6 Tips to Stay Calm and Centered During Lockdown
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on almost every aspect of our lives, including mental health and well-being. As we are sent indoors for a second wave of lockdown, it’s more important than ever that you keep your mental health top of mind.
Here are 6 tips that could help you survive spiraling negative thoughts about this uncertain time and stay calm during the lockdown.
Practice mindfulness meditation
Mindfulness has become extremely popular in recent years. So, what is mindfulness? Rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, mindfulness switches your focus to what’s happening right NOW, enabling you to be fully engaged in the present moment.
Meditations that cultivate mindfulness have long been used to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and other negative emotions. Some of these practices bring you into the present by focusing your attention on a single repetitive action, such as your breathing or a mantra.
Using mindfulness to stay focused on the present might seem straightforward, but it takes practice to reap all the benefits. When you first start practicing, you’ll likely find that your head is filled with thoughts and worries. But each time you draw your focus back to the present, you’re strengthening a new mental habit that can help you break free of fretting about the past or stressing about the future, which can provide a welcome break from the cycle of negative thinking, as well as relieve tension and anxiety.
If you’re new to mindfulness meditation, you can learn more about different mindfulness meditation techniques here.
Limit your consumption of news
Social media is probably one of the greatest inventions in the 21st century, but at times like this, it is best to limit your consumption of news, especially news on social media. Yes, you want to stay informed, but overconsuming sensationalistic news or unreliable social media coverage will only fuel your negativity and fear. Limit how often you check news or social media and confine yourself to reputable sources.
Since most of us work from home these days, organize a retreat at your cottage or a staycation at home and unplug yourself from social media for a couple of days to feel a shift in your mental health.
Engage in a hobby
Staying home means we have more time for ourselves. Instead of feeling bored, try to get back to the things you once loved but have been forgotten like painting, playing an instrument, etc. or potentially find a new hobby that brings you joy and distracts yourself from negative thoughts.
There are plenty of free online courses you can take to learn a new skill or start a new hobby. While you can’t force yourself to have fun, you can push yourself to do things that will boost your mood throughout the day.
Check out this list of 21 hobbies you can start at home.
Have a self-care routine
Take time to practice self-care and self-love during quarantine will help lift your mood and improve your outlook.
Cook yourself a delicious meal, enjoy a nice bath or go for a long walk under the snow are just some examples.
Try to maintain a routine as neglecting your personal care only feeds into your depression. You can use reminders to keep yourself on track. When you’re depressed, it’s easy to forget the small steps that can help bring you joy and positivity. Keep reminders of the tips that work for you on your phone or on sticky notes around your home.
When you’re worried, it can seem that everything in life is bleak and hopeless. But even in the darkest days, it’s usually possible to find one thing you can be grateful about—a roof above your head, a meal on your table, someone you can call “friend”, for example. Acknowledging your gratitude can provide a respite from negative thinking and really boost your mood.
In this difficult time, if you can, it’s also a good idea to donate or volunteer to give back to your community as a lot of people are struggling and having a hard time during the lockdown. Being a part of a community and doing good deeds will also make you feel happier and more fulfilled.
Reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I can finally focus on myself and what is important to me”.
As dismal as the world may feel right now, think of the lockdown as an opportunity to refocus your attention from the external to the internal. Doing one productive thing per day can lead to a more positive attitude. Approaching this time with a mindset of feeling trapped or stuck will only stress you out more. This is your chance to slow down and focus on yourself.
Remember that your thoughts create your reality and you have the power to control your thoughts. By shifting your thoughts from negative to positive using affirmations, you will be able to focus on the reality that you want to manifest and feel more confident about the future.
It’s not always easy to distract ourselves from negative thoughts, and finding the energy and motivation to take the first step can be tough. But you have more control over your mood than you may realize.
It’s true that these are painful and worrying times, but at the same time, depression and worries can make things seem even worse than they really are. When you’re stressed, everything is filtered through a lens of negativity. By simply recognizing that, you can start to change your focus and take the first step to feeling more optimistic.