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Andrew McDonald: Beat the lockdown blues

This lockdown seems to be the most difficult so far for many people. Restriction fatigue has certainly set in. It’s also perhaps the worst time of year to be in this situation.

The first period of Covid-enforced limitations on meeting and other daily activities came during spring and summer. The weather was warm and even if we couldn’t go very far, we could at least enjoy our gardens.

This was especially the case in counties like Laois where most of the population has at least some space around their homes to get a taste of freedom from the four walls of our houses.

The second period of heightened regulations came during late autumn, early winter. The weather wasn’t much different to now.

However, there was a factor which helped to lift moods. Christmas was coming and there was something to look forward to even if spending time with family and friends was certain to be limited.

Now, although March and the promise of brighter, longer days with flora and fauna starting to be reborn is around the corner it’s easy to get lost in a cold February gloom. So what can we do until going back outside becomes more appealing?

Getting a good night’s sleep should be high on the list of priorities! With one day seeming to merge into another in our currently constricted lives, it is easy to neglect this.

Myself, I’ve found my typical midnight bedtime has gotten closer to 2am. This leads to either sleeping poorly, not enough or waking up late in the day and feeling lethargic.

Sleep is crucial to our well-being and feeds directly into a daily routine which should also be maintained as much as possible to give our waking period an aim and focus.

Practising gratefulness and mindfulness also helps to lift our mood. It might not always seem easy to do right now but focusing on the positive rather than constantly ruminating about the negative is vital to keeping ourselves feeling good.

Meditation is a great way to take time out and doing something as simple as following our breath for a few minutes can bring great relaxation. If you would like some free guided meditations, there is a link at the end of this article.

Staying connected is perhaps most important of all. Although we can’t always see loved ones in person at the moment, technology is freely available so we can meet virtually.

Remember this is a win-win! You’re sure to feel better after spending twenty minutes speaking to a relation or friend and so is the person you contacted!

There are many more things we can do to improve our moods even during these difficult times. We will look at others in the forthcoming weeks but until then, try one or two of those mentioned here.

One final thing, it requires fewer muscles to smile than to look gloomy. Try it. Even this simple action can have a surprisingly positive influence on how we feel!

For free guided meditations click here.

SEE ALSO – Andrew McDonald: (New Year) February Resolutions