The Government recently announced that despite some slight adjustments (which only apply in England and not the rest of the UK) the current lockdown will continue for at least another three weeks and possibly even longer. Well, no matter how long the social distancing measures remain in place, rest assured that Greysnet will be right here to help you through it. We’ll be posting new articles everyday with lots of ideas for things to do to keep mind and body active and we’ll also keep you updated about any special events like concerts, shows and other nice things that help to bring a little joy into all our lives.  

In the meantime here are our top tips for coping with life in lockdown.

Make a Routine and Vary It!

While your normal routine of getting out and about, seeing family and friends, going for coffee, etc, probably went out the window a long time ago, it’s really important for your mental health to maintain some sort of regular routine during isolation.

Not having any structure to your life can make the hours crawl by and the days seem endless but a good routine will help the time to pass more pleasantly and you’ll also be able to use your time more productively.

A good routine should involve a little bit of all the things you like, and even one or two things you’re not so keen on, like ironing, scrubbing the shower or doing the washing up!

One of the most important things to include in your routine is variety. Any routine will become boring and repetitive after a while, especially under the current circumstances, so be sure to build in variety. How can you do that? Well, for starters, don’t do the same things at the same time every day. If you go for a walk in the morning on Monday, then go walking after lunch on Tuesday and do some yoga or read a book in the morning, on Wednesday take your walk in the afternoon and so on. You’ve probably got limited options for where you can walk at the minute but you’ll notice different things when you’re out and about if you do it at different times of the day.

The other thing that will help to add variety to your routine is having things to look forward to. Which brings us to our next point….

Get Your Diary Out and Start Filling It Up

Even though, we’re all stuck in isolation and there’s no way to get out to the theatre, or a pub quiz, a dance class, or to meet friends for a chat, there is actually a heck of a lot happening online right now and certainly enough to fill your diary several times over.

No matter what you’re into there is an online version of it happening right now, and the joy of the internet is that you are not bound by geography. I had a walk around the Vatican Museum yesterday morning, then I did a yoga class on the beach in Sydney Australia, followed by coffee with my friends via Zoom. I am really looking forward to this weekend when I’ll be watching an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical with my slippers on and a glass of red wine. Having things to look forward to is very important for keeping your spirits up and helps to give your week some much needed highlights. Why not include your friends in your plans? By arranging to watch a show, or do a class at the same time, you can call each-other afterward and chat about it.

Stretch Yourself

I mean that in every sense of the word. Stretching is a really important part of staying fit and healthy and mobility exercises should be part of your daily routine under normal circumstances. The great thing about stretching is that you can find a routine or a programme to suit any level of fitness and flexibility. You could try a bit of yoga, or Pilates or for something a little milder try Tai Chi. Stretching is good for the joints, the circulation, your balance and your mental health. No matter what else you do during isolation start stretching; you’ll thank me the next time you drop something in the shower! Aside from stretching your body you should also take this opportunity to stretch yourself in other ways. Try something new, something you’ve never done before. If you’re not the sort of person who goes to a Tango Class, then try doing one online….what have you got to lose, you might even discover a new passion!

Keep Mind and Body Active

It’s vitally important to keep both your mind and your body active during isolation. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, it could be going for a walk, dusting off your old bicycle, participating in an online fitness class or doing a bit of gardening – it all counts. As long as it gets your heart rate up then it’s doing you good. Just be sure to exercise a little common sense and don’t do anything that’s going to push you too far too fast. The idea is to keep yourself out of hospital not land yourself in it!  As well as keeping your body active it’s just as important to exercise your mind. There’s an old saying, “use it or lose it” and it’s very true. The good news is that there are lots of fun and free ways to give your brain a good work-out while you’re stuck at home. I’ve recently become completely addicted to online jigsaw puzzles! There’s online crosswords, chess, Sudoku – the list is endless. You can also download some great brain-training apps for your phone like NeuroNation.

Give Yourself a Project

Creating a project for yourself is a great way to fill your time in a productive manner. A project can be literally anything as long as it is timebound, structured and most importantly has a specific goal at the end. A project could be anything, it might be learning a new skill you’ve always wanted to master, like playing the ukulele, sewing or photography. It may even be a task you’ve had on or your to-do list for a long time but you’ve never got around to; like organising all your old photo’s into albums or clearing out the garage.  Completing a project comes with a terrific sense of satisfaction and achievement; and combats the feeling that time in isolation is just time wasted.  

Make Plans

In the words of Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. It’ll soon be here”. The current crisis isn’t going to last forever and the uncertainty about when it will end doesn’t mean you should stop planning for the future. Be positive – go ahead and set a date to see friends or go to a concert later in the year; or plan a trip in the autumn, you don’t have to book anything but choosing where you are going to go is half the fun anyway. If things don’t work out you can always postpone your plans but it’s important to start looking beyond the current situation.

Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself

You know what, before this is all over we are all going to have bad days. Moments when the constant isolation, being cut off from our friends and family, the anxiety about what might happen, the pain of losing loved ones just gets too much to bare with a smile and a joke and a stiff upper lip. And you know what….that’s all right. We are ALL going to have bad days. Don’t be too hard on yourself for feeling down or depressed or scared, the truth is that this is a pretty rubbish situation. The important thing to remember is that this is not permanent, it will pass. We will all meet again. And if a dark moment, or a bad day turns into two bad days or three, then there are lots and lots of people you can reach out to for help, who’ll offer an ear to listen or a shoulder to lean on.

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