Lockdown hacks – techniques to help you cope
With England’s second national lockdown in place, it is more important than ever we are looking after and prioritising our mental health. For those who may be looking for more guidance on how to get through the lockdown, Jo Leyland offers some personal tips.
I don’t think anyone enjoyed hearing the news that we were being plunged into a second national lockdown, so here’s a quick list of tips to help you pull through to the other side.
1. Structure your time.
This is the most important piece of advice that has ever been given to me. Even a vague structure to organise your day helps. It is especially helpful planning the first thing you are going to do when you wake up, to kick-start your day; whether that’s something as simple as making your bed, having a shower or maybe eating breakfast. Having a few set things you consistently do each day can also help, whether it’s something for your course or something you enjoy. Changing your habits is the easiest thing you can do to improve your lockdown life, and this includes making sure that you have time for the things you enjoy.
Also, spending some time at the end of the day to reflect on what you’ve been up to (I like writing it down) will make you realise you are doing more than you think and break the monotony of staying indoors.
2. Get outside!
It’s a cliché for a reason, but you should try to get out and about at least once a day. It’s a good excuse to get away from uni work for a bit and de-stress. Now is the perfect time to get out and explore Exeter, get to know the city more. The Quay is a classic, or maybe try the Exeter City Wall trail, or even walk the Sculpture trail through the Uni grounds.
Be kind to yourself and let yourself decompress in these trying times. It’s ok to be struggling, and it’s ok to ask for help.
If walking isn’t your thing, try exercising in your room (YouTube yoga is my lifesaver) or even just sitting outside, or in the garden. Anything to get you moving or out in the sun is a natural mood lifter, which is particularly great on days when you aren’t feeling your best.
3. Connect with those you care about
Easier said than done, but keeping in contact with people is crucial. Messaging on social media is a good intermediary, but calling people or talking to people in person is better. I never realise how good a call home or to friends will feel until I’ve done it, and I definitely undervalue their positive impact on my mental health. Especially those who might be in lockdown alone, talking to people will benefit you more than you think.
4. Let yourself relax
It’s a hard time for everyone, so it’s crucial to be kind to yourself. Spending time doing things you enjoy will help, along with the rest of the tips in this article, but don’t stress out about following them perfectly. If you can take one thing from this article, it’s be kind to yourself and let yourself decompress in these trying times. It’s ok to be struggling, and it’s ok to ask for help.
*If you feel like you might need extra help it’s never too late to reach out: Call Samaritans on 116 123, visit mind.org or for university-based services call Nightline on 01392 724000 or contact Wellbeing on 01392 724381 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.