One thing is sure we are all going through different emotions and experiences during these unusual times. Some days we may be loving it and other days we may be hating it, hence the Marmite reference. However, helping at my local Grocer's I realise I have few more allies on the Marmite front then previously realised!
It is absolutely normal to have up and down days from feeling like you are coping to days where you feel numb, disconnected and depressed. We are trying to cope with unfolding events with no clear visibility of when we may resume normality or a different kind of normal. It is hard for us to plan ahead and have things to look forward to. The virtual family quizzes that were a novelty earlier in lockdown may even be becoming a little routine.
There are so many self care activities we can engage in but do we want to?
- Social connection online with friends (chatting, quizzing, bake offs)
- Getting outside for a walk or spending time in the garden (I have even resorted to ironing outside and listening to the birds rather than watching tv)
- Daily exercise
- Online study
- Creative crafts
- Volunteering/helping others
No one size fits all
However that said, there is no 'one size fits all' approach when it comes to self care activities. Logically, most of us know that getting exercise can release some positive endorphins and leave us with a 'feel good factor' even though it might not be what you are thinking at the time as you become sweaty and red faced. Getting outdoors is another natural remedy, smelling the fresh air, feeling the wind and sun on our face. There is something freeing about being outside, particular when we may be feeling disempowered or limited during this lockdown.
Lockdown Hell or Heaven?
I have noticed that we are all in different situations, some people have lots of free time to the point of boredom, others are juggling work whilst parenting/home schooling which is a hugely tricky combination and can feel chaotic. Some are struggling with reduced incomes, loss business and putting food on the table. So for some, the days feel very compressed, stressful and exhausting whilst for others they feel relaxed, long and perhaps homes are being organised in ways they have never been organised before. One famly member of mine had resorted to sorting out their screw jar in the shed! Whereas some of us may actually be thinking 'Do I even have a screw jar, and if so, where the hell is it?' Some of us may be missing a physical connection with others as we are spending time alone whilst others are enjoying quality time with family members. However even the best of relationships will be tested under these circumstances and our moods are certainly not going to be in sync.
Listen to your nervous system
The main thing I would say about self care activities, those that make us feel good, are not always the most obvious. The important thing is listening to what your nervous system says and is ready to do. Try to get a felt sense of what you fancy doing, without putting too much pressure on yourself. Lockdown can sometimes feel like we are treading water, that time has slowed down, our motivation levels may be hugely challenged. Be kind to yourself, do what feels manageable and enjoyable. You may just get a sense of satisfaction from doing one small thing and that is ok. Keep talking to your friends even on a bad day. Also you are never too old to cheer yourself up with a funky lunch (see the link for inspiration)
There are lots of companies too that can make a favourite photo into a jigsaw which may be a great surprise gift for a family member trying to occupy themselves or for you to enjoy.
And if these ideas are far beyond what feels manageable at the moment because of work pressures at home, be kind to yourself and give yourself regular breaks from that screen! (I will have to practice what I preach there!).