Lockdown is hard. You can’t meet up with friends and family and shops, restaurants and pubs are closed. It’s not a surprise that many people are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. But there are things you can do. We’ve pulled together our top 10 tips for keeping active and reducing loneliness:
5 Tips for Staying Active During COVID Lockdown
#1 Experience Nature
Research has shown that people who live in the countryside are less stressed than those in cities. It also shows that nature is beneficial for your cognitive function and overall mental health. Regular sunlight triggers the release of serotonin and improves sleep quality.
#2 Try an Online Exercise Class
Exercise produces endorphins, which make you happier and more energised. It can be hard to motivate yourself to exercise in lockdown, so booking tickets for an exercise class ahead of time with a friend can encourage you to stick to a routine.
#3 Start Your Day with a Stretch
Start your day slowly, with time set aside for self-care. This could be yoga, meditation or journaling. Yoga, in particular, has been shown to increase self-compassion, work-engagement and empowerment – the perfect recipe for a rewarding day!
#4 Do Something Fun!
Mix up your days and feel inspired again! If you’re artistic: stencil and paint a design onto your wall. If you like to cook: improvise in the kitchen and invent a new recipe. Turn your treasured photos or letters into a book, sign up to be in a virtual audience on a BBC show, or sign up to a course on FutureLearn or Brilliant. Trying new things and succeeding at them will bring you joy.
#5 Walk Your Dog
Spending time with pets has been shown to boost our mood. Combining this with the serotonin released due to time in sunlight and exercise will bring you out of a funk! If you don’t own a dog but fancy a companion on your walk, there are lots of website where you can borrow a dog, helping it’s owners by providing it with company and exercise – a win win situation for all!
5 Ways to Reduce Loneliness During Lockdown
#1 Call a Friend
Social support has been shown to improve our mental health yet lockdown can leave you feeling drained and as a result, just not in the mood to socialise! So even if you’re a little tired, calling a friend can energise you and leave you feeling more connected to others and able to champion your problems.
#2 Create Group Chats
Instant messaging services are not a replacement for in-person social interaction, but can provide a place to share jokes or interesting news and stay connected with others. If you are not in a group chat, why don’t you make one for your circle of friends, and ask how everyone’s doing?
#3 Join a Book Club (or set one up yourself!)
Reading creates excitement and an escape from reality. It has been used as an effective treatment for depression. Combining this with the social element of a club as well as the interesting topics discussed, this could bring more enjoyment to your life.
#4 Host a Virtual Playdate for Your Children
Play is important for children’s wellbeing. They are probably missing their friends too, so setting up a virtual playdate with some fun online games they can play together could help!
#5 Begin the Day with an Online Coffee Date
Brighten your morning with a virtual meet-up with a friend. This will make you feel more motivated and energised for the rest of the day. A standing weekly coffee date could also give you something to look forward to and a comforting sense of routine.