Locked Down Wellbeing

Staying sane in isolation

Wellbeing Week is coming up and it comes at a time when many of us are struggling. We’re locked into our homes with our lives on-screen, missing people and structures and certainty. Some of us have lost loved ones to the virus, several of us have suffered with it and even more of us face the stress of cancelled exams and an unsettled future. Our collective wellbeing could hardly be worse.

Caught in this grim reality, it’s easy to forget there are tried and tested ways to help ourselves physically and mentally, all of which are available during lockdown.

The most obvious is exercise. You don’t need to become a gym bunny or yoga junkie, especially if you haven’t been one before, because something as easy as a 10-minute walk around the block will have benefits; the important thing is to do it even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll be glad you did. Physical exercise is proven to help with anxiety, low mood and poor self-esteem. Studies show it improves cognitive function and if you aren’t sleeping well right now, you might see some benefits there too. It’s hard to motivate yourself when it’s cold and grey but build a walk into break or pause and you’ll notice the difference.

Meditation has a proven track record and is easy to get into. A few minutes of just sitting in silence and focusing on your breath can bring calm and peace. There are plenty of free guided meditations online if you prefer something more directed and you don’t need any special clothes or equipment.

If that still sounds difficult, try becoming deeply involved in something. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you can become completely engrossed in it and ‘in the moment’ which is a form of meditation in itself – baking, vacuuming, jogging, playing or listening to music, the options are endless – all these activities and many more might work for you.

Consciously recognising the positives in any situation is also a mood lifter; the glass can be fuller than it first appears. You’re probably waking up later, having an easier morning and maybe even attending class in comfortable pajamas! You might have more time in the evening to try new activities or just catch up with friends and Netflix. You’re probably happy to avoid certain people, crowded tube carriages and London’s commuters. Best of all, there’s hope on the horizon. This is an extraordinary time in all our lives and the world is working hard to make sure it never happens again; just knowing that brings some reassurance.

If you’re struggling, please remember there are many people you can turn to from Peer Supporters to the school’s counsellors and Pastoral Team, all of whom are confidential and available throughout lockdown.

Wellbeing Week reminds us to focus on our emotional, mental and physical health, both in these difficult times and when they’re behind us. Look after yourself, now and always!

Amara VI