In my last post, I talked about how the lockdown is probably making you feel. I mentioned how frustrating it has been for a lot of people, having to change their lives and accept and follow rules imposed by the government for everybody’s safety.
These rules have made people less physically active, prevented face-to-face contact with family and friends and kept people away from their offices, which also reduces their contact with colleagues.
If during lockdown you meet up with somebody to exercise, you cannot get as close as you probably used to or as close as you naturally would when you meet up with another person.
If you are reading this, it is probably because the lockdown’s restrictions have been impacting your mood. If that is the case, here are 7 tips to help you deal with the effect of the restrictions.
You have probably heard all of these by this point, but have you put them into practice? If so, for how long? These tips will help to improve your mood but this will not happen straightaway, so it is important that you have a routine in place and that you try them for a couple of weeks if you want to start seeing an effect on your mood.
1. Have routines.
Routines are important as they help you to know what is going to happen in the future, which takes away some of the worries and anxiety. When you have a routine, planning your day is one less thing to worry about and it also keeps you busy. Being active improves your mood and supports your health. Include activities in your routine that give you pleasure, a sense of achievement and closeness.
2. Be creative.
Creativity is the key to adapting these tips to your current situation and to the rules imposed by the government. Asking yourself how you could do things in a different way, searching on the internet and asking other people how they are doing things now could help to increase your creativity.
3. Keep in contact with people who are important to you.
Humans need to be in contact with other people. Contact with others includes talking to somebody you have a good relationship with about your emotions, what worries you and what makes you happy, sharing what is going on in your life and having meaningful conversations.
4. Have an exercise routine.
Exercise is an important resource for managing your mood. It increases your energy levels; improves your sleep; helps you to stop focusing on your thoughts and focus on your body instead, which has a direct impact on anxiety and depression; and prompts your body to increase hormones that improve your mood, such as endorphins.
5. Check your mood daily.
Taking time each day to check how are you feeling and to recognise and connect with your own emotions can help to take away the uncomfortable sensations that they generate. To do this, you could start a diary and write about your day or talk to other people about how you are feeling. Meditation or mindfulness could be helpful as well. This is not an easy thing to master so, if you need help, send me a message and I can send you a guide to understanding emotions.
6. Connect with memories.
Memories are rich in emotions: when you remember events from the past, this can make you connect with how you felt in that moment and bring that emotion back into your mind. If you think about a happy memory, you are highly likely to start smiling and feel happy. You can use photos to connect with memories and talk to people about happy moments that you experienced together.
7. Celebrate achievements and share them.
You achieve so many small things every day but, because they are day-to-day things, you probably do not pay attention to them. Reflect about what you have done during the last few hours. Have you cooked, cleaned your house, tidied up or spent quality time with your child, partner, or housemate? These are simple and small things that could be celebrated as you can find pleasure in them and a sense of achievement.
These tips sound simple but I understand that they can sometimes be difficult to put into practice, especially if you have not yet developed these types of skills or got into the habit of, for example, checking your mood and connecting with your emotions and tuning in to what they have to say. If you are struggling with putting these tips into practice or with everyday life, then consider reaching out for help. I provide psychological therapy and I can help you. If you are not sure whether you need help or if I can help you, contact me to book a 15-minute free phone consultation to discuss whether therapy is right for you.