We are still open!
It can be really easy to feel down in the dumps during the lockdown. We’re all missing our loved ones, our regular routines and being able to get out of the house and socialise. One feeling many of us are also experiencing at this time is boredom, and perhaps a little bit of cabin fever. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to inspire you and help to keep you busy during this lockdown. From yoga and DIY, to cooking up some delicious dishes, you’re bound to find something to keep you occupied.
Getting your body moving is an excellent way to improve both your physical and mental health. Numerous research projects have found that regular exercise helps to improve our sense of well-being, and this is due to feeling more energised, positive and relaxed. Exercise can also result in us being able to sleep better at night, helping us to feel fresher in the morning.
There are many online resources and social media accounts out there to get you started if regular exercise is new to you, or if you just want to try something new! From PTs offering live-time workout classes, to apps such as the Couch To 5K app, helping you to build up to running 5K. The important thing is to pick a form of exercise that you enjoy and that makes you feel great about yourself!
It can be easy to get stuck in a rut during lockdown, but by just getting outside and breathing some fresh air (where you can) it can be really beneficial. Breathing fresh air doesn’t have to mean going for a run, you can get fresh air by simply sitting in the garden reading a book, eating a meal outside or doing some gardening. Getting outside in the sunlight provides a much-needed vitamin D boost, which is actually linked to improving people’s mood. If you don’t manage to get outside in a day, try opening your windows to let in some fresh air, which will definitely help too.
Now is the perfect time to put your cooking and baking skills to the test! As well as providing you with something tasty to eat, cooking actually comes with various emotional benefits and can help your brain to feel more healthy. The obvious benefit is the reward at the end; all your hard efforts equate to a healthy meal or sweet treat you can devour, which helps to increase feelings of self-appreciation and pride.
This positive emotion is heightened when cooking for others; Altruistic cooking plays a strong part in many cultures as a way to bond with others, as cooking shows that you care in a time of crisis. Some popular eateries such as Zizzi’s and Pret have even offered out their top-secret recipes for us to try at home. Or, why not try a ‘fakeaway’ for a Friday night treat?
For many of us, missing our friends and family is one of the most difficult things that we’re facing during this time, especially for those who are most vulnerable in society. Luckily with the advances in technology, we’re able to stay in touch with our loved ones all over the world. Try and speak to a loved one each day to stay in touch, and keep those human connections strong! Why not use this time to reconnect with an old friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while? One of the positives to come out of COVID-19 is the strengthening in communities and relationships, and the digital community has a large part to play in this.
For many, reading or writing acts as a form of escapism. There’s nothing more satisfying than getting stuck into a good book and letting your mind drift off. During this unsettling time, many of us struggle to switch off our minds, and our general stress and anxiety levels are heightened, therefore using literature to both unwind and keep us busy is a great tip.
Likewise, getting creative is great for focussing our mind and attention, it has even been compared to meditation due to its calming effects on the brain and body. There are lots of ways you can get creative; drawing, colouring, knitting and crafting. Or on a larger scale, getting stuck into DIY projects – helping you to tick off some of those jobs that have been on your to-do list for a while!
Gardening is an excellent project to get stuck into whilst you’re in lockdown; the benefits it provides for both your physical and mental health is second to none. Whilst you’re outside, you’re getting fresh air and plenty of vitamin D – not to mention what a workout it can be! But how is gardening actually good for the mind? Research has shown that gardeners generally have greater life satisfaction, enhanced self-esteem and fewer feelings of depression and fatigue than those who are non-gardeners. The act of gardening can specifically help to improve people’s moods, this is because it helps to release dopamine, a natural anti-depressant.
Mindfulness is a meditation-like practice which can help the mind to better focus on what is happening in the present moment, rather than focusing on what might happen in the future. Practising mindfulness helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels, helping you to feel more at peace.
Some ways you can begin to practice mindfulness include:
Mindfulness takes practice, but the more often you practice, the better you become!
Now is the perfect time to learn something new! There are online courses out there on just about anything, so have a browse through and pick something that appeals to you
Some ideas to get you started include:
If you have been furloughed, this is also a great opportunity to upskill in your job. How about learning how to use a new piece of software, or taking a management course? Make a list of everything you’d like to learn, and just work through it during your time off.
A great way to unwind, and give yourself a treat during lockdown is to have a pamper evening. Start with cooking some food that’s great for the mind, and perhaps a sweet treat for afterwards. Why not run a bath with a scented candle? Using aromatherapy is actually linked to reducing anxiety, stress and helping to combat insomnia, so try and use some products containing essential oils. The important thing to keep in mind is to pamper yourself in a way that helps you feel great, we all need some self-love at the moment.
As well as all the above, this wouldn’t be a comprehensive list of ideas if we didn’t tell you to binge watch some Netflix! Dig out that list of series’ you’ve been meaning to start and make your way through them during the lockdown. Whether you use it as some escapism during this time, or you have a series on in the background whilst you’re doing other jobs around the house, it’s a great way to keep you from getting bored.
Reading the above will help to give you some ideas on how to keep you occupied during the lockdown. Whilst it is normal to feel a little low, or more anxious than normal during this time, we recognise that some people are seriously struggling with their mental health right now. If that’s the case for you, there is absolutely no shame in asking for help if you need it. Try talking to someone you trust about the way you are currently feeling, and failing that, there are many mental health helplines out there to help you.
Here at LycaHealth, we have a team of leading psychiatrists on hand if you would like to seek help for a mental health condition. We deliver treatments that are specifically tailored to your needs, with a high level of trust, safety and care. If you would like more information, contact our team today.