Feeling worried, nervous or uneasy about something, or someone during the lockdown? The current global pandemic had forced us all become somewhat cut-off from the outside. For many, especially those living alone or vulnerable, it had prevented many of us to stay at home. You are bound to be affected by a certain level of anxiety to some degree. These anxious feelings are associated with the current situation, which restricted our mobility and socialisation.
Did you know that in your body, feeling tense, a muscular, nervous twitch, trembles, boredom and restlessness are subtle signs of anxiety? In your mind, there may be an unconscious stream of thoughts or a sense of impending doom, uncertainties and exaggerations. These experiences can lead to behavioural malfunction such as rebelliousness or unpredictability, which may lead to frustration and anger, much like a bubbling cauldron.
Like it or not, we all experience some level of anxiety with any sudden changes that interrupt our normal lifestyle. How does one cope with the lockdown anxieties? Here are some helpful tips that you might find useful.
- Start meditating
There are lots of misconception about meditation of having to sit cross-legged in a Buddha posture. Albeit that it may be accurate, but it is not always necessary. Meditation is simply a way to be with your inner world. It is about being with your body, feelings, mind and thoughts. For any beginner, it is about finding a comfortable sitting posture for you. Whether this is on a comfy sofa or outside on a bench; it really doesn’t matter to start with. The main thing to note is to be somewhere quiet and safe, where you won’t be disturbed or extracted by the external environment.
You can begin as little as 10 minutes to start, gradually increasing over time. You can meditate as much or as little as you want. You can use any auditory guided meditation script, widely available online to help you get started. But, I would highly recommend you find a script that suits you and record it on your mobile device. There’s nothing more soothing than the sounds of your voice, for self-soothing and self-love.
“Practice makes perfectly imperfect.” – Roberto Assagioli, (1888-1974)
- Find an interests
Being under the lockdown can seem restrictive. Often there may be a tendency or an urge to break free and get away from the confinement by rebelling. Nobody likes to be locked up, caged or have conditioned placed upon them. We are a social being, after all. But, the greater need for safety can outweigh the impulsive desire for freedom. We can promote our sense of wellbeing by exploring areas of our interests such as hobbies, art and craft or games that help us pass the time as well as enjoying it. Art and Drawing isn’t my strength, but it does not stop me from Painting by Numbers. There are many things of interest, the art is finding yours and have fun through exploring your interests. Some of the things that I recently found enjoyable includes sewing and doing puzzle pieces. Find your interests, whether you are good at it or not is not the point. It is about finding joy – those three beautiful letters – in finding the things that interest you. You will elicit the inner child within in the discovery. You might find these lockdown ideas helpful. Have fun finding your interest!
- Establish your rituals
Rituals are an essential part of our wellbeing, and it gives us a sense of purpose. It blends our sense of self, our beliefs with the wider world. It helps ground us to practises and shared values. It can have a religious notion and ideology. But, it also helps to reduce anxieties and fears by giving us a sense of belonging in the art of performance. Some of the rituals that you might be familiar with include, the Rites of Passage, the Rites of Exchange and Communion or the Rites of Affliction, for example. Religious leaders all over the world use rituals at the heart of the community in many societies. Here, in this context, during the lockdown, I suggest finding the essential routines that help you get out of bed in the morning, build your inner resources and resilience in dealing with loneliness or isolation.
Some of my rituals include establishing a regular bedtime routine, getting enough sleep, having space or time for myself for fun and hobbies. Rituals don’t have to be complicated or strict. It just needs to work and fit in with your current lifestyle. It can be as simple as getting dressed after waking up in the morning! Go ahead and think about your daily rituals. Here are some helpful self-care rituals.
- Take up some form of exercise
Exercise is vital for health and wellbeing, mentally and physically. Walking is one of the best forms of excise which has many benefits. It is a way of keeping fit, connecting you to the outdoor and with nature, and it is therapeutic, like a walking meditation. It is widely recommended that you should walk at least 20 minutes a day, but any distance that you can manage is a benefit. Try the lockdown exercised from the NHS.
Remember that you are not alone with your anxieties during the lockdown and the uncertainties that may follow. Reach out, pick up that phone and call a friend, a family member, a work colleague, a priest, or your therapist, even if you are not alone, sometimes, it may feel like you are alone, which you are not. Because we are stronger together.