5 Ways to Safely Cope With More Lockdowns and Get in a Better Headspace

By Krista

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Last Updated: October 15, 2021

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Real talk: The world seems like a really scary place right now. 

From pandemics to natural disasters and more, it likely comes as no surprise that many of us are more anxious than ever before. And the truth is, we really don’t know if we’re going to be subject to more lockdowns or not. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the last year, it’s to expect the unexpected.

So, if you rotate between focusing on your immediate world with your friends, family, and pets versus freaking out and feeling horrified and helpless by recent events, know you aren’t alone. Most of us are right there with you. 

The globalization of news and media also hasn’t made this any easier.

We are more aware of what’s happening around the world than any other time in history. While to some extent this has benefits, it also might produce various feelings, such as overwhelm, loss of control, anxiousness, fear, anger, sadness, frustration, and more.

So, let’s talk about it.

Let’s bring these feelings out from the shadows and confront them head-on. It’s 100% okay to feel this way. And in this article, we’re going to discuss it all, as well as offer ways to help you cope.

 

First, Let’s Quit the Toxic Positivity

What is toxic positivity? Alright, this isn’t to bash positivity. We’re all for it!

But toxic positivity is the idea that you should remain positive no matter how difficult an event or situation is. 

And let’s be honest; this isn’t always useful. 

If you just lost a family member or friend, you have every right to mourn and grieve that loss. At a time of grief, no one needs to be told to be thankful for what they have or to look on the bright side.

It basically invalidates those feelings of loss, which are real (but you shouldn’t have to justify that to anyone or try to “suck it up”).

Dr. Ruth Ziemba stated,

Feel your feelings, but don’t let them become you.

In other words, it’s okay to feel. This is what being human is all about. And feelings often aren’t always that logical. But feeling them is necessary to get through turbulent and tough times.

Not doing so can make you kind of like a ticking timebomb waiting to explode, and in those situations, you might become someone who you don’t want to be.

So, mourn the life you once had. It’s okay. Recognize your feelings of fear and uncertainty. They are completely valid. It’s impossible to feel good all the time, and here’s the good news: You don’t have to put on any kind of show! In fact, you shouldn’t. 

Sometimes, we all need a moment to cry, feel angry, or talk through our feelings and why we think we’re feeling them. Find that person you trust to listen or make that therapy appointment. When all else fails, write it down. Pour your feelings onto paper. 

We’re telling you right here and right now that it’s okay to feel.

At the same time, feeling your feelings isn’t an excuse to not do anything about them, which leads us right into the next section of this article.

Related Article: Why It’s Okay to Not Be Okay Sometimes

 

5 Actions You Can Take to Cope & Feel Better

If you’re here reading this, you probably want to feel better. Pandemic fatigue is common. It’s literally been almost two years. That’s a long time, and we’re not beating around the bush on it. So, here are five things you can do to cope and feel better, even during lockdowns.

1. Create Lists & Check Them Off

This might sound silly, but it can offer you and your family a sense of purpose.

Got projects on the backburner? Make those lists and get them done! Make daily checklists for your work and your personal life. Checking