Lockdown has felt more challenging this time around. Stuck inside the same four walls, walking around the same parks and cooking three meals a day - the ‘Groundhog Day’ effect is real. When coaching, I always talk about moving from just surviving, to thriving. So, here are my top four tips for getting through lockdown and thriving, rather than just surviving:
1. Stick to a routine
Even if you can’t work during Level 4, try to get up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every night. It's so easy to slip into that ‘I’ve got nothing to get up for tomorrow so why not watch another episode’ mentality, but that will send your circadian rhythm out of whack and make it harder to sleep. When the world around us feels out of control, the one thing you can control is your mind.We crave order, therefore having a routine takes some decision making out of our day.
2. Get moving
It can be super tempting to put off exercise, but I can’t tell you how important it is for your mental health. Fresh air helps send oxygen through your blood, and connecting with nature will improve your mood and give you better cognitive function. Do what feels right, whether it is a walk, run, yoga or high intensity. Listen to your body and what it needs. If you are feeling unmotivated, remember how good you will feel afterwards. Exercise will help you sleep better, give you more energy and release endorphins to make you happier. Add movement to your daily routine.
3. Stay connected
And I don't mean the news… contact those people who help you to fill your cup, use your walks to call someone and check on how they are doing. That small action could be the highlight of their day. It's so easy to stay in your bubble but humans are social creatures that need connection. Loneliness has a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health, so even if it's just smiling at a stranger in the park or making small talk to the checkout operator at the supermarket, connect with others.
4. Revisit your purpose
Have you ever thought about what your purpose is in life? I know mine is to serve others as a health coach. Yours might also be tied to your job, or your family, or even the planet. Why do you show up the way you do in the world everyday? And, if you are not showing up how you’d like to, why not? We have nothing but time on our hands at the moment, to reflect, so it’s the perfect opportunity to be bored. Turn off the TV, put your phone in the other room and let your mind wander. Journal whatever comes to mind, think about how you want to live your life and what changes you might need to make.
We have so much to be grateful for - living in a safe country, our health, our education, our opportunities to be our true selves in society. It’s up to you how you spin it - are you surviving, or are you thriving?