Let’s get straight to the point – lockdown isn’t a natural way to live.
Some of us kiwis are enjoying time with whaanau at home while not working, others are essential workers, and some of us are trying to balance work and home life. Our circumstances may look the same as others from the outside, but they can feel vastly different because we’re all unique. What’s important to remember is how we feel is not wrong, and it’s okay to not be okay.
How we feel right now, won’t last forever.
There are some simple steps we can take to look after our mental health during this lockdown. Some of these ideas may be new to you, or a reminder of things you once enjoyed. Share these with your whaanau and loved ones so they can choose whether any of them are right for them too. There’s no need to do all of them, just choose one that resonates from the lists below. Alternatively, just try to remember to do some sort of movement for your body, to connect with someone, and to complete at least one small thing each day, even if it’s just brushing your teeth!
Taking care of your mental health during lockdown:
- Make sure you connect with your whaanau, loved ones and friends.
- Set up regular zoom or skypes with people so you don’t get too isolated or feel stuck with your bubble whaanau.
- Keep up your regular exercise while staying local.
- Or you could try something new like a free online yoga or pilates class, or dancing in your living room with the whaanau to your favourite music
- Keep to your routine or create a new one.
- Get up and go to bed at the same time, eat regular healthy meals,
- Set up zooms with the whaanau and friends at times you might usually socialise with them. If you’d usually go out on a Friday night and listen to music why not do a Facebook live for your friends and play some music, or find another musician that’s doing it and watch with some friends while chatting online.
- Keep informed, but not overwhelmed, with the news.
- Do some activities that don’t include your digital devices such as exercise, game night, read a book, meditation, star gazing (try to find Venus or Mars!), painting, writing, home renovations (if you’re allowed), gardening.
- Brainstorm within your bubble other cool ideas.
- If you need help remember to reach out. When you allow others to help you, you’re giving them a gift.
- If you or someone you love need to talk free call or text 1737 to chat to a trained counsellor. It’s confidential and they are available at any time.
- Reach out to others who are more isolated than you. If you’re worried, trust your gut and get in touch. Even if just for a friendly chat. You might be surprised at how much a short yarn with a mate can lift your mood.
- If you regularly meditate then continuing with that will help, or if you have never tried it, now is a great time. Just ten minutes a day has been proven to improve mental health. Not sure how? There are many free resources online – google is your friend.
- Practice gratitude. Every day find one or more things you’re grateful for. It may be as simple as the air you breathe to start with. Write them down, say them in your head or make it a fun exercise with the whaanau around the dinner table. Laughter is a great way to lift your energy, so it doesn’t have to be serious.
- Journaling is another great exercise to clear the head of those busy worrying thoughts. Grab an old notebook or open a document on your computer and just start writing – there are no rules. You might even like to decorate your journal if you’re the creative type.
- Connect with nature by sitting on the grass, star gazing, appreciating a blue sky or cleansing rain.
- Always be kind to yourself first – you are the most important person in your life.
- Being kind to others is a lovely thing and it releases the feel good hormones in our bodies. Here’s a few acts of kindness ideas from our team:
- make a cup of tea,
- offer to do housework,
- surprise them with some flowers you picked on your local walk,
- write a little note of thanks and hide it somewhere they’ll find at a later date.
- give someone a genuine compliment.
- say thanks for something they do every day.
- a friendly wink or smile - it’s the little things that count.
For additional support check out these apps here. Remember if you or someone you love need to talk free call or text 1737 to chat to a trained counsellor. It’s confidential and they are available at any time.
We hope some of these ideas contribute to helping you through lockdown and beyond. Try them out, come up with your own ideas and share with your whaanau and friends.
If you have any other ideas of things that help your wellbeing, share them with us. We’d love to connect with you.