If there is one thing we can all agree on right now, it’s that 2020 has been a very difficult year so far. Lots of us have been staying at home for extended periods, isolating from loved ones, working from home, juggling home school… all while the news and media outlets report constantly on the everyday horrors of the biggest global pandemic we’ve ever faced. Stress and anxiety levels have been through the roof as we deal with potential job losses, failing businesses and the realities of living amidst panic, confusion and illness. So as lockdown measures finally begin to ease, it’s more important than ever to take positive steps towards protecting our own health and wellbeing as much as we can. The last few months may have taken their toll on us physically and emotionally, but ultimately we are in charge of how we move forward through the summer. This week we’re sharing a few tips on summer health & wellbeing and getting back on track after lockdown- hopefully it will be helpful some of you right now.
Accept the new normal
Lots has changed. The rules are different now in many situations and while this may be scary at first, there’s little to be gained in fighting against the new normal. Acceptance is key if we’re to allow our minds to re-balance with our bodies. We don’t have to like the new measures in place, but we do need to accept that, for now, they’re necessary for us to be able to resume our everyday lives with some semblance of normal.
Accepting the new normal is especially crucial if you have young children, because the last thing you want to do it to instil a sense of fear around going out of the house and interacting with others. Explain that this is now the way that we do things for a little while, just so that we can all stay safe and well. Meditation can help enormously to quieten fears; start each morning with a few minutes of deep breathing and quiet time so that you can mentally prepare yourself. Tell yourself that the new normal is nothing to be scared of, and that acceptance means that you can find some peace in a world of confusion and fear.
Maintain new good habits
During the height of lockdown, UK residents were permitted one visit outdoors for exercise daily. With this one brief glimpse of the outside world, we embraced that hour and we made the most of every last minute. Sales of bicycles went through the roof, daily walks became second nature to us all- and while we couldn’t access gyms or swimming pools lots of us started to workout at home too. Joe Wicks hosted PE sessions every morning. People took up running, hiking, yoga and dance in their back gardens, We became active. These are the new good habits that we now need to maintain, to embrace fully and to incorporate into our everyday lives, even with lockdown easing.
These are the good habits that we used to help us during a stressful and uncertain time- why would we just abandon them now? Maybe you started baking bread. Doesn’t it still taste so much nicer than any loaf you can find packaged in plastic on the supermarket shelves? Maybe you took twenty minutes to yourself to apply a face mask once a week and sit back to reflect on the day’s events with a clear mind and a sense of calm? Why would you suddenly discard that habit to return to your former life of busyness and self-neglect?
Maintain the good habits you picked up during lockdown, and cement them into your life now. Every little thing that you do to improve your physical and emotional well being is always going to be a positive step towards improving your health and wellbeing.
Social interactions with friends and family
For so long we were told to limit social interactions, stay two metres apart and restrict visits to loved ones. For some, the prospect of tentative reunions is frightening and its a little strange not being able to hug the people we love. The important thing to remember is that human beings do need social interactions. We thrive in the company of the special people in our lives, and theses reunions- whether awkward or not- are essential for emotional wellbeing. Some of us may have been self isolating alone, and a smiling face through a widow may have been the only physical contact they’ve had for weeks. Don’t underestimate the power of being around people again- and make the most of every minute in the company of loved ones.
Be kind to yourself
It’s been a long few months. Accepting the new normal, meeting up with friends, returning to work… it can all be a little daunting for some. Be kind to yourself. Take small steps each day to ease out of lockdown at your own pace. Take time to reflect on how you’re feeling and make sure you spend time each day doing something nice for yourself. A long soak in the tub, a pamper session, or just half an hour to read a book. Take care of you body and mind and allow time for them to reconnect and re-balance.