1. Keep to routine. Though your environment may have changed, working from home, job loss, more responsibilities, or loneliness, it's important to keep a routine as close to what you had pre-COVID lockdown. Include healthy meals, exercise, and time to yourself.
2. Look after your health
Prevention is the best medicine, and the best way to avoid illness (and fight it off), is to maintain strong immunity and keep fit. Eat a variety of colourful fresh fruit and vegetables, exercise at least 30 min daily, talk to family and friends, practise stress-reducing activities (deep-breathing, mindfulness, listening to music), limit alcohol intake, and get a solid night of sleep.
3. Start a daily gratitude calendar. We hear so much negativity on the news and in everyday conversations, that our brains are rewiring to focus on negatives! Keep a gratitude diary – whether it's via posting photos on social media or sticking positive messages on post-its around your desk, be sure to read these out aloud and appreciate all the wonderful things you have.
4. Get some vitamin D. Even though we are all socially distancing, it's essential to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors. Try gardening or read a novel in your backyard, walk the dog along the beach, or take a leisurely walk around your neighbourhood, remembering to wear a mask. Vitamin D has many positive health effects, including boosting immunity, and you only need 15-30min in the sun to get the recommended daily dose.
5. Schedule in some device-free time We are spending so much of our time online – from Zoom meetings with friends and colleagues and online learning to virtual workouts and live-stream entertainment. Make it a point to have several hours a day offline. Go back to basics like reading a book, art and crafts, listening to music, cooking new recipes, gardening, and anything else that doesn't need an internet connection or a computer!
6. Talk to family and friends It's OK to feel overwhelmed, depressed, anxious, lonely in these uncertain times. No-one has to handle it on their own. Talk about your fears and concerns people you trust, and if you don't have anyone to speak to, there are people who can help. In Australia, some numbers are: Lifeline 13 11 14, Beyond Blue 1300 224 636, MensLine Australia 1300 789 978, Headspace 1800 650 890. Call for confidential and free support. Or make an appointment to speak to your clinician.
7. Write a "to do" list Having all this time in isolation does not necessarily mean free time. In fact, for many, responsibilities may have increased with home-schooling and or carer duties. Writing a daily do list of achievable tasks (cook dinner, read a novel, call Aunty Joan) that we can cross off, gives us a feeling of accomplishment which bolsters our mood. For larger tasks (clean out the shed, make homemade jam with excess fruits) you could reward yourself with a takeaway coffee or meal.
8. Recreate at home
Ok, so we can't go on a holiday, to the gym, or a beauty salon, but we can recreate the atmosphere at home: holiday cocktails and ocean tunes, online or Zoom workouts, DIY mani/pedi, home-cooked culinary delights from around the world, and more!
9. Make time for yourself Take time to wind down and do something special for yourself, daily. Whether that's a quiet cup of tea on your own, playing board games with family members, or taking a nap, take 30 minutes of the day to take care of yourself.
10. Reduce your stress Whether it's laughter yoga, meditation, physical activity, or gardening, engaging in stress-reducing activities daily, will help to keep your body and mind healthy.
Do you have any other tips for surviving lockdown? Please share them in the comments below.