With the ‘stay at home’ message yet again being enforced across the UK, many people are talking about how to merely survive, or scrape by, during this new wave of lockdown. Of course, we’re all wishing for this devastating pandemic to end, along with the social isolation and enforced social distancing that is taking its toll on the mental health of the nation. However, for now, lockdown is necessary, and we must try and focus on the positives. After all, how many opportunities have you had in your life to really focus on yourself without the interruption of the outside world?
For many, flexible working wasn’t on the table prior to the pandemic. Enjoy and appreciate it, it’s great! Sure, it can be isolating from time to time, but it is now so easy to collaborate with colleagues digitally and still feel part of a close-knit team, whilst also enjoying the benefits of working from home. For one, the lengthy commute is finally off the table. Some of us can gain a much-needed extra hour in bed in the mornings – according to a survey by Vitality (2019), 35.1% of employees get less than seven hours of sleep per night, so this is your chance to really refuel and start creating positive habits. Taking a lunch break at the same time as your family members or flatmates really allows you to switch off from work for an hour. With less of a temptation to eat a solo lunch from your work desk, you’ll more likely feel more refreshed and revitalised than ever before when getting stuck back into work. You’ll find yourself gaining an hour or so in the evenings as you wander out of your office and into your living space. Really make the most of this – you’ll often find you have more time and energy to cook, take yourself a walk around the block and indulge in self-care.
Exercise is key and the benefits are endless. Exercise is so important for your physical and mental health - getting that heart rate up and your blood flowing will make you feel so much more awake and alert, allowing you to flourish in many other ways. With more time in the morning, at lunch or post-work, it’s easier than ever before to squeeze in a quick workout. Lots of cool boutique gyms are offering online classes at a fraction of the price, so if you don’t want to brave the dreary January weather, you can do that super fun class you’ve always dreamed of doing… from the comfort of your own home! Hit your fitness goals and incorporate exercise into your daily routine – you’ll really feel the benefits of this, so much so that you’ll want to continue with your regime post-lockdown!
With the pressure off in terms of physical weekend socialising, don’t feel like you have to join in on the exhausting Zoom quizzes every Friday and Saturday night. Of course, it's lovely to have a catch-up FaceTime with a friend or two, but a huge call with fifteen long lost friends shouting over each other all at once?! No thanks. Your weekends are yours, and you should not fall victim to social pressure. Put your phone and laptop away and use your weekends to spend some quality time with family or flatmates… or yourself! There’s nothing quite like a weekend of self-indulgence – taking long baths, long walks, getting creative in the kitchen, or just getting stuck into a good book.
Most importantly, to flourish in lockdown, we need to stop putting ourselves down and comparing ourselves to others – we’re all doing our best and we all do this in different ways. When you stop beating yourself up over what you consider to be a lack of productivity, you’ll most likely find greater contentment and start to enjoy the fact that your pace of life has slowed down for the first time in years. Simply, try and enjoy you-time.