Lockdown has defined our lives for the best part of a year, and we’ve had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ during the Covid pandemic. The world may have felt quite scary at times, as we’ve had to hide ourselves away for safety and survival. With the route out of lockdown in place – and with a vaccination programme that may mean freedom for many more of us – we may tentatively begin thinking what life could look and feel like without these curbs. What we can’t forget though, as we start to make plans, is to continue to prioritise our self-care.
Self-care is all about doing little things for yourself that help you to feel and stay well and resilient, no matter what life is throwing at you. During lockdown our self-care rituals were mostly built around structuring our days so that we had a robust routine and could carry on as normal a life as possible. And now as we edge gradually into a post-pandemic world, here we share some self-care tips to help you manage the transition away from lockdown and back into life.
Accept that new stresses may arise
You have become accustomed to staying indoors and you feel cosy and safe there. The big world out there may feel a little daunting. You may begin to feel stressed about things you’d forgotten about (like running late for a meeting, for example) or just generally feeling unsettled. Take time to check in with yourself every day to monitor your triggers and how you’ve reacted – and be gentle with yourself. Think compassion rather than criticism. You’re adjusting to a new (but old) way of life, and this may take time for you to get used to. Be patient and accepting. It can help to remember that you have no control over what goes on ‘out there’, but you do have control over how you respond.
Start connecting again
You have been deprived of those everyday human interactions – and for some people this has been more difficult than for others. Start reaching out and connecting with the friends and family who are important to you. Say and do the things you’ve been promising yourself since the pandemic began. But take it step by step.
Give yourself a moment to respond
You don’t have to say yes to everything, just because you can. You don’t need to overburden or overwhelm yourself to prove anything to anyone. Don’t put yourself under any pressure to return to a pre-pandemic schedule. Remind yourself of the promises you made during lockdown – that you would be truer to yourself and not focus on pleasing others all the time – and only say yes to the things that really matter to you.
Don’t compare and despair
In many ways, lockdown has been a leveller. We have all had to stay inside, and the number of social gatherings and events has been curtailed. You haven’t felt as though you were missing out on anything, simply because there was nothing for you to miss out on. Don’t fall into that old trap of scrolling endlessly through social media to see what everyone else is up to. Comparing yourself to others can lead to stress and despair.
Remember the body basics
Eating, sleeping and exercising are fundamental to your emotional and physical wellbeing. What new routines have you created that work for you? Don’t let them slip as you ease back into a post-pandemic world. Try to focus on what you know keeps you balanced and maintains the energy you’re going to need for yourself and others. Exercising may take up some time, but see it as an investment in yourself.
Keep it simple
When life became pared back – and all the social distractions were removed – you may have found yourself discovering simpler pleasures in life. You don’t need to swap this simpler life for chaos and overwhelm. Remember to take small moments to reflect each day and be grateful for what you have and who you are.
If you feel you could benefit from professional support during this transitional time, get in touch with our team and we will match you with a therapist. Call 020 8673 4545 or email [email protected]