Mental Health

7 Healthy Habits for Lockdown

We’re in our third national lockdown in the UK and that mixed in with Winter blues has caused a lot of people, including myself, to feel low. Not just low, but trapped, frustrated and angry. How did we manage to get to this point when the summer looked so promising? Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to change this at the moment, and being angry won’t change that. In order to feel a little bit better, I began getting myself into positive habits that have improved my mental health drastically over the past year, and they have never been more important until now. So, here are my tips to feeling a little bit better in lockdown:

1. Get Up in the Morning

The number of times I’ve woken up at 8am and wondered what the point of getting up is, then carried on sleeping to then just feel worse is not good. I decided that I needed to see the morning. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the mornings feel different to any other part of the day. I don’t know whether it’s the subconscious feeling of having a new start or whether I like hearing bird-song, but the mornings feel positive.

I think this tip is especially important at the moment in order to get enough sunlight. If waking up at 2pm is your thing, at the moment, you’ll only be getting two hours of daylight, which affects your vitamin D intake (which will already be low in the winter months) and could lead to feelings of depression.

Just try it. You’ll thank me later.

2. Get Showered and Dressed

If you’re used to showering before work, following this routine at home could help with feeling like you have goals to complete and things to do. It certainly improves my mood and makes me feel productive and is something I started at university.

When you don’t have much to do or you’re stuck inside, even showering and taking care of yourself feels positive. It breaks up the day and allows for a routine and is again, something that just makes me feel better and I’m not entirely sure why. It’s not even about cleaning myself because I’m not exactly dirty after sitting around all day, it’s more about forcing myself to feel different between being in bed and being awake.

3. Get Outside

This one is a biggie. Getting fresh air is so important. At the moment, we are inside all day breathing in recycled, stale air. As I, and many others, are working from home at the moment, I don’t have my commute to and from work which would usually mean I at least get to walk around outside. These might seem tiny aspects of your day, but it’s amazing how much a 20-minute walk helps to lift your spirits. I find that a quick trip outside helps to clear my head and feel more connected. Not only do you get fresh Oxygen, but you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to get that little bit of vitamin D into your system.

4. Exercise

I am not the healthiest person in the world, neither do I feel particularly drawn to doing exercise, however, throughout lockdown 2 and 3, I have made an effort to get involved with online exercise classes. Kelly is a trainer at my local gym and started hosting online exercise classes when our gym closed. After being a bit reluctant at first, I decided to join in and I have never felt fitter! I’ve also never seen results on my body before, but have toned up whilst also feeling like I’ve worked hard and achieved something. But exercise comes in all shapes and sizes: Joe Wicks, Yoga classes on YouTube or even a quick run outside.

Try to get into an exercise routine. Not only does it give you something to do, it gives you goals, serotonin and you can feel smug which is always fun.

5. Put Down your Phone

This is one tip that I need to start listening to a bit more. Our phones are great things, especially at the moment as we can keep connected and social from the safety of home. HOWEVER!! It’s so important to recognise that our phones should not be an extension of us. As I mentioned in my previous post, it’s not healthy to take in as much information as we do, and at the moment, a lot of that information is daunting and overwhelming, often being too much for us to take in. Our phones, as great as they are, can actually lead us to feeling more anxious and if you really can’t put it down, at least try to add some restrictions!

6. Get Creative

I have not been blessed with being particularly artistic (nor academic really, what’s that about?) but lacking in skill does not mean that we shouldn’t be creative. Creativity allows for freedom of expression. We can do this through many forms: baking, painting, writing, sewing, drawing, DIY, journaling, photography and so much more. You might not be brilliant at any of these things, but having a go at something new and creative regardless of the outcome can be incredibly relaxing. I find it hard to motivate myself to get my creative juices flowing, but once I do, the feeling is like no other. I had a go at baking a carrot cake last weekend and I’m no Mary Berry but I’m still reaping the benefits!

7. Be Kind to Yourself

My final tip for this lockdown is to be kind to yourself. As human beings we like to be stimulated and the past year has been anything but. I think we have a tendency to beat ourselves up about this, thinking that if we don’t spend the time being productive, then it’s a waste. At the start of the first lockdown in 2020, I had this view and I completed a lot. But now? I’m burnt out, I’m tired and I just can’t wait for this to be over. I’ve barely had the motivation to blog and I’m just about able to make my Animal Crossing island look good. But that’s okay. Thinking that is anything other okay is the problem. Yes, it might feel ‘lazy’ but that’s because we’re used to have things to do. We can’t spend every waking moment being productive in a pandemic. Keeping on top of your Mental Health is exhausting enough at the moment, so be kind and give yourself a break!

I hope these tips made you feel a little bit more motivated now that we (hopefully) can see an end in sight to this mess. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just a couple of things that I’ve tried to do every day in order to keep my mind from frazzling!

I’d love to hear what you think of my habits and if you do any of these yourself, let me know in the comments!