Everyone's lockdown has been different. Key workers have been working longer and harder hours than ever, while people on furlough have had a lot of time on their hands. Whoever you are, it's not been an easy time time. We asked our team how they looked after after themselves during lockdown.
“I have bounced from content to frustrated, zen to frenzied, heels-and-make up to pyjamas, often all in one day” says our London Manager, Monica. "One day I found myself in full make up with my favourite heels on, and my pyjamas. What a glorious, if slightly alarming, sight for my family at breakfast.”
So if you found bouncing from emotion to emotion like Monica, you might find our seven top tips helpful.
Move your body
“My ‘yoga practice’ is one step above a nap, but I do it wearing workout clothes so that makes it exercise” says Ettie, our Director of External Relations. “As an alternative to endless Zoom meet-ups with friends, I’ve been doing dance workouts with them instead. School of SOS has some amazing ones.”
"I try to exercise in some way every day" says Monica, "Whether it's yoga or karate, it means I don’t lose my mind and put a Monica-shaped hole in the wall where I’ve tried to escape lockdown” Her most important workout? Tik Tok dances with her daughter.
Working out doesn’t have to be high intensity to make you feel good. Our team includes Milo the Miniature Dachshund. Milo works closely with our North West Director, Lucy. He’s been hard at work teaching the world how to wash their paws. But he also likes to de-stress with a relaxing country walk. Our director Kate has followed in Milo’s paws and loves going for a walk as a form of self care. That being said...
Lockdown and Chill
Life under lockdown may mean more screentime than ever, for a lot of us. But it’s also a great way to immerse ourselves in others worlds and escape from daily worries.
“I’m watching films and TV, totally guilt free” says Monica. “Things that make us laugh (Sex Education: makes my son very uncomfortable to watch with me but he does it anyway). And things that make us cry (This is Us, with my daughter. It’s really the best thing I’ve seen in a long time and as we weep together it’s a great excuse for mutual, respectful, consensual hugs). Things that help us to escape (any Marvel Universe or DC show and film). Things that remind us of the good old days (anything from the ‘80s and ‘90s. The Breakfast Club. Beverley Hills Cop. Die Hard. With my husband). And lastly things that no other member of my family finds entertaining but which I find hilarious (Four More Shots Please - think updated Sex and the City for the modern Indian woman: hence I watch it alone).
Make Routine Your Friend
A lot of us are creatures of habit. It's hard when your routine is up-ended. Faye found a super simple solution to get routine back into her life.
“Initially I was trying to plan every single hour, and feeling guilty when I didn’t stick to it. So, I started planning what I was going to have for dinner everyday. It gave structure to my day, helped break the week up and had no pressure attached.”
Planning meals can help give you a sense of routine with the added bonus of reducing food waste. It also means you can schedule in “take-away” and reward yourself for getting it. After all, you’re only sticking to schedule, right?
Ditch Your Devices
When your day starts with reading the news on your phone, followed by a busy day of Zoom meetings, emails and video catch-ups with friends, it’s hard to get away from your screen.
“After 9pm, I put my laptop, phone and iPad away in another room. I find that TV doesn’t affect me too much, but all other screens are a no-no.” says Lucy, our North-West Director.
Tackling how much you’re on your phone throughout the day can also be a big help. “It’s so easy to open Instagram and still be there hours later, so I set myself a daily limit.” says Kate, our Executive Director. You can even set specific time limits for the apps you use the most. Monica’s family play games instead, such as card games or 2 on 2 netball, in order to get away from their screens together.
Make it a Date Night
“I live with my partner and, to stop us getting horrifically bored of each other, we try to still have date nights at home” explains Faye, our Outreach Officer. “The main thing is to break from the mundanity of day to day life and keep having something special.”
Have a date night with a friend or family member over facetime if you’re lockdowning solo. Get creative with what you do. It doesn't need to cost a lot or be fancy. Here are some of Faye’s date nights; biscuit decorating, making party balloon animals, craft chocolate tasting session, portrait painting, origami, wine and cheese nights and making pizza from scratch.
Make a moment for mindfulness
Take five minutes every day to connect with your breath. Free meditation apps like Headspace, Calm, Aura and Insight Timer are a great place to start. Or check out Youtube for guided meditations with calming videos of the sea or mountains. Try playing relaxing sounds on YouTube, or with an app like Rain Rain. “I love to fall asleep to the sound of raindrops” says Kate.
“Rather than driving across the country to a new national trust site, I’m learning to appreciate nature close to home and going for walks and doing yoga on the local beach.” Abi, our Manchester and Merseyside manager, takes her moment of mindfulness to admire her hometown and be at one with nature.
You can also check out Mind’s brilliant guidance for looking after our mental health at this difficult time.
Goodbye to Guilt
Raise your hand if you’ve set yourself 5000 ways to improve yourself during lockdown. Keep your hand up if you haven’t managed most of them. Pretty much everyone? We thought so.
“I speak fluent Italian now, and work out three times a day” says Ettie. “That’s a lie. None of my grand plans have come to anything, and that’s okay. I made a choice to be kind to myself and not let ‘productivity culture’ get in my head.”
It’s okay if, like Faye, you end up playing animal crossing for five hours instead of deep-cleaning your entire house. One of her main coping mechanisms is to, quite sternly, remind herself that whilst it’s good to have goals for lockdown, “I’ve jumped on the sourdough bandwagon and I built a bar in my garden. Don’t judge.” It’s more important to forgive yourself.
Posts like this have been everywhere and so have the clapbacks. Abi wants to remind everyone that “lockdown is bound to be challenging but stay positive and know this isn’t permanent; you’ll be stronger, no matter what you’ve done, once this is all over.”
Turning up for yourself every day, in whatever way your mind or body needs, may just be the best thing you can accomplish.