It's no wonder after everything the past year has thrown at us that many people, myself included, are finding themselves in a bit of a lockdown slump. We don't know what the future holds, we don't know if this thing really is coming to an end or if something equally as dire will follow it. It can feel that there is little positives to focus on and life just feels a bit 'meh', for want of a better word.
It is possible to break through the slump though and I've found a few things that have really helped, but also can be used for an anytime slump, as they do rear their head at times.
So here's five ways you can try to lift your spirits, get some normality back and feel a bit better, in this weird lockdown possibly ending, possibly not time we're in.
Write a list of all the good things in the past year
Cheesey, yes. Predictable, yes. Effective? Yes! It's so easy to dwell on all the crappy bits, to focus on the people you miss, the lack of funds, the non existent social life and the fact you're gripping onto your last non hole ridden Primark leggings awaiting the reopening. Focusing on all that stuff though does nothing, absolutely nothing. It's shit, it's been shit, more shit may come, but does thinking about it and putting our focus on it have any positive outcome? Absolutely not. So instead, focus on the good things, however small. You might just have held your shit together, survived home schooling, got dressed once a week. Whatever it is you've done that's positive, get it written down, you may just surprise yourself. For me, I tend to always find the negative, so writing it down really helps. I felt like I'd had such a hopeless year, failing at motherhood, and just life in general. But actually I worked my arse off and made us money to put food on the table, I sold thousands of cards on Etsy, I did my best with the kids school work, I didn't cry every day, just some, I kept the kids happy. I could add much more little things but it does all add up and make you realise that for every negative such as being stuck at home, it's far outweighed by the positive, like 'we all stayed safe at home'.
Make yourself do something you normally enjoy
From my experience with depression, I know only too well that one of the worst things I can do, but that I always do without fail is to stop doing the things that make me happy. Taking my camera out for nature pics, baking a cake, sorting the garden, writing a blog post. When my mood is low I just can't be bothered, everything seems pretty pointless, so I just fester, think about how much everything sucks and rot on the sofa. I'm sure I'm not alone in that, but I also know that forcing myself to get out and do one of these things does help, even if just for a short time. It shifts my focus, distracts my mind and gets me out of the house or thoughts for a while. So whatever it is that normally makes you smile, give it a try even if you really aren't feeling it or it all just seems a bit pointless. You never know, it may just give you a push in the right direction.
Re-establish some kind of routine
I hate the routine of school runs, weekends that are too short and having to live by someone else's plan, but I have to admit that the other extreme of no agenda is equally if not more depressing. If you haven't been forced back into the school run life then just set yourself a rough timeline for your day. Make sure you're doing all the essential self care such as washing and tooth brushing, eat at roughly the same times each day and try to get into a reasonable sleep pattern too. The sleep part is hardest for me! But when the rest of the day has a little more structure, it's far easier to stick to.
Give yourself what you need
It's easy to put yourself down and sometimes you may just need to give yourself what you need right now to feel good. It might be back to back crime docs on Netflix with an armful of snacks, it might be extra sleep, a bit of hermit time keeping yourself to yourself. Even if it feels wrong or just another way of failing, it's not. You may not be officially achieving something by binge watching your favourite series, but if it helps you relax, gives you a bit of escapism and let's you breathe freely for a while, then so be it.
Spend time in nature
This is another bunch of cheese balls, but it really is true. Getting out in nature, feeling the elements on your skin, seeing spring popping up and seeing that whatever nightmare has gone on in the world, mother nature still does her thing, can be pretty uplifting. If leaving the house fully doesn't appeal just yet, just venturing out into your own garden and enjoying the space again, standing on your balcony taking in the view or even just standing with the window open letting in some fresh air can all work wonders.
If you are feeling the slump right now I hope this helps! This week I'm going to get out with my camera, keep a gratitude list and do some crappy jobs I've been putting off for months. I've even downloaded the couch to 5k app as I just feel so unfit, but that feels a little extreme right now!