Let's be honest, we're all getting a bit sick of being told what we can't do. While it's clearly vital that we continue to follow the latest national guidance and adhere to the regulations laid out to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 – life in lockdown is tough enough without having to contend with a list of our favourite things we're no longer able to enjoy.
But what about if we turn that on its head and come up with a list of new things that we CAN do instead?
Staying positive is a sure-fire way of looking after your mental health so using lockdown to embrace new challenges and establish new habits could do wonders for your wellbeing.
Here's our list of five things to try during lockdown.
1) Start your day right
Getting your day off to a good start can make a big difference. Try to establish a new routine that means you can get cracking and approach the rest of the day with a positive mindset. It could be something super-healthy such as going for a run or a bike ride or it could just be something simple like making sure your bed is made or enjoying a nice breakfast. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something you can incorporate into your daily routine and stick to it. You'll feel better straight away.
2) Phone a friend
You're not alone. It's so easy to become isolated during lockdown but staying at home doesn't have to mean you can't see other people or hear from your friends. We are all at the end of a phone and modern technology means it's easier than ever to stay in touch. Use Facetime or Zoom to have a face-to-face chat with your nearest and dearest, pick up the phone and speak to grandparents and organise a group chat with your mates to make sure nobody is missing out. Everyone will appreciate it and you'll all feel better as a result.
3) Do something different
Have you been thinking of starting a new project or learning a skill but not had the chance to make a start? Now's the time. Do it. Do it now! We've all got a bit more time on our hands so let's put it to good use and add another string to our bow. It could be learning how to DJ or take amazing pictures on your iPhone, it could be tackling the Couch to 5K challenge or it could be adding to your kitchen repertoire by cooking a new recipe each week. Whatever you want to do, now's the time to do it.
4) Look after number one
There's a lot of talk, and rightly so, about us all doing more in our community, dropping in on neighbours, caring for the vulnerable and so on but we also need to make sure we don't neglect ourselves. Looking after our own needs is so important, so take the time to make sure you are in the best possible state of mind to then help others. Self-care is a hot topic right now so make sure you do whatever it takes to ensure you are good to go. Destress by reading a book in the bath, light a candle to stay calm or take time out and enjoy a bit of Netflix. Whatever you do, enjoy it and stay positive. This will pass.
5) Celebrate your success
The last year has probably been the toughest of your life. If any of us had been told what we'd have had to contend with we'd have run a mile but you know what, we're still here to tell the tale and that in itself is reason enough to smile. If you've spent the last 10 months or so studying at home, barely seeing your friends or family and unable to enjoy a night out then take a moment to realise the sacrifices you've made and the strides you've taken as a person. The lessons all of us have learnt from this experience will stand us in good stead for years to come and will make us that bit more grateful for any opportunities that come our way in the future. Hang tight, we're almost there.
So there you go. Five things all of us can do to make like in lockdown that bit more bearable. We're not out of the woods just yet but there is a chink of light at the end of the tunnel. Let's stay positive and get ready for the day when we can all celebrate together. It's going to be one hell of a party!