented that feeling of the days all rolling into one. Planning even the simplest of tasks or actions into certain points of the day, such as getting up at a certain time, when I’m going to do household chores, or even when I’m going to go for a brisk walk, I have found has been extremely helpful in allowing me to take back a certain amount of control of my days, particularly in a time in which we are experiencing so many restrictions. Don’t feel constricted into only adding in the tasks we typically need to carry out on a daily or weekly basis, such as laundry, ironing, studying, work etc. Take a moment to add in time for you to enjoy, such as when you are going to sit back and watch some Netflix, time for pampering yourself with some well-deserved self-care, and even scheduling in work / study breaks to ensure you remind yourself to have a breather to sit and enjoy a cup of tea.
We’re now more than ever feeling the effects of isolation and loneliness, and with the heavy lockdown restrictions still in full swing, seeing loved ones outside of your household is not feasible just yet. That being said, thanks to technology, we can still keep in touch with friends and family. Scheduling in a weekly video call with friends not only has allowed me to add some structure to my week, but it gives me something to look forward to and get excited about. Whether it’s a general catch up with a family member, or perhaps even a virtual pub quiz with friends, it has been really enjoyable for me and always leaves me feeling refreshed and more connected with the outside world. I was never a big texter or one for phone calls before the pandemic, but I appreciate now more than ever how important regular contact with the people I love is.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get there. In the meantime, I hope that by sharing the above it provides you with some ideas of how you can help add some normality back into your days during these strange times.
We have featured some of our current favourite tracks on our Emo playlist: