If you’re anything like me, isolation has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Some days I’m overwhelmed by fear and distress leaving me feeling unable to do anything, while others I’m taken over by a sense of control, positivity and motivation to seize this time and make the most of every second.
However you’re feeling, here are some top tips to beat the isolation blues and get you feeling back to normal, even if life isn’t quite yet...
1. Make Self-care Your New Priority
You know all those things that make you feel better but you never have time to do? Now is the time to do them!
Take a bath, watch some gentle TV, listen to some feel-good music, go for a walk, get the fancy candles out, do all the relaxing things you wouldn’t normally have time to do. Things are stressful, and time is plentiful, use this experience to create a self-care routine you can continue when life gets back to normal.
Keeping your mind healthy is key to staying positive when times get rough. Why not try something different? Mindfulness practices and meditation is a great way to improve how you’re feeling in a versatile way; you can learn how to use mindfulness to help you relax, feel more motivated, focus better, feel more confident and so much more. I always incorporate mindfulness and meditation in my yoga practice and my yoga classes - I’m available to teach meditation, mindfulness or yoga classes, for the moment they’ll be online (Contact: email@example.com), or there are lots of Youtube channels and apps you can use to help start your practice!
2. Start a New Hobby
Seize this opportunity to have a go at a totally new hobby or enjoy an existing one!
Staying at home may rule out some of your ideas, but there are still oodles of hobbies you could have a go at. Why not try some of the following:
Make an item of jewellery
Scrap book a trip
Write a poem
Paint or draw the view from your bedroom
Sew an item of clothing
Cook or bake something you’ve never tried before
Read a new book
Decorate a room in your house
Grow something (even if it’s just some pot plants!)
Try a jigsaw
Play a musical instrument
Or maybe try to learn a new skill, for example, I’ve been learning to juggle, but there’s lots of other stuff you could consider learning, practicing or picking up. From learning a new language to a new tik tok dance - just give it a go and find your “thing”!
3. Stay Active
Endorphins are your friends during this lockdown; when you exercise, your body releases this brilliant hormone, similarly structured to morphine, which numbs pain and triggers an overall feeling of wellbeing and positivity. This natural high can boost your mood and help shake off any lethargic feelings.
You don’t have to run a marathon, find a way to get active which suits you! There are literally THOUSANDS of workout video channels on youtube, fitness blogs and apps to explore, as well as walking, running, cycling and pretty much anything else you can think of.
Check out my blog post 5 Easy Ways to Get Active During Lockdown for more ideas.
4. Keep a Routine
I don’t know about you but my life has been completely and utterly upturned by COVID-19. Right about now I should have been taking my GCSEs; when the lockdown hit I went from a regular school day followed by hours of timetabled revision to having literally nothing to do and absolutely no structure to my days. I’ve found that trying to keep to a routine has helped. Although I can’t say I’ve stuck at this particularly well from the start, trying to have a little structure to your day can be really comforting and might help you feel a little more productive.
On a Sunday night, I plan my week which really helps me to feel in control and excited to start whatever I’ve set myself. I also try to do some yoga and meditation as soon as I wake up, this sets me up for the rest of the day and gives some structure. Maybe try planning your week or planning your day as soon as you wake up, or creating a morning or bedtime routine. It could be a good idea to vary your morning routine at the weekend so you can tell the difference between working days and rest days.
Experiment with creating a routine for yourself, your mental health (and workload) will be grateful!
5. Stay Connected
Physical distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation.
The wonders of modern technology mean your loved ones are only a phone call away. Seeing a loved one's face as you chat away about anything and everything on facetime reassures you that the love and connection you guys have won’t disappear just because you can’t meet them. Staying in contact helps maintain a little bit of normality and can feel like you’ve been out of the house just by seeing someone else in theirs. But most of all, chatting to your friends can give you a good laugh and cheer you up no end!
Have you been missing the company of your sports team? You could suggest a quiz night with your team or any other type of club you usually go to. Not interested in a quiz? What about a talent show, karaoke night, group work out, or a stay at home night out with your friends?
There’s lots of ways to stay in contact with the people you love. If you have any more inventive things to do over video call please comment them below I’d love to see them!
6. Be Careful How Much News You’re Exposed To
Everytime you put on the TV or look at your phone, you’re inundated by new, usually quite distressing, news. Constantly updating, constantly changing, constantly gloomy, the news can become a big drain on your mental health.
It is good to keep up to date with current affairs and the situation at the moment but be aware of how much news you actually consume. A regular check in to a reputable news channel you trust maybe once a day or every few days is enough; having the news on all the time can drag you down into a despairing state of mind when there's lots of fun and positivity to be had during this isolation period.
7. Help Others
A little bit of altruism can help you feel more connected to your fellow human beings and can bring a smile to someone’s face.
There’s lots of little things you can do to help others in these tricky times. Whether it’s making a cup of tea for someone you live with, getting shopping for an elderly neighbour, donating to a Food Bank, or giving someone a call, pulling together can make being apart a little easier. There’s loads of charities you can get involved with if you want to do more.
I’ve been offering free yoga classes for students and over 70s to try and help others during this time which I’m hoping will make a positive difference.
Try to do something to help someone else, it might just make their, and your, day!
8. Be Honest With Yourself
It can be tough. There’s no question about that. So be honest with how you’re really coping.
Try to regularly check in with how you’re getting on, notice and accept how you're feeling, and allow yourself to do whatever you need to get on with your day. There’s no competition for most work outs done, most banana breads made or most pictures painted, take it slow and be honest with how you’re feeling and what you need.
Never be afraid to ask for help: there’s loads of support out there for you. Maybe you need extra long facetimes with friends and family, or maybe you want to reach out to a charity such as Young Minds , Samaritans , CALM or so many others.
Do what you need to keep happy and positive during isolation and spread as much love as you can!