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Thriving in lockdown

Originally published on 'Talking on Eggshells' at the start of January, just before the 2nd full lockdown was announced in Cyprus.

 As the UK and many European countries head back into a full lockdown it's hard at times to think of anything else.  Everyone has an opinion, for or against lockdown,  schools closing or not,  vaccines good or bad and so on.  But whatever your opinion on the subject, it is what it is and like it or not we have to make the best of it. 

There was a lot said at the start of the lockdowns in March last year about using the time productively,  to get fit, learn a new skill, reorganize your home and so on.  For me at the start I tried to embrace this and loved the inspiring posts I saw online.  It kept me going in a strange and scary time and helped me focus.  Being productive gives me a sense of achievement and I've always worked on the theory that even if it doesn't cheer me up, at least I've done something useful and taken my mind of things in the process.

I do realise I was lucky and it was easier for me to do this than others in different situations.   Not being in the UK, our lockdown was strict but our cases were low so no-one really knew of anyone getting sick or being affected health wise.   Money was tight as businesses were forced to close but we were still in the off-season so we are used to many things being closed until the tourists arrive in April / May.    It was a difficult time but for us at least it was ok- ish.   

I have always tried to find inspiring and motivational posts online but there started to be a shift in the types of posts I was seeing,  and the overriding message became 'It's ok not to be ok'.    

It is, of course but I started to find it gradually pulling me down.   I'm sure this message helped many who had been overwhelmed by all the posts from the 'over achievers'  those who had lost weight, nailed home school and set up new businesses etc.    It is important to not be too hard on yourself, but I was missing the push to do more, like it wasn't ok to admit to being happy or achieving any more.  I missed the inspiration,  I didn't want a hug as much as a kick up the backside! 

I wanted to shout into the interwebs -   yes it's ok not to be ok, but it's not ok to stop pushing onwards.

Whatever that thing is that keeps you going, you've still got to push for it, even if you are only able to take the tiniest of baby steps each day. 

Thriving in lockdown

I feel people are scared to say, get up and get on with it,  and I do get that - after all I've started a whole new blog to be able to say what I like without worrying!     Mental health is a very tricky subject and to someone really suffering its not as easy as a motivational instagram post or a kick up the bum, but if that applies to you I'd really recommend stepping away from social media and talking to a professional. 

It's a weird scary time and of course you need to take care of yourself,  in whatever way is best for you.  For a very large proportion of us that means getting your big girl pants on, setting your alarm clock and shifting your arse! 

Karin from Imperfectly Happy, puts it much better (and more politely)  than I can, and I strongly recommend popping over to the Imperfectly Happy page on facebook as we head into the next lock down for a support and inspiration. 

Initially I was going to call this daily series “Surviving Lockdown” but I believe that language is powerful when it comes to mindset. While I don’t think that anyone needs to set unrealistic targets or goals which ends up placing unnecessary pressure on themselves, I do believe that having goals is critical to progressing.

Your main goal is not just to survive lockdown but to thrive in Lockdown.

Thriving doesn’t mean you have to lose 2 stone, write that novel you’ve been meaning to write or make your own sourdough bread. Thriving is whatever keeps you smiling & lit up inside. Thriving is feeling alive & strong. Thriving is taking care of yourself & keeping your well-being as a priority.

Remember that rule about putting on your oxygen mask first? You cannot help others to thrive if you are faltering.

Thrive in lockdown

Thriving in Lockdown involves 2 critical steps.

Try not to linger in bed. Set an alarm, don’t repeatedly snooze & get up! Laying in bed leads to lazing in bed. Lazing leads to overthinking & catastrophising. That leads to not wanting to get out of bed at all! So get yourself up, MAKE YOUR BED & put on some exercise clothes. By making your bed you’ve already accomplished something and your bed is more inviting to you when you return in the evening. Putting on exercise clothes takes you one step closer to moving your body which is the critical next step to Thriving in Lockdown.
Every day, find a way to move your body for at least 20-30 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you do! Just move! It’s great if you can do something outside but when weather or circumstances prevent it, just move! If you are able to get outside, you’ll find so much benefit in fresh air, sunlight & nature. There are also plenty of indoor exercise opportunities too. YouTube has a plethora of free workout videos (Yoga with Adriene, Joe Wicks’ The Body Coach, PopSugar & Boho Beautiful to name a few) but you can also purchase memberships to online classes like Les Mills & Peloton if money isn’t a concern for you. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you do it, just MOVE YOUR BODY. The boost of endorphins, the lowering of your stress hormones & the exhilaration of oxygen & elevating your heart rate is so good for your wellbeing. Try it, you’ll like it!
Finally, I encourage you to start a Gratitude Practice straightaway. It’s quite simple really & only requires either a notebook or a device in which to record. Choose a quiet time to evaluate your day. This is often best done in the evening, right before bed, but you can choose when & where. Look back on your day and find 1-3 good things about your day & record them. They don’t have to be massive achievements (they can be that too though), they just have to be things that made your day brighter or better. Aim to find 3 good things but if you’re struggling, find one. Some days are harder than others but as my favourite quote reminds us, “Not every day is good but there is good in every day.” The more you strive to look for the good in every day, the easier it gets to find them. Over time, this exercise will change the way you look at the world. Such a simple thing really but it truly will change your life.

What do you think?  Will you aim to survive, or try your best to thrive throughout lockdown and the coming year?   


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