Written by: Scott Norval
With all these posts on social media about gaining a new skill/hobby/talent in lockdown it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. From all the bread baking, to 5km runs and big zoom seshes, you can feel like you are missing out. Sometimes, when I’m feeling low, even just the simplest things feel impossible. You can, quite quickly, feel down about yourself when you see everybody else ‘achieving’ all of these things on social media. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be posting your third banana bread story of the week, because I’m sure it tastes as banging as it looks. What I am saying is that it’s equally okay to not feel up to doing anything. I think, in times like these, it’s important to try and be kind to yourself and others. Just getting out of bed is an achievement! I’ve made a wee list of all the things I do to help my mental health in lockdown:
1. MAKING SURE YOU’RE GETTING ENOUGH REST.
And no I’m not talking about the hours you spent on the sofa binging Sally Rooney’s Normal People. I’m talking about making sure you’re heading to bed at a time that suits you. I found that my mental health really takes a dive if I don’t get to sleep early enough, so getting yourself into a regular sleep pattern can help massively. My biggest challenge with my sleep routine is actually getting to sleep. The blue light (from phones, laptops, ect.) really keeps me awake so I try to put my phone away so I can wind down. I listen to music/a podcast or read a book. Maybe even a nice relaxing bath does the trick sometimes!
(Podcast Suggestions: Criminal, The Guilty Feminist, Coming Out Stories)
2. MOVIN’ YOUR BODY
Okay so this one is a little bit harder. Over the past few weeks a lot of people have been discussing how they are worried about gaining weight in lockdown. First of all this is OK, there is a global pandemic going on, be kind to yourself. Second of all, on the days where my mental health is really bad I really struggle to get out of bed never mind workout or go on a run. So set yourself a wee target that’s manageable for you. Be it getting up to make yourself a tea, going for a walk, or trying some home yoga. Moving your body in a way that makes you feel good is important! Even if it’s walking yourself to your back door to sit in the fresh air, I’ve always found getting outside makes me feel better.
3. SETTING YOURSELF SMALL DAILY GOALS.
When I’m struggling everything seems like a big task that I just can’t manage. So I try to pause and break it down into smaller, more manageable parts. If it’s easy writing, it’s asking myself to write 100 words without stopping. if it’s doing housework, then I say I’m going to do 10 minutes of tidying. Eventually if you manage do these small steps a few times then before you know it you’ve done loads and even if you only manage to do it once, at least you are 1 step further ahead than before.
4. KEEPING IN TOUCH
Sometimes it can feel like you are on your own, especially amid so many big changes to our day to day lives. What I say to myself is that it’s okay to feel rubbish about it, even though it could be something relatively small, because it still affects me. But I also try to reach out to somebody, even for a chat about something else. I find this really helpful and try to phone/message a friend at least once a week. On the other hand, sometimes if I’m feeling completely overwhelmed by existing online, I put my phone down, focus on something else and then come back to it. It’s okay not to be available 24/7.
I am really bad for forgetting to eat or not eating the right kind of foods. What do I mean by the right kind of foods? There aren’t really bad or good foods per say, it’s all about finding what food works for you, be it chocolate or fruit, whatever gives you that kick of energy. When I’m struggling, I find that my eating schedule goes out of the window, so for me, it’s really important to eat three meals a day (and some snacks!). I also try and make sure I have plenty easy meals to make, so if I’m feeling really low, I can just shove a pizza in the oven and don’t have to find the energy to cook a meal from scratch. On the other hand, adding a few more veggies into my diet or trying something new is a fun way to keep myself interested in food and also pass some time relaxing and cooking.
See: Wagamama’s Katsu Curry Recipe https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/wagamama-katsu-curry-recipe-how-to-make-cooking-chef-tutorial-video-a9489466.html%3famp
These are a few things that help me and G-You would love to hear other things people have found are helping their mental health.