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How to feel more in control in a time of uncertainty... Lockdown tips

Updated: Feb 6, 2021

These are no doubt hard times with a lot of uncertainty.

The other morning it really hit me with having to close the clinics, not being able to do what we love doing day to day as practitioners, unsure of when we’d reopen. The uncertainty of the situation really stressed me out. But one thing I realized is that, although I have no control over the virus, the governments guidelines and therefore when I may be able to work again, I do still have some control over what I spend my time doing now we are closed! One of my bosses said ‘If we’re still healthy in 6 months from now, that is the main thing, everything else is a benefit’. It’s all about perspective. Everyone has their own worries but can we turn it around and see these few months of lockdown as an opportunity for growth in different areas of our lives instead?

Things I’m starting to implement that you could try too:

• Goal setting- what are all the things you want to achieve in life but haven’t? Now I always have goals and some (like certain holidays/social activities) I’ve had to avoid. But focus on what we can still achieve. Give yourself some control. For me, I’m using this as an opportunity to read about subjects to do with the care I give patients that I would have otherwise taken a lot longer to read due to time.

• Reading/listening to podcasts- for me this is books that inspire me and work on mindset/personal development/general health. But this could be any fiction book if not, used as more of an escape. Podcasts are great too- if you have an iPhone you can get loads for free on any subject you like. I’d recommend ‘Feel Better, Live More’ by Dr Ranjan Chatterjee if you want any health inspiration!

• Do something creative- try something new. Gardening while the weather is nice, drawing, playing an instrument, arts and crafts, mind mapping new business ideas, cooking new meals… whatever gets your creative juices flowing!

• De-clutter the house if that makes you feel good! Or have a digital clear out of all your old photos/apps.

• Try mindfulness- even just 5 minutes a day, or some diaphragmatic breathing techniques. There’s some great apps for this such as Headspace or Calm.

• Move- exercise for even just 10 minutes a day. This could be anything that gets your heart rate up or any online exercise videos/yoga/pilates. Put some feel good music on and jump around the lounge for a few minutes on your lunch break and see how it makes you feel!

• Try not to be on social media or watch the news too much. This may be different for you but I know for me this is a big stress when all I read about is coronavirus. I now set myself a 10 minute limit on social media and have my phone on Do not Disturb through the day. I try and catch up on the news every 2-3 days and avoid checking it unintentionally on my phone.

• Try something to help others- be the person in your neighborhood to help out an elderly neighbor. How about work on your relationship with your kids or partner and learn more about them as a person. Even just say hello to a few people on your walk! There’s always opportunities around and often it doesn’t take much to feel you’ve made somebody else’s day.

• Eat well and stay hydrated. Try and keep any snacking to fresh fruit/nuts where possible, try and get a variety of vegetables into your meals and drink lots of water. Try new vegetables or fruit if your normal ones aren’t in the supermarket.

• Sleep- 7-9 hours is optimal. Practice good sleep hygiene e.g. don’t drink caffeine past midday, avoid too much blue light from screens around an hour before bed, make sure your room is dark and cool enough. Try and go to sleep and wake up at a similar time each day.

Get as much sunlight and fresh air as possible if you can in your garden/by going for a walk daily.

• Speak on the phone or via video to a family member or friend who builds you up each day or every few days. I find a proper phone call is better than WhatsApp/text messages but you may be different.

Everyone may have good and bad days and it’s good to accept that too! I’d encourage you to at least just think about what causes your stress to rise and what keeps you feeling better. Maybe try a little journal of how you feel and what actions/thoughts may have triggered those feelings. Try implementing a few of these tips and see what works for you as an individual.

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