As we settle into lockdown and the whole world takes a deep breath it’s crucial that we stay at home so we can tackle Covid-19 together. Suddenly our lives have been turned upside down and it can feel difficult and uncomfortable to suddenly adjust to completely new ways of living but it’s also an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, with others and to learn new practises to help stay calm. Fear not, we’ve got you.
The below are some practical ways to help support yourself and those around you during this time. Please remember that it’s OK not to be OK, all of us will be going through a different emotional journey. It’s OK to feel anxious, to feel sad and to grieve. It’s important to allow those emotions to come up rather than push them down, to practise self-care at this time and support yourself in whatever ways you can. Yogic principles teach us to practise non-attachment, non-judgment and compassion, let’s honour those teachings & look after ourselves and each other during this challenging time.
Try these practical lock down life hacks from Wellbeing Coach Liz Joy Oakley:
1. Plan your day.
If you’re working, not working or have suddenly found yourself in a position where you have a lot more time on your hands (like most of us!) then a loose schedule can help to keep you mentally and physically healthy. Spending all day in your PJ’s watching Netflix scoffing snacks can be a novelty for a few days but if it can quickly begin to have a negative effect on your wellbeing and turn into an unhealthy habit fast.
At the start of the day, sit down and make a schedule, remember this doesn’t need to be set in stone but it’s easy to feel purposeless without a plan. Try jotting down Morning/Afternoon/Evening into columns and breaking the day up into 3 parts. If you’re leaning towards the anal side when it comes to organisation, you’re feeling low or anxious, I would suggest planning the day out hourly, and if possible include the below. Remember that having a more rounded routine, even in this time of lock down, can help to keep you motivated, to feel grounded and to keep calm.
– Time to prepare healthy meals rather than snacking non stop
– Time for a creative activity or personal time like reading/drawing/meditation/taking a bath
– Time for exercise or movement such as an online class or taking a walk/run each day
– Time to connect with people you care about – checking in with friends/family/loved ones
– Time OFF social media & away from screens
– Set a time to go to bed (so you aren’t getting in the habit of staying up until 2am) and a time to wake up (so you don’t end up sleeping until midday!) it’s recommended that adults from the age of 18 – 64 need 7-9 hours sleep and 65+ need 7-8 hours*. Getting too little or too much sleep can negatively impact your mental & physical health so it’s important to make sure you are sticking to a healthy sleeping pattern, even when you don’t have to get up for work!
2. Set Boundaries.
If you live with housemates, a partner, members of your family or on your own it can help to put boundaries in place so you don’t drive yourself or each other crazy…
If you live with others I would suggest holding a house meeting to make sure you are all on the same page. It’s a good time to discuss work schedules, private time, limiting screen time (TV’s, laptops, phones & devices), use of space and house rules. It’s also an important time to look out for each other’s mental health and be aware of any changes in behaviour & mood.
If you live alone it’s also healthy to set boundaries for yourself – times you are available for calls, limiting screen time and being mindful of forming unhealthy habits.
3. Stay Active.
Try to keep active during this time, whether it’s a daily walk or run outside to get some fresh air or doing an online class at home. If you have a regular yoga practise, go to the gym or you love dancing around your bedroom then try to stick to a routine, now is also a great time to try something new! Regular physical activity can have an remarkably positive impact on your emotional health, it also improves sleep, memory, anxiety and depression, reduces stress and can help to boost your mood.
4. Understanding the difference between Rest & Restlessness.
There is a big difference between real rest and sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, scrolling Instagram whilst chatting on whatsapp…Spending time semi engaged to a number of different things can make you feel restless, bored and unsatisfied. Try to dedicate time to genuine rest by switching off your devices and giving your body and mind some time off.
5. Limit Social Media & Screen Time.
It’s amazing how technology can help to connect us during this time but it’s also important for your mental health to limit the time you spend online, in front of a screen and on social media. Try to carve out key time in the day when you spend time doing other things such as reading, meditation, creativity, cooking, journaling, games etc.
6. Take this time out to reflect.
A lot of things are changing at the moment and this time in lock down can offer us an opportunity to reflect on the things we are grateful for and love in our lives but also the things we want to change and the goals we want to work towards in the future.
Try the reflective exercise below:
– Set out some alone time for this exercise, about 45 – 60 mins
– Take a piece of paper and split it into 5 columns
– Reflect on each question, this can be a good opportunity to also practise some journaling and writing down your feeling, thoughts and dreams. Remember no one else will see this so be honest and write from the heart.
|How are you feeling at the moment?||What are you missing during this time & what are you not missing?||What would you like to do more of and how could you make this happen?||What would you like to change in your life after Lock Down?||What are your goals and dreams for the future?|
7. Practise Mindfulness.
Lock down can be the perfect time to practise Mindfulness which can help you stay calm and reduce stress and anxiety. This could be as simple as mindfully paying attention to your breath, becoming more aware of the things around you – the smells, the sights, the sounds and taking notice of the small things. Gratitude is also a powerful and simple Mindfulness exercise you can practise by reflecting upon (or jotting down a list) of all the things you’re grateful for.
Try the exercises outlined on the links below or check out the MoreYoga YouTube:
How to start a stressful day in a more mindful way with Liz Joy Oakley – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hxPqpj06ypQ
* Statistics taken from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/
See Liz’s Self Care Yoga on MoreYoga YouTube
Self Care Yoga: 1 Gentle Evening Yoga to Improve Sleep & Unwind After a Busy Day – 30 mins
MoreMind Minis: Anchoring of Acceptance
Self Care Restorative & Loving Kindness Meditation
About the writer, Liz Joy Oakley
Liz Joy Oakley is Yoga Teacher, Holistic Wellbeing Coach and Head of Vibes at MoreYoga, co-running our MoreMind Project with Stephanie Minchin, coordinating events, content and workshops focused on better supporting our communities mental and physical wellbeing. After starting her career in the fast-paced world of luxury fashion Liz came to Yoga after being diagnosed with Malignant Hypertension and Generalized Anxiety and left with the goal of helping others to lead healthier lives holistically. Liz went on to spent a year working at the Safe Childhoods Foundation in Indonesia, an NGO committed to combatting organized crimes against children, she began to understand the true benefits of Yoga, Meditation and Psychology as therapeutic tools and describes this as a time of total transformation.
Now back in London, Liz is passionate about helping people achieve a healthier, happier lifestyle through her work. She loves bringing people together, encouraging authentic connection and is happiest when facilitating retreats, workshops and events based around Yoga, Positive Psychology and Holistic Wellbeing.
Liz teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative Yoga, specialising in teaching Yoga, Mindfulness & Meditation to improve stress & anxiety. She combines this with her work as a Holistic Wellbeing Coach & is dedicated to spreading Joy through her work.