We’re almost two weeks into our second lockdown in Wales and as England are going into their second lockdown, I thought I’d share some tips that have really helped me this time.
I’m sure we’ve all seen lots of tips by now suggesting we go for a daily walk, FaceTime our friends, bake a banana bread and ‘find joy in the little things’. Honestly, if I see one more person suggest I find joy in my morning cuppa then I might scream. I actually do find joy in my morning cuppa but that’s not going to save me from a spiral of anxiety during lockdown!
So here’s a bit about lockdown 2.0 in Wales and some things that have helped me through.
Does a second lockdown feel different?
A second lockdown definitely felt very different. In Wales we’d been told that our lockdown would last 16 days and it definitely wouldn’t be extended (still keeping my fingers crossed that is true!) so knowing there was a definite end date made it much easier.
I’ve found that this end date helped people to just try and enjoy lockdown and embrace it. There’s been a comfort in the feeling of hibernation as winter sets in, getting cosy at home, slowing down and closing the doors on the world. I wouldn’t want to do this for long, but for just a couple of weeks it’s actually really nice.
The first lockdown was difficult because there was so much uncertainty attached to it. We didn’t know how long it would go on for and I think most of us thought it would just be a couple of weeks. That constant feeling of, ‘oh, it’ll be over soon!’ meant that no one actually relaxed into it and enjoyed it.
There was also the very real fear during the first lockdown that we would all become incredibly ill and would lose a lot of our loved ones. I know that fear is still there for many people but it is now much more apparent that it’s the elderly and people with existing health conditions that we really need to protect.
From my experience, people don’t seem as scared during this lockdown. That’s not to say that people aren’t being cautious but there isn’t as much fear in the air. Fear isn’t a nice trait in people and often leads people to be selfish and bulk buying items they don’t need!
I’m not pretending everyday during lockdown 2.0 has been perfect but it’s definitely been much better than the first lockdown. It’s helped that the kids were back in school this week so there hasn’t been the added pressure of homeschooling them and trying to keep them entertained whilst also staying socially distant from others. The first week of lockdown was half term in Wales so the kids were at home for one week, but one week felt like a doddle in comparison to what we had earlier in the year! And because kids are in school it means parents are able to work so there’s the added normalcy that we missed the first time around!
Here are some of my tips to help get through the second lockdown
I live in a house full of early birds. I’m not an early bird myself but Sam and the boys are generally all up and raring to go at 6.30am. This means we’re usually all dressed and ready to start the day by 7.30am! But noooooooo, oh no! I had to put a stop to this during lockdown and encourage everyone to slow down and chill for the morning.
The day feels so long when you begin so early! The kids are ready for their lunch by 11am and by midday I feel completely exhausted and drained of all my ideas to keep them busy – and we still have 7 hours left before I can put them to bed! There was one day when I thought it was lunchtime but then realised it was only 9am! That was probably the longest day of my life!
Embrace the slow mornings, watch a film after breakfast, make a den in their bedrooms, read a book in bed until 9am, have a bath, make a big breakfast with pancakes and bacon and eggs and banana bread!
Basically, do everything you can to drag out the morning activities for as long as possible – otherwise the whole day is going to drag!
Set yourself a lockdown challenge
If you like to feel like you’re achieving things then I highly recommend setting yourself a lockdown challenge. It’ll make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and you’ll stay motivated because you have an end date for when you need to achieve your goal.
Some challenge ideas:
- Run 10km by the end of lockdown
- Read 5 books
- Redecorate that room you’ve been meaning to do
- Handcraft all your Christmas gifts (flavoured gin, homemade soap, photo books)
- Handcraft your Christmas decorations (use Pinterest for inspo)
- Knit a scarf
- Write all your Christmas cards
- Organise all your photos, hard drives and digital files
- Take a photo a day
- Join an Instagram challenge
- Make a video a day
- Have a major sort out and list everything online that you want to sell
- Start that side hustle business you’ve been dreaming about for years
Don’t let lockdown feel like a waste of one month at home. Use it as a chance to do something new or get yourself organised for Christmas!
^My lockdown challenge was to walk 10,000 steps a day
Ask yourself what felt the hardest with the first lockdown?
This will be something different for everyone but really sit and think about what you found hard.
For me, it was the anxiety of having no work and the constant demands from three children – I felt like a house elf just running around after them all day, fetching snacks, cooking meals, tidying up, washing the dishes.
So I really thought about how I could deal with these things. For the kids, I started preparing all their food for the day in the morning. I made them packed lunches, snack boxes and prepped their dinner and filled the fridge with fruit that they could help themselves to throughout the day. This stopped them constantly badgering me for food. I also found that if we started the day with a tidy house then they’d be more likely to tidy up after each game/activity. So we started lockdown with a really tidy house (which, admittedly, I did all the tidying!) but it definitely helped the kids to keep it tidy when everything was neat and organised.
^I don’t understand how such little people eat so much!
Do something with your hands
OK, minds out of the gutter please people (just me?)
I think a lot of us have almost lost the ability to do things with our hands. Things like crafting, baking, gardening, play an instrument, play cards, build something, renovate something, decorate, upcycle, learn to knit or sew. Find something physical that keeps both your mind and your body busy. It’s about finding an activity where you find ‘flow’ – the kind of thing where you get so into it that you completely lose track of time. If you want to know more about this then I highly recommend the book Ikigai. It’s a beautiful book and talks about how finding your flow can lead to a longer life.
Let people know how you’re feeling
This is something I’m not particularly good at but life is better when I do – especially if I’m in a bad mood or had a tough day. Tell people about it and talk about it and suddenly it doesn’t feel so bad. Just knowing that other people sometimes feel the same is such a massive reassurance. It’s not that anyone can fix your feelings but it’s a comfort to know you’re not alone.
It’s also a good idea to share your bad moods if you live with other people. If I’ve had a bad day then I’ll let Sam know before he comes home from work so he knows I’ll want an hour to myself and he’ll need to take over the childcare duties.
If you have any more tips of suggestions or an insight into lockdown life where you’re living, please do let us know in the comments below!