Are you finding this Lockdown harder to deal with? Is it a struggle to stay positive? Or are you just fed up with all the restrictions and just want to get on with your life now!
The lockdowns have been a massive disruption for everyone. Many of us have found ourselves struggling to keep our spirits and energy levels high up. This latest Lockdown feels much worst for several reasons:
- it’s Winter, the days are colder, shorter and the weather is unpredictable, making it a struggle to get to work and exercise. This means that we are getting less vitamin D and exercise outside, and our energy levels are low.
- We’ve been here before! We have already been through two lockdowns, and we don’t have an end date for this one. As humans, we like to have order, we want to know when things will happen, so we make plans, and these lockdowns without an end date make us anxious because they don’t have one. However, unlike the previous lockdowns, we have a vaccine being rolled out, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.
- We are tired – We haven’t had a break since I don’t know when and you’re probably not sleeping that well. Having time off has been incredibly difficult. If you are struggling with tiredness during the day, this may be because the quality of sleep you are getting is poor.
Here are some ways to help you replenish your energy levels:
Structure to your day
We are creatures of habit and like order, this feeling of Groundhog Day doesn’t sit well with us, we respond well to a routine, not chaos. Many of you are working in a care home, schools, shops, some from home and others are retired, but we all have in common our need for ‘normal’ right now.
Here is how to achieve some normality in your lockdown life:
Get up and get dressed.
If you are on a day off have a lovely lie in but if it is a workday get up and get dressed. No one is saying you must wear a suit or full face of makeup if you don’t want to but wash your face, brush your teeth, and hair! Fresh clothes and a clean face are energising and will help you embrace the day.
Now you’re up, how about a spot of exercise?
I know it’s cold, wet, and you don’t want to, but exercise will bring you the most benefits to your energy levels. Here’s the science, according to a study conducted by Appalachian State University, the best time to exercise is at 7 am. If you exercise and get enough sleep, it will make you more alert, improve cognitive functioning, and reduce your stress levels.
Now if you need a little help here are 56 workout apps to choose from! Click HERE
Plan your meals
Plan your menu, this helps for several reasons. One, fewer trips to the supermarket during a pandemic is a good thing. It enables you to be more efficient, reduces food waste, and encourages healthy eating. Creating more extravagant meals for the weekend/when you’re not working can also be fun and help break up the monotony of Lockdown. If your not very a very confident YouTube is your friend you can join Gordon Ramsey for his Ultimate cookery course.
Or Delia Smith’s cookery course, there are literally hundreds on YouTube that are all free, from the basics to knife skills, to working with spices.
Plan your day
Whether you are on a rest day or working, make sure you have a plan. During Lockdown, it is vital to stick to a routine. A schedule means you have less time to become lethargic and entertain negative thoughts and become depressed. This isn’t to say you need to have a regimented life – get up at 6.am, the exercise by 7am, breakfast at 8am, work 9am, lunch 12pm, finish work 6pm, cook dinner 7pm, leisure 8pm – 10pm, bed 11pm! That wouldn’t work for lots of us! You need to avoid coming home from work and napping from 6pm – 9pm. Then having a packet of crisps, two chocolate bars and a bottle of wine for your dinner and sitting scrolling through Facebook and Twitter for four hours arguing with strangers about Covid being a hoax!
What to do?
There needs to be a balance, especially if you’re working long shifts and feel like that is all you do now. Book a night with friends over zoom to break the week up or as a weekend party, there are many games you can play click HERE for some ideas. Or if you’re not into games and quizzes how about a night painting with friends, live streaming a gig, or a comedy show for more information on click HERE.
If socialising isn’t your thing, how about a new hobby, again YouTube is your friend here, I took up painting during the first Lockdown, and it’s kept me sane!
There are so many different types of painting and crafting.
Or you can join Mr X Stitch! He does cross-stitch.
Or Knitting for beginners
You can learn to make woollen roses with a fork!
How to make bath bombs
Find time to relax, look after yourself and talk to your friends and family, remember if you’re feeling down, they may be to, and together you cheer each other up. Talk about a holiday you have been on together, a party, plan something for the future something that to look forward to.
