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How are you? And how are you getting on with this staying home thing now we’ve hit the four week mark? Are you thriving in lockdown, baking, embroidering, and learning new skills? Or are you climbing the walls yet barely getting out of bed? I completely understand both sides of the coping coin because I routinely cycle between ‘lets learn all the new skills’ and ‘there is only bed and netflix’. However it’s gone for you so far, if you have found your way here then you must be looking for a little guidance for navigating this lockdown we’re currently under, so let me – a certified shut-in – share with you some gentle advice.
I can’t stress enough that the first thing you need to do is take all your previous expectations of yourself and put them to one side. It’s okay, you don’t have to throw them away completely, you can get them back out when this is all over. But things are different just now and there is zero point in holding yourself to any previous standards because they’re simply not relevant. It’s time to give yourself a bit of a break whether that is something that comes naturally to you or not.
If you can look at your new set of circumstances and build yourself something approximating a weekly routine then I’ve found that to be really helpful, almost like making something out of nothing. Personally I like at least one thing to look forward to every week, even if it’s something small like a takeaway on a Friday (if any of your small, local places are open and delivering), film night on a Saturday, or writing on a Monday. If you need more structure then you can level up your routine to be as detailed as you like.
Chatting to your family and friends is huge, try and do that if you can, I previously hated video calls but I’m finding it instrumental in keeping me sane at the moment. Also look for opportunities to do things with people online, even if it’s people you don’t know very well. There’s so much more happening now than usual, so far we’ve done a fabulous 90’s quiz hosted by a friend and a virtual beer festival by an online beer subscription company. A lot of people are in the same boat right now, so if you see something happening that you like the sound of then sign up! You can be involved from the comfort of your living room, how exciting!
Here’s a big one: if you have outside space then try and use it once a day even if it’s cold and you can only stand it for a short amount of time with a big coat on. A change of scenery is great for staving off cabin fever and fresh air, well it’s fresh air innit? If all you have is communal space and you feel uncomfortable using it so much then just aim for something smaller, our target is to use our communal back garden three times a week for half an hour to get the recommended amount of vitamin d.
For those without access to outside space, open your windows as wide as they’ll go and sit next to them. It sounds crap but it works. The other week when I couldn’t get outside to the communal garden we sat in the living room on sun loungers with the afternoon sun streaming through the windows and it was lovely. Silly perhaps, but really nice.
Take it from someone who is stuck at home on the regular, there isn’t any definitive way to cope with being in all the time. If you are a reader, then read. If you like to sew, get on it. If you have been meaning to try something out for ages then I say go for it. If you are simply exhausted and cannot be arsed then don’t do anything. As long as you’re staying home then there isn’t any wrong way to do this lockdown, just take care of yourself and your mental health. I hope the world is open to you all again soon.
For more writing about this strange time we find ourselves in, you can find my coronavirus diaries starting here.