The COVID-19 Delta variant has caused an extension or renewal of local lockdown procedures. As local governments make the difficult decision of keeping everyone at home for our safety, we face another challenge: staying healthy and relaxed at home.
If you are feeling upset or frustrated in response to further time in lockdown, your feelings are normal. Being separated from your friends, family, and clients is hard on each of us. Isolation can be especially hard on those who need human connection every day to feel whole. You may start to feel fatigued, even with plenty of sleep, or irritable despite the friendliness of others. This, too, is a normal part of the "cabin fever" we are all facing together.
In this ongoing lockdown challenge, take good care of your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing. Here are some of our best ways to stay calm and balanced during lockdown conditions:
1. Take Control of Your Home Space
If the walls of your house or apartment are closing in, take control. Actualise your inner feelings onto your surroundings. Shape your feelings by translating them to your environment.
Start by cleaning and organising. Clean deeply, even emptying cabinets to clean the shelves. Then redecorate. Add cheer, energy, and splashes of your personality to the decor. Hang art that makes you smile every time you see it. Change out curtains and even bedding for more welcoming visual alternatives.
Banish chaotic thoughts and negative feelings by taking control of your outward environment.
2. Connect with Others Online
If you're feeling isolated, reach out. Get in touch with contacts you know online. The IICT Facebook Group for members, for example, are brimming with other complementary therapists comiserating, sharing notes, and just hanging out to help remain calm and connected during the lockdown. Make friends, make business connections, and shake off that feeling of isolation. While you may be physically isolated in your home, you're not alone.
Don't feel like talking about work? There are tons of places online where you can join video chats, chatrooms, and forum discussions to lift your spirits and help you feel connected. We also encourage you to find virtual and online events that can help us get through mentally fit and overcome the stress of lockdown.
3. Increase Your Light Levels and Control the Lighting
Your mood and the amount of light are strongly connected. One thing many people are missing is the sunlight from daily walks, the commute, and time spend in public outdoor spaces.
Not soaking up enough sunlight can bring on the blues. This is especially true in the winter when the sunlight is weaker and shines for fewer hours in the day.
So increase your indoor light and make the most of your sunny windows. You'll soon find your thoughts warming up with your rooms. Rearrange fixtures to banish shadows. Install brighter and smarter lights. Bring in new lights to illuminate your most-used rooms and personal workspaces.
4. Find Ways to Express Your Emotions
Don't bottle up your worries, but also don't lash out at yourself or others. Instead, express your emotions through art or activities. Some people paint, some people sing it out. You can sweat it out with sports or make something in the garage workshop. Write in a journal or smash something in the yard. Find a way to channel and express your emotions without harm and you can process your stress much more effectively.
5. Turn Worry into Knowledge
Whatever you're most worried about, write down your questions in simple terms. Then research until you can write down the answers underneath each question. When it comes to viral safety, for example, you can learn a lot about what Coronavirus is, how viruses spread, and exactly what your risk levels are in any situation.
If you're worried about friends or family, reach out and ask how they're doing just to ease your fears. If you are worried about your future, start making plans so you can be more certain in the next few weeks and months.
6. Build a Healthy Sleep Routine
Take charge of your sleep routine. Good sleep can determine the quality of your entire day, every day. You can wake up refreshed or exhausted, depending on how and when you sleep.
Go to sleep at about the same time, and wake up at the same time, every day. Try to hit within an hour of your target bedtime and wake-time. Determine your approximate ideal sleep amount, and try to get that much. Improve your sleep environment with darkness, cold, and ambient swooshing sounds. Teach your brain to get sleepy with a familiar bedtime routine, and to wake up with your morning routine.
You'll sleep better, then have more energy and focus to positively affect each day.
7. Fill Your Time with Meaningful Action
Don't let your 'down time' drift away. If you're just worrying through your relaxation time, you're actually losing time. Good relaxation is time well-used. Bad relaxation is time lost. Reclaim your time by being intentional with every action.
Have a few go-to actions that work even when you're waiting with nothing else to do. Try mindful meditation - quietly becoming aware of the room and situation around you. Download a few good books to your phone, and read in your in-between time. Or start teaching yourself a new skill in those empty moments.
Instead of worrying and losing time, you'll always have something positive and rewarding to fill your time - and maybe even relax while you do it.
8. Improve Your Physical Health Every Day
Want to feel better? Treat your body right. Instead of a drastic diet or exercise change, just start trying to improve day-to-day. If you walked for 15 minutes yesterday, walk for 17 today. If you drank one glass of water yesterday, drink two glasses of water today. Just keep gradually increasing your best-of score and you'll soon feel more positive, body and mind.
9. Influence Your Inner Self-Talk
Finally, work on your self-talk. This is one essential aspect to positive thinking. When you speak to yourself inside your own mind, be positive. Some people are naturally self-complementary, many of us tend to be a little harsh on the inside. That's OK. Just practice re-shaping that voice a little each day. Say positive things to yourself and counter automatic negative thoughts that occur. Be nice to yourself and it will become easier to face life's challenges in the less-critical natural light.
10. Hone Your Craft
While you're in lockdown, you might as well study up on the latest techniques for your area of practice. From therapeutic massage to eastern medicine, there is always something more to learn, some greater skill you can gain.
If you've mastered your craft (or can't practice alone) then learn skills that will help you along the way. Add aromatherapy to your practice or take up hand-crafting meditation bracelets to sell online.
If you are restless at home and need to feel productive, challenge yourself to find tasks and learn skills that will improve your life now and once the lockdown is lifted.
The waves of lockdowns have been tough on everyone in the last year and a half, but you don't have to go it alone. Build a positive mindset, a healthy lifestyle, and reach out to connect with those around you to make it through these trying times with confident optimism. Take care and stay safe. If you are struggling, reach out to an expert for support.
- Beyond Blue (1300 224 636) - 10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus
- Headspace (1800 650 890) - How to cope with stress related to coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Lifeline (13 11 14) - COVID-19 Toolkit
- Black Dog Institute - Coronavirus anxiety resources
- Head to Health - Information, tips and resources to support mental health
- Mental Wellbeing (NZ) - Free apps, toolkits and other digital resources are available to help you look after your mental wellbeing.
IICT is a professional industry body that provides membership, insurance, resources, and a global community for complementary therapists working in 1,100+ modalities. We save time and money on your insurance, and provide professional recognition and credibility for complementary therapists who practise multiple modalities.
To learn about how IICT can help your complementary business, please contact email@example.com or phone +61 2 5629 7777 to speak with a helpful and friendly IICT team member. Our office hours are 10am - 4pm AEDT, Monday - Friday.