Making the most of it - our top 5 tips for getting through lockdown
It’s great that the lockdown restrictions are relaxing - well, sort of - but we are far from back to normal (or new normal or whatever phrase we are using this week). And now schools, colleges and universities have broken up for the Summer there are arguably even more challenges to face as there is no longer the distraction of academic work, zoom classrooms and distance learning.
So how can you make sure that you keep upbeat in the current climate? We asked people like you what their best advice was - and we’ve put these together in our top tips below!
1: Plan your day
It seems simple, but how many of us actually do this? The problem is that if you don’t plan your day you may find yourself constantly worrying that you should be doing something! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to fill every minute - this is unrealistic - but try to get into the habit of planning your daily activities. A little structure is a good thing and ticking off tasks through the day will give you a real sense of achievement.
2: Stay connected…
Maintaining healthy relationships is vital, especially at this time. Look, we all like to binge watch back-to-back episodes of Love Island, but you have to make time to stay in touch with real people. Social media, video calls, messaging, house party, even phone calls (remember them?) ensure you keep connected with friends and family. And why not reconnect with people you’ve not spoken with for a while? You know, those ‘friends’ on facebook... Drop them a message and see how they’re getting on - they’ll really appreciate it.
3: ...but remember to switch off
Having said the above, it is also very important to give yourself time away from social media. Research from the University of Pennsylvania (you can see it here) suggests that limiting yourself to 30 minutes of social media per day leads to significant improvement in well being and a decrease in loneliness and depression. Lead author Melissa Hunt told Science Daily “It is a little ironic that reducing your use of social media actually makes you feel less lonely.” She goes on to say “Some of the existing literature on social media suggests there’s an enormous amount of social comparison that happens. When you look at other people’s lives, particularly on Instagram, it’s easy to conclude that everyone else’s life is cooler or better than yours.”
TL;DR - put down your phone, you’ll feel better.
4: Look after your mind and body
Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these it’s easy to fall into bad habits; make time to exercise, eat healthy, balanced meals, get enough sleep and drink plenty of water - they will all help lift your mood.
And don’t forget about your psychological health too. Try mindfulness if you haven’t already; it’s a great way to refocus and ground yourself (if you’ve never heard of this, there’s a great guide here). You can also use this time to enhance your skills - there are a range of free online courses that will not only keep your brain sharp, but that will give you relevant, recognised qualifications on completion that will help you stand out. If you are a member of globalbridge, check out our online courses in MyLearnLab - there’s everything from coding, to an intro to fashion and how to write a great personal statement. Make sure you record this on your globalbridge profile too as people will want to see it!
5: If you’re feeling down, talk.
Perhaps most importantly, remember that it’s ok to not be ok. We will all struggle, feel low and experience anxiety - it’s a unique situation after all. The most important thing is to talk to someone and to not keep things bottled up. Friends and family are great, and don’t forget that you can also talk to your GP. There are loads of helplines out there too if you feel you are struggling - check out this list and these resources from the amazing NHS - and don’t be afraid to pick up that phone; you are not alone.
Thanks for reading - good luck out there! Or in there. You know what I mean...