9 self-care ideas for lockdown 2.0

We are living in extraordinary times. I’ve written a list of ways I can take care of myself as we enter a second lockdown. Perhaps they might help you, too. Please share your own suggestions in the comments and take care of your gorgeous selves.

1. Do a little routine planning now

Amidst so much uncertainty, a routine can be a life raft. Also, because decision-making is very taxing on the brain, having a routine, no matter how simple, can help you put one in front of another when you’re feeling anxiety or low mood, making you feel a little more grounded and helping feed the part of the brain that seeks a sense of achievement. Something as simply as committing to making your bed and then having a five minute stretch to a favourite album could make a tangible difference to the rest of your day. You might also consider arranging one or two treats to give yourself something to look forward to – maybe booking an online course (Udemy has loads and many of them are really affordable), booking in a call with friends or getting a subscription to some nice coffee.

2. Then…get ready to throw it all away!

Some days, perhaps even weeks, you just won’t be able to summon the energy, even if you know you’d feel better if you did. When those days come, accept them and offer yourself radical forgiveness. Don’t let your inner bully use your routine as an excuse to beat yourself up! Then, when you’re ready (you’ll know when), gently challenge yourself to pick up your self-care rituals again, but not before.

3. Dance. Seriously, dance.

We know that movement of all kinds can be a very powerful medicine, helping to boost happy hormones, move energy around the body and ground us in the present moment. But I want to talk about dance in particular, because clinical psychologist Dr Janine Kreft has been promoting the benefits of shaking and moving intuitively for helping our bodies regulate trauma. Dr Kreft has been posting videos of herself moving, shaking and dancing however she feels like on Insta to normalise it as a practice. I’ve been joining her, as have hundreds of others, and I have been amazed at how effective it can be. Just try it. On the other side of feeling silly and worrying the neighbours can see you is a remarkably fast-acting self-care tool.

4. Count three things you’re grateful for. Just three!

I know, I know. We’re all fed up of being told to count our blessings. This isn’t about forcing some sort of false positivity, though. A simple exercise of naming a few things for which you’re grateful each day rewires your brain over time to see all the other ways in which you have abundance in your life. I suggest that we offer thanks each day to

5. Review your expectations of yourself

You may not be as productive, positive, helpful, resourceful, or calm as you might otherwise be. Or perhaps you’ll be in the best shape of your life and starting three new businesses. Either way, resist comparisons and offer yourself radical acceptance. It’s useful to ask yourself what your self-expectations are, because sometimes they are so unconscious to us at this point that we might not even realise that we’re putting that pressure on ourselves. So take a moment to mindfully reflect and see if you can lighten the mental load.

6. …and set boundaries with others in line with this

Get an hour to read without being hassled by kids or a partner. Be clear with work colleagues on what they can and can’t expect (and when – don’t be available on email 24/7 simply because you can). Setting boundaries is uncomfortable, but it is essential, sacred work.

7. Find a way to help, no matter how seemingly small

Lockdown is isolating. But remembering how inherently connected we all are is redemptive at a soul level. At this time, there are so many ways we can support others, especially those of us staying home to protect frontline workers and the NHS. You might join your local Mutual Aid group (try searching Facebook), send a postcard to a lonely relative, find out what your local food bank needs or donate to charities trying to get services to the most vulnerable at this time.

8. Accept that sometimes we will reach for food, a cigarette, an extra glass of wine, or trashy tv to cope

If you find yourself over-indulging, offer yourself grace. It’s ok to seek comfort in these things during a difficult time, and if you find some acceptance of this rather than fighting it, you’ll be saving yourself a lot of heartache. New seasons will come. Thank that jar of cookie dough for taking care of you right now.

9. And finally – remember it’s a bloody global pandemic

It sounds more than obvious, but when it seems that your Instagram feed, your employer or your list of 2020 goals forgets that we are living through a time of collective trauma, return to this blog post and remind yourself:

I am living through a global pandemic
I am doing the best I can

Let’s read that again.

I am living through a global pandemic
I am doing the best I can

Repeat as necessary.

Please take care of yourselves, and share your thoughts in the comments.

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