Looking After Yourself (and others) in Lockdown 2

Posted on: July 14, 2020, by :

When the second period of COVID19 lockdown was announced last Tuesday, I experienced a deep sense of disappointment. I had dealt well with the first period of isolation, had actually enjoyed some aspects of it, but this felt different – perhaps more serious, more inconvenient, even unfair – and it evoked a sadness in me that took me by surprise. Even more surprising was the recognition over the ensuing couple of days that this sadness was having a physical outworking as I experienced an unusual lethargy and some frustration over niggling health issues. How did the announcement impact on you, I wonder?

It’s neither surprising nor inappropriate to feel disappointed, sad or frustrated in the situation we are facing. On top of the concerns about the health impacts of a virus like this one, COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down. All of the things we’re used to doing each week — going to school or work, catching up with friends and family, going out for dinner, playing sport, going on holidays — have changed. Many people have lost their jobs and there is uncertainty about how COVID-19 will affect the economy into the future. Under these circumstances, it’s normal to feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused, sad or even bored. But these feelings can take their toll, and we all need to take the time to care for ourselves and to look out for our friends, family and colleagues. 

There are things you can do to look after yourself and address those feelings of sadness in this lockdown period. Here are a few suggestions (with live links to follow for more info):

Look after your physical health: Exercising and eating well help you stay physically and mentally healthy. Getting a good night’s sleep is a really important part of staying healthy.

Stay connected: Maintaining social connections is important to feeling safe and well. Keep in touch with family and friends via video chats, phone calls, online groups, chats with neighbours (while keeping 1.5 metres apart) and, of course, tuning in to the online gatherings and Zoom catch-ups offered by the church. 

Develop new routines: When so much seems out of our control, establishing some structure in our days will help to provide stability and a ‘new normal’. If you are working from home or learning from home, try to separate ‘work and school time’ from ‘family time’ or ‘recreation time’. Find new ways to make ‘old’ routines part of your day — such as having lunch with colleagues via video chat, finding an online gym class, setting up a regular time each day or week to give a family member or friend a call. 

Take breaks: Be kind to yourself and take time just for you, even if it is just a few minutes to take some deep breaths and step outside into the fresh air. Plan your breaks and use them to do something that makes you feel calm and happy. Many people find that meditation helps with this. The Connect group at The Avenue (currently meeting over Zoom) is a great pathway into meditation and mindfulness – email for details.

Reach out to others: Some people are particularly vulnerable for different reasons. They may be older, live on their own, have a chronic medical condition, or live in a challenging home situation. Reaching out to give people support, if you are able, can help your mental wellbeing and make a big difference to someone else’s life. 

Stay positive: Remember, this may be unpleasant, but it will pass. What you say to yourself is important. Listen to the things you are saying to yourself and change negative comments to be more helpful and realistic.

Seek support: It’s normal to have ups and downs, and it is important to talk about how you’re feeling with family and friends. In times like these, they are likely experiencing similar feelings. If you want to talk to someone else, but aren’t sure where to start, there are lots of great online and phone chat support services available. Head to Health (a government website) is a good place to begin, and Beyond Blue is always helpful. And, of course, the ministry team at The Avenue and Hartwell are always accessible and up for a chat! 

David Brooker.

[this article includes material from the Head to Health website.]

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