In the UK, Thursday 5th November isn’t just bonfire night. It’s also the day we go back into lockdown to try and curb the spread of Covid-19 ahead of Christmas. A lot of people are feeling stressed, anxious, and uncertain about what the future holds.
But, we’ve been here before, and we’ll do it again. We’re tough cookies. Today I’m sharing how to stay positive in the second lockdown – I hope it helps!
Take it one day at a time
It’d be easy to get caught up in wondering what Christmas is going to look like this year, or what the early months of 2021 are going to bring. But one of the things 2020 has taught us, is that we really have no idea frigging idea what the future holds. If you’d told ‘2019 Abby’ that next year she wouldn’t be able to pop to Sainsbury’s without first checking her pockets for hand sanitiser and a face mask to make sure she avoids catching or spreading a deadly virus that’s taken over the world, she’d have thought you’d had one too many sherries. With this in mind, try to take things one day at a time. Things can change in an instant, so you’re not doing yourself any favours by trying to predict what’s to come.
Consume positive content
This is something I did well in the first lockdown, and I know it’s going to help me this time, too. Back away from the news. It’s sensationalised, it has a negative bias, and you’re only going to boost your anxiety by consuming it. If you simply must watch the news, limit how often you’re doing it, and try and find an impartial, no-nonsense outlet. I get my updates from the Simple Politics Instagram account, and I highly recommend it. If you’re feeling on edge, you might also like to avoid psychological thrillers, nail-biting snooker match re-runs, or true crime documentaries. Stick to films, TV series, podcasts and books that are upbeat, feel-good and relaxing. Side note: the timing couldn’t be better for a Christmas movie marathon. Just sayin’.
Remember that this too shall pass
I often repeat this to myself over and over again when I’m going through something stressful. As much as this feels like it’s going on forever, there will be an end to it. There will be a vaccine, and we’re much closer to ending it now than we were in March, back when the world was left blinking in shock at how quickly everything fell apart. There will come a time when we’re able to see friends and family indoors without social distancing, nip to the pub for a drink after work, and not have to worry about whether loo roll and chopped tomatoes are going to vanish from the shelves of Tesco again.
Do a good deed
If there’s one thing guaranteed to make me feel better when I’m a bit blue, it’s doing something kind. It could be sending someone a card to let them know you’re thinking of them, making a donation to your local food bank, or cooking a nice meal for your partner or housemates.
Go easy on yourself
At the start of Lockdown 1.0, I was putting way too much pressure on myself to continue working at my usual pace (rocket-speed) in my 9-5 job, finish a novel, resist chocolate chunk cookies, and do it all with a smile on my face. Whatever your situation, and even if you think you’re okay, a worldwide pandemic is bound to take it’s toll, so give yourself a permission to slow down, and be kind to yourself. Okay? That’s an order from me.
Allow yourself to feel whatever you need to feel
I’m not one of those people that thinks you should brush away feelings of stress or anxiety – far from it. I don’t think those feelings go away if you just ignore them and pretend they’re not there. Instead, allow yourself to feel however you need to feel. If you feel sad, that’s fine. If you feel okay, that’s fine too. You’re sure to have good days and bad days, so just go with it.
I’m human, and I’ve had a few wobbles this year. But for the most part, I’ve managed to stay pretty positive, and I’m sure that’s because I’ve focused on how lucky I am. Both Luke and I have managed to keep our salaries, I’m not living on my own, I’m healthy, I have a house, food, a warm bed, and I don’t have Covid (watch me miraculously catch it from somewhere the moment I hit publish!). It’s hard to be miserable when you’re focusing on all the things you’re grateful for.
Make a big old list of things you can do during lockdown
Think about the things that bring you a little joy, and get it all down on a lockdown to-do list. It could be reading, learning a language with Duolingo, knitting, baking, painting the spare room, cooking a nice dinner, learning to make a really good coffee, doing a jigsaw, jumping on a video call with a pal, writing, painting a lovely water colour, watching films, dancing – whatever it is, do it.