Lockdown Life and What I’ve Learnt

Lockdown Life and What I’ve Learnt

I may be a little late talking about life in lockdown because, as we know, it’s been eased a lot already. In fact we’re *almost* back to some sort of normal come Saturday. However, I think it’s important to reflect on that time where we were truly ‘locked down’ with only one exercise per day allowed.

Now I don’t know about you but the thought of lockdown was really quite scary for me. For someone whose anxiety tends to make them feel trapped and wanting to escape, the thought of only being able to go out once a day for a short exercise was daunting to say the least. Admittedly we are some of the lucky ones with a garden to enjoy, and not only that, but we had a lot to occupy ourselves with in terms of doing further work to the garden and the house so we could technically be kept quite busy. When you’re not allowed to go out you may as well make the most of doing the jobs you need to at home, right? Anyway, as I said, it was a pretty scary thought not being able to go out for long, and not being able to see family and friends. It definitely caused me some anxiety at the start, especially when I was then furloughed after about a week of working from home. My thoughts were that without any structure or focus my mind would spiral and I wouldn’t be able to cope very well. So I went full steam ahead – I put some structure into my day, by doing some “work” in the mornings, and pushing myself to do exercise at home and go on daily walks, and actually I was okay. Of course there were some wobbly days where you don’t feel yourself at all, and it feels like the lockdown will never end and the normal life we once knew would never return, but then, there’s also the anxiety of the lockdown easing and normality returning just to confuse things even more… There was also a dip for a few weeks where I wasn’t as actively putting structure into my days, and not exercising as much, but I was being present with relaxing and resting which I guess was what I needed. I’ve since done a little better and now I’m back at work anyway. It helped being part of the CBT group as well, as we still had our virtual sessions and it was nice to ‘check-in’ every week. However, that has now come to an end and so has lockdown. So, what have I learnt and taken from lockdown life?

  1. Connecting with family and friends is far more important than I realised for health and wellbeing. I was feeling pretty low the other week, both physically and mentally, but after video-calling with a friend one day I felt so much perkier. It definitely helped me turn my mood around, even if I physically didn’t feel any better. Afterwards I started to feel more and more improvement in both physical and mental health each day which was great. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not just important for us, but for them too. My Nan is in her 80s and lives on her own. She lives in a residential block so has been able to see her neighbours and friends in the block, but not venture outside or have visits from the likes of myself and family. It’s a lonely life, despite living in close proximity to other people. Most of the time she sits in her flat watching tv as she doesn’t have a great mobility, so phonecalls from loved ones to her I can imagine are precious and so important. That’s why I do my best to give her a ring every couple of days, not just in lockdown but out, as she’s about a 40 minute drive away from me. Now that lockdown has eased, I’ve been able to see her a couple of times, just sitting outside, but it’s completely better than nothing. I hope to soon see some friends, and spend more time with my family more often as I have definitely come to appreciate the importance of being able to see people face to face. A text or Whatsapp, even a phone call, is nothing compared to seeing the person, and really NOTHING compared to having a good old fashioned hug from someone (- what are they again?! I miss those!!)
  2. Exercise DOES make you feel good! You know you hear lots of people say it, and you read about it, but if you’re like I was then you’re sceptical (especially if you’re not necessarily a fan of it), but actually, after doing it more regularly I came to realise that it absolutely does make you feel better, AND, believe it or not, I have come to enjoy working out (sometimes…) I also have a new found love of yoga (started prior to lockdown but become more serious throughout.) It’s a great thing to take anywhere from 5 mins to and hour of your day, just to do a little bit of. I tend to look at Yoga with Adriene or Yoga with Kassandra vidoes on Youtube, as well as taking my Dad’s yoga classes via Zoom on Mondays and Fridays (very handy to have a yoga teacher as a father.) I am currently following the Home: 30 day challenge by Yoga with Adriene mixed with the odd random video if I fancy something more or slightly different, depending on how I’m feeling. There are specific videos for specific circumstances – for example, she has ones for courage, social anxiety, gut health, stress, lower back pain, neck/shoulder tension etc etc. The list goes on. I would highly recommend at least giving it a try.

3. Being immersed in nature is great for the mind. Whether you’re just pottering around the garden, watching the birds, planting some plants or going for a walk in nature, being surrounded by it and being in the fresh air helps you become more present and helps to clear your head. One of my favourite things to do occasionally that has come out of lockdown, is popping in my headphones, putting on a podcast and going for a walk to the fishing pond near our house. I’ve tried to go for an almost daily walk – it’s dwindled a little since starting work again – as it’s a nice break from the house and a chance to look at some pretty flowers and and spot some wildlife. Get a good ounce of fresh air.

4. Social media is not your friend. Now, firstly I’m not going to deny that I use social media quite a bit, because I do, but I also know that it’s not good for me. I try now to just use social media (Instagram) for my photography business or blogging, which yes still leaves me aimlessly scrolling through posts, but I’ve also filtered more of what I want to see. I’ve also turned my phone permanently onto silent mode so I don’t feel or hear when I get messages, and I’ve deactivated almost all notifications for social media, meaning I have less distractions and am more focused and present on what I’m doing, whatever that may be. Of course there are times that I may get slightly bored or think “oh I’ll just check my phone” but I don’t have that frequent distraction of buzzes that grabs my attention, meaning I have generally spent less time on my phone. And it feels so nice!

5. Be grateful. Time being locked down has given be a new appreciation for lots of things. I like to think about the small things in life that I’m grateful for, not just the big obvious ones. Being grateful opens up your mind and your heart. The more you realise you have to be grateful for, the better off you are mentally. I will stop saying grateful now…

Who couldn’t be grateful to have these cute little pipsqueaks in their life?

Have you learned anything in lockdown? What has it shown you? Are there things you want to take into your new normal life post-lockdown?

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