Another week, another lockdown means many may be feeling lockdown fatigue, so here are some ways to beat the lockdown blues.
If the last 18 months have proven anything to us, the shape of our lives remains uncertain due to the unpredictability of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ‘lockdown lever’ that is often pulled by governments to stamp out outbreaks.
At the time of writing (the middle of July 2021), around eleven million people in Australia are under lockdowns due to a major outbreak of the Delta strain in Greater Sydney which has leaked across borders.
But this is just one of a rolling maul of lockdowns Australia has lived through since the pandemic began.
Some have just rolled with the lockdowns, able to navigate them better than others due to their personal circumstances and approach to life. But many others – notably Victorians who have endured the greatest number of lockdowns and now Sydneysiders during their first major lockdown in a long time – are experiencing a heavy dose of lockdown fatigue.
Given lockdowns could be a part of our lives for some time, here are some tips to stave off the lockdown blues and stay as positive as you can.
1. Stay active
The one thing all lockdowns have included as a reason to leave home is to exercise. And given exercise triggers the release of endorphins into the bloodstream to relieve pain and induce a feeling of well-being, integrating a walk, jog, run or cycle into each day during lockdown will help fend off the blues.
In fact, given how limited your life can be during a lockdown, which frees up some of your time, it could offer the opportunity to build some cardio activity back into your life that has been missing before COVID hit because your life was too busy.
Lifehack: Even doing just 15-20 minutes a day will help! And if lockdown restrictions allow, do it with a friend or family member so it also becomes a moment to socially connect. This way, the exercise has a double whammy self-care effect!
2. Monitor or limit your media intake
While it’s crucial during the pandemic to be across updates or news about the state of play, absorbing too much information can do more damage than good. With so much fear and uncertainty a part of daily life, it can be easy to get confused and, as we have so often seen thanks to the widespread use of social media, be fed incorrect information.
So, rather than have your brain constantly absorbing information, firing up the pituitary gland and shooting cortisol through your system, keeping you on edge, be more strategic about what you consume media-wise and when. Turn off alerts on your devices so they don’t constantly pop up to entice you to check a media website or one of the socials you use. Make a pact with yourself that you will only check your usual info channels for updates a couple of times a day. And, maybe most importantly, consider the channels you get your information from and think about the sources. Try to rely less on social media because of how difficult it is to work out how authoritative or fact-based the information there is and seek out reliable sources.
Lifehack: As a rule of thumb, anything you read that grabbed your attention and has you interested or concerned should be verified by ensuring it comes from three really reliable sources like a government organisation or department, major media outlet or professional organisation connected to the issue.
3. Help others – contribute to society
While this idea may seem odd given you are potentially the one who needs help to cope during lockdown, you might be surprised at how helping others will inadvertently benefit you.
By focusing on something outside of yourself, particularly those more vulnerable than you, you will feel like you have accomplished something against the odds and maybe contributed to society at a time when so many are living on ‘struggle street’.
Lifehack: This could be as simple as offering to safely collect groceries or medication for your elderly neighbour, donating a small amount to a charity, taking time out to play a board game with your kids or feeding birds in your local park when you’re out exercising.
A final word
Most of all, be kind to yourself and embrace your emotions. You are allowed to feel overwhelmed at times, out of sorts, not as strong as you thought you were. When this happens, it’s your turn to reach out to your friends, family and work colleagues or to treat yourself to something that will cheer you up.
Remember, we are all in this together and we will also all get past these lockdown days together. Hang in there!
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