As we step into February, a fresh month usually brings the opportunity for new goals and ambitions, but there’s no denying that this third lockdown seems so much harder than the previous ones. When you factor in the winter weather, which has a huge impact on our mood, it’s incredibly difficult to stay motivated. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people in the UK suffering with depression has doubled during the pandemic. With many feeling lonely, anxious and sleeping badly, this lockdown is beginning to take its toll.
Today I am sharing ways to take care of yourself that will have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.
This takes practise, especially if you have families to consider, but it is so important to take time for yourself. Try writing down a list of realistic goals that you can achieve throughout the day. It can be anything from doing the laundry or filing paperwork to simply reading 10 pages of your favourite book This focusses your mind, gives you something to work towards during the day, and boots your mood with a sense of accomplishment as you tick them off.
Similarly, just before bed reflect on the things you are grateful for, summarise the day and remind yourself of the things that went well. Focussing on something positive just before bedtime is a great way to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Take pride in your appearance
Even though we’re not going into the office as much or seeing anyone socially outside our homes, it’s still so important to get dressed and take pride in our appearance. Changing out of your pyjamas and applying a little makeup will give such a confidence boost – even if it’s only you at home. Enclothed cognition suggests that you are more likely to feel productive and motivated to tackle the day ahead. I strongly believe that what we wear creates a confident mind set and allows us to start our day with positive energy.
With this cold and damp grey weather, it’s difficult to be motivated into exercise, but the benefits of even just 30 minutes each day is worth the effort. Exercise releases endorphins, a natural chemical that makes us feel good. Even if you can only manage quick walk at lunch time, your mind and body will thank you for it. Exercise also reduces mental fatigue, improves our sleep and stimulates better circulation – allowing the blood and immune cells that are needed for regeneration and repair to circulate more freely.
Find an activity that you enjoy and will be sustainable to fit into your daily routine.
Stick to a Routine
Even though we don’t have the daily commute or school run, set your alarm and get up each day at your usual time. Setting up a specific area where you can work, rather than in bed or on the sofa, will have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. We want our bed to be a cue for sleep but working in bed weakens this association. This has a negative impact on the quality of sleep we need, which in turn affects work productivity, energy levels and our overall quality of life, as well as our posture.