I think one of the major things I’ve realised during this lockdown is how important my pre-lockdown routine was, and how much it helped me cope with life stressors.

I wanted to share some of my tips that I’ve been trying to do during lockdown to help me keep my mind healthy! It is very easy to head into a downward spiral at this time, especially if occasionally you can find things a bit difficult.

Get yourself a new “normal”. So this can take some time. We’ve gone from being able to do things that we enjoy (such as socialising with friends and family, going to to gym, even going to work) to now not being to do those things. Eventually you will find yourself falling into a new routine. For me, during the week I set my alarm at the same time every morning and I get myself ready for the day as I usually would pre-lockdown. This helps me maintain some of that “normal” feeling and it gets me in a good mindset!

Give yourself time. I think right now self-care has never been so important. For me, I make sure I give myself some me time. This can range from running myself a hot bath, to listening to some relaxing music or reading a book I’ve been putting off for ages. Self -care is your listening to your body and giving it what it needs. Fancying a nap at 2pm? Do it! Treat yourself!

Try and do some exercise. Now I know this is easier said than done. For me exercise is a major factor in my “normal” routine and since lockdown has happened i will be totally honest and say that at time’s my motivation to exercise has hit an all time low. But, exercise doesn’t mean you have to go for a marathon run every day. It can be walking around your local park, it can be taking the dog for a walk, heck it’s can even be trying some yoga in your living room! Just do something that can make you build up a little bit of a sweat. You will find that gradually over time, if you are able to incorporate this into your daily routine then this will become part of your “new normal”.

Get outside in the fresh air. I understand that not everyone is able to do this. If you are shielding in a place that has no access to any outside space, then what I can suggest is open your windows, and really listen to the outside. Really try and focus on the sounds of the birds, see if there is something outside that you haven’t seen before. For those lucky enough to have access to outside space, get yourself outside and take a few deep breaths. When I go for a walk I try and leave my headphones at home, I’ve found myself appreciating nature more and I feel comfort surrounding myself in greenery.

Rekindle those long lost connections. Pre-lockdown I found that everyone was always busy and in a rush. I guess one of the positives of the lockdown is being forced to slow down a little bit. This gives us the perfect opportunity to catch up with old friends that we’ve never forgotten about, but maybe haven’t spoken to in a while. You never know what exciting life events you may have missed!

Start making lists. I find sometimes that keeping myself busy can help the days go a bit quicker, and makes me feel like I have achieved something. So I’ve started making lists of everything that I do. Whether it’s something as simple as “make the bed” or “send that email” to making sure you get that piece of work down that you’ve been putting off! There is something satisfying about being able to cross things off a list.

Recognise when you need a rest. This is an important one. As I have said in my previous post, just because there are articles posted online about being as productive as possible during lockdown doesn’t meant you have to be. If you want to take some time out to rest and recharge, that is just as important as keeping yourself busy. Recognising signs of burnout is important, and especially important to those who are working as key workers right now.