This blog post is about how to revisit your routine to boost and support your mental health. We are all dealing with very uncertain circumstances with regards to the various lockdown levels and their extension/s and it is important to prioritize your mental health throughout. One way to do this is to revisit your current routine and check in what you are doing for your mind, body and spirit to support your mental health.

Boost your mental health with a refreshed routine 

In terms of coping with the lockdown, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We need to go back to basics, and remember the importance of a routine. We see this advice everywhere, but perhaps we need to think about why a routine is so crucial during this time. We are facing so much change outside of ourselves at the moment and a routine gives us some level of normality and predictability amidst the uncertainty. A routine allows us to buffer the effects of this external change and minimize its impact.

What can you do to support your Mind, Body, and Spirit? 

MIND

Remember our brain is a vital organ to carry us in this time, we need to keep our minds stimulated and be aware of our thoughts and emotions. We should try to keep to our regular times of going to sleep and rising in the mornings, a rested mind is a good asset right now! With a good sleep routine, our brain has the opportunity to process overnight and we can buffer the negative impact the external change has on our mood and motivation. 

Another way to support our mental health via our mind is to reframe what this lockdown period means. We can make use of positive psychology which is an approach within the psychological field that focuses on “what can work, and how we can improve” as opposed to a problem focused approach by only looking at the challenges and what is not working. We can reframe this lockdown period as an opportunity or a time to rest. We can reframe concepts such as “I’m trapped at home” to “I’m staying safe and saving lives at home.” This does not take away the fact that we are experiencing tremendous loss, it just allows us to refocus our energy into developing what is working. 

Resources to support your mind

Mental Health related platforms and apps

My favourites

  • Make a list of 10 things that typically bring you joy and adapt them to lockdown conditions (e.g travel and cooking – adapt it to watching travel shows or look at airbnb online experiences etc.)
    • WildEarth on Youtube conducts live virtual safaris twice a day (Sunrise and Sunset safaris) – The first +-45 minutes of the sunset drive is dedicated to kids. They also have an interactive platform where individuals can ask questions by hashtagging on twitter.
    • Get creative with Lily Brannon, check out her website for social art events and more!

BODY

When it comes to your body, we need to support it by keeping its routine. This can include keeping a regular diet as well as performing some form of daily exercise. This may seem challenging with all the restrictions that we are facing, but remember to keep it simple. If you can move your body for 15 minutes a day, it’s a start. You can try exercises like jumping jacks, skipping, finding a flight of stairs nearby, or doing housework which also gets your body moving. Now that we have gone into level 4 lockdown restrictions, you are allowed to cycle, run and walk but this will have to be done in your neighbourhood and within a 5km radius. Furthermore, if you choose to exercise outside of your home, it must be between 06:00am and 09:00am.One must also be aware that all outdoor activities are to be performed while wearing a cloth face mask to protect your own, and others’ health. 

A gentle reminder that it’s also okay not to work out – if all you can do is get out of bed, shower, and change into a fresh set of PJ’s, that’s fine too! I encourage you to set yourself one goal a day – something that you’ve been putting off but you know will make you feel better – and do it. Give your body permission to rest and change during this time of restricted movement. 

Resources for your body

SPIRIT

We want to keep a routine here too, when I refer to spirit this simply involves connecting with something outside of ourselves. Whether this includes social support or connecting via your faith or higher power, it need not be religious but more about connecting beyond yourself, reaching out to your loved ones or those we find support from. This being said, connecting with something outside of yourself does not necessarily involve direct human interaction. It could involve listening to music or watching comedy to impact our mood. 

Loneliness is very likely to occur, whether we are in lockdown alone or with our families, loneliness is certainly possible. It can be challenging to tackle but connection must be prioritized as we know that good quality relationships are really important for our mental health, our well-being and overall health. Therefore it is imperative that we be intentional about connecting with others. Whether this is by allocating time with those in your home, or those that are outside of our spaces right now. Mealtimes are helpful for this, schedule a meeting over your lunch hour and “spend lunch” with someone. 

Online resources for your spirit

Finding a psychologist or mental health practitioner online 

Don’t take the bait. Do what you are comfortable with.

A final reminder for your coping during the lockdown period, there will be motivational pressure around us. There has always been some level of competition on social media for example seeing someone else exercising a lot more, or you’re seeing them being incredibly productive. Don’t take the bait. Do what you are comfortable with.

If you find that high productivity works for you, then do that. If you feel that more down time and “me-time” works for you, then that’s what you need for more balance. Everyone will respond differently under stressful and uncertain circumstances, you just need to make sure that you are doing what is best for your Mind, Body, and Spirit, to best support your mental health.

Thank you to those who contributed to this collection of resources.

Maja Kwiatkowski Therapy Begins Here

Thandi Mills

Carla Botha

Melissa Sparrow

Let’s Chat

Please feel free to chat in the comments around any of these suggestions if you try them or any extras to add to the post!

3 thoughts on “Lockdown lowdown: Tips for staying sane

  1. This is a wonderful post Amy! Thank you for writing and sharing these tips and suggestions. The resources are really great – trying Cosmic Kids Yoga with my son and it’s awesome! Look forward to more fruitful posts.

    Take care…

    Like

  2. This is such a helpful post Amy! Thank you for taking the time to share these tips and suggestions. They really are helpful ways to help us cope with the situation we are in. I much appreciated the resources too – especially the Cosmic Kids Yoga. Trying it out with my son. I look forward to more posts.

    Take care…

    Like

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