How I stay sane during lockdown

Ahh here we go again, we are confined to our homes in the final week of our break.

I’m having flashbacks from last year of zoom movie nights, banana bread and Netflix. There is comfort knowing that everyone else is in the same boat – and we made it through last year, so we can push forward (lockdowns are temporary)!

However, it is perfectly human to feel negative emotions during lockdown and it’s easy to be hard on yourself for not being productive. I spent the first day of lockdown sleeping in, watching Netflix and cooking easy meals – even though I wanted to exercise, get a head start on pre-lectures and paint. I must remind myself that it’s okay to not be ‘productive’ and ticking off goals… being in a lockdown takes a toll on your overall well-being. I find that I’m constantly thinking about the impact lockdown will have on my future, career goals and celebrations – there is uncertainty and its okay to feel anxious.

I find it useful to remind myself of the positives—lockdown is an opportunity to give your body proper rest, spend time on things you’ve wanted to get done inside the house and with the rain, I haven’t felt the need to want to go outside! It’s important for me to slow down and reflect, especially before the start of the new semester, so this lockdown has provided ample time to think and prepare. I also remind myself that I’m privileged to not have caught Covid or be in quarantine.

Below are my tips for staying sane during this lockdown:

1. Change out of those pyjamas

Although it’s perfectly okay to wear pyjamas all day (they are so cosy - I'm not judging)! I find that I’m more inclined to want to stay in bed and it impacts on the work I want to get done. Putting on a fresh outfit (even if its sweatpants and a hoodie) pushes me to do something more for my day rather than wanting to stay in bed or lounging on the couch. 

2. Go on a stroll

I went on a nice walk today (within 2.5 km of my house of course). Despite it being cold and rainy, I feel refreshed and more alert. It separates my day instead of feeling like I’ve been inside all day. I feel better because it’s made me feel accomplished in some way. If you have a pet, make sure they’re getting in their daily exercise too!

3. Eat good and invest in food

I’m not sure if you can relate but I've been so fixated on food - what's going to be my next meal? I may be way too excited for yogurt and granola for breakfast tomorrow but it's a fantastic distraction when I think about what to cook and what to eat next. I have a lot more time to cook well thought out meals – I would recommend planning an exciting meal!  

4. Support local businesses

Although home cooking is great, this tip encourages a cheeky delivered meal. It supports local businesses who are struggling during this time! My housemate and I are planning to have a nice, delivered meal on the weekend which has given me something exciting to look forward to! So don't feel bad for ordering a delivered meal - you're supporting the economy!

5. Plan your day out (routine is key)

It can be easy to want to rest and binge Netflix or TV all day but you may start to feel guilty for not being productive (this is the case for me). I also find that I feel more sluggish and tired the more I lay around. Therefore, I’ve found that if I can tick off small accomplishes and reserve night-time for leisure, I feel less guilty and have structure to my day. For instance, you can plan to go on a 20-minute walk, watch a lecture, read a chapter of a textbook and vacuum the house. Although these tasks may seem small (or big) for some, ensuring there are tasks and structure to your day allows for guilt free leisure time.

Lockdown is not an ideal situation for anyone so it is important to ensure you and those around you are supported. It’s important for me to remain connected with my circle via social media, and I’ve enjoyed seeing fun updates from my friends on what they’re getting up this lockdown (my friend is baking a pet friendly carrot cake for her dog today)! I’ve also started to read which has been enjoyable (p.s I’m reading the Handmaid’s Tale).
Overall, it’s important to stay connected with others.

Uni counselling is available here. and resources via the Wellbeing hub here.

Below are the phone numbers of support services (derived from SA Health), so please reach out if you need assistance:

SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
1800 632 753
8am-8pm (7 days)

Mental Health Emergency Triage Service
13 14 65
24 hours a day (7 days)

Parents Helpline
1300 364 100
24 hours a day (7 days)

Kids Helpline
1800 55 1800
24 Hours a day (7 days)

Thirrili (for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities)
1800 841 313
9am-5pm (Mon – Fri)

ASKPEACE (for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities)
8245 8110
9am-5pm (Mon—Fri)

Support for carers— Uniting Care Wesley Bowden
8245 7196
9am-5pm (Mon—Fri)

Tagged in What messes with your head, mental health, coronavirus