I know it’s challenging to get out about at the moment. Most things are shut, so why not try a podcast, there are fiction ones, comedy, history, factual, you name it, and probably one about it! I’m loving Sh**ged Married Annoyed by Chris and Rosie Ramsey, probably one of the funniest relationships! They are brilliantly funny; they talk openly and frankly about their lives together and being parents. I also listen to the Tudor Dynasty, but that’s because I’m a history nerd!
You can find the best of them HERE
TV and Film
The best TV shows of 2020, well there are so many TV streaming services now that it’s hard to keep up! This roundup has a good mix of all of them, including a lot of terrestrial channels, click HERE to see what you might have missed!
The best films of 2020, this one is going to be very difficult because so many movies were never released. Still, Esquire has put together a list for you click HERE.
Quality sleep is vital
One of the reasons you may be struggling with your moods and tiredness is the poor quality of your night’s sleep. You may be going to bed at a reasonable hour and feel that you’re getting the right amount of sleep, but are you waking up feeling sleepy and groggy?
If you are still feeling this way for between 15 and 60 minutes after you have woken up, it could be ‘sleep inertia’. Sleep Inertia is the medical term when a person feels dazed, weak or unsteady from the lack of quality sleep.
It can affect some people for many hours and in the following ways:
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Forgetting things
How do I get some Quality Sleep?
Considering what we are all going through at the moment, it is not surprising that we are not sleeping well, but we can do something to help ourselves.
We can improve the quality of our sleep by just introducing some good sleep habits.
These can include:
- Try and maintain a regular routine, just because you don’t have to travel or because your partner can stay up later doesn’t mean you should.
- This is a tough one, but it is really beneficial to keep to this routine over the weekends. Our biological clock works better if we don’t keep resetting it!
- Do not press that button!! Don’t be tempted to press snooze, we never sleep soundly in short intervals, and You won’t be able to sleep soundly in these short intervals, and you will only end up feeling more tired.
- Make sure you drink enough water during the day, as even being mildly dehydrated can affect your sleep. Don’t drink too close to bedtime, especially alcohol or caffeine, even milk can be problematic for some people. It can cause acid reflux during the night.
- The same with food, don’t eat too close to bedtime, as this can cause disruption to your sleep.
- Your bedroom should be a nice comfortable room, not too warm and not too cold. Blackout curtains or blinds are a good idea as well.
- The blue light from TV’s, computers and mobile phones disrupts the secretion of melatonin. This is a hormone that induces the natural onset of sleep. Don’t watch TV in bed, don’t work in bed and turn your phone over, so your screen is not seen. If you have to keep your ringer on that’s fine but turn your notifications off.
- Unless you live with your parents, flatmates, or hiding from your kids, try not to spend much time in your bedroom during the day. This room should be for sleeping and switching off.
- If you absolutely need to catch up on sleep during the day, then take a just short nap, 20 to 30 minutes at the very most. The longer you take, the more likely it will affect your sleep later that night and ongoing. It can take days to reset your sleep/waking clock after a ‘nap’ lasting an hour or longer.
If you’re not sure if you are getting enough sleep, try this simple test.
I know how hard it is to stay upbeat and positive in these circumstances, you’re worried about the future, your loved ones, and you’re watching the news. However, look how far we have come. We have a vaccine and normality or something that resembles it is on the horizon. We have so much to be grateful. If you feel down while reading this and have gotten this far, and nothing has made a difference, can I ask you to do one last thing?
Get a pen and paper and write down everything your grateful for. Every single thing, it will be hard to start with because of the frame of mind you’re in, but let me start you off:
- I’m grateful for the love of my family.
- The laughter of my friends.
On my 50th birthday, my best friend, her husband, and daughter decided to make me a present. It’s a jam jar with a silver sparkly 50 stuck to the outside and rhinestones on the lid and inside there are little folder bits of paper in three colours. Yellow for my friend, Pink, for her daughter and Blue for her husband. They have written something they love about me or are grateful for, or a memory, just something sweet and kind on each piece of paper. It’s one of the most incredible gifts anyone has ever given me! When things have seemed really black during this pandemic, I have gone to that jar and taken three or four out and read them, they have made me laugh out loud or cry with joy. Some days I haven’t taken one out at all because they are precious, and I haven’t needed them. Those little bits of paper have been back and forth into the jar over and over, but their words have helped more than they could possibly have imagined when they sat down to write them.
The power of a few words to heal or soothe is extraordinary, try it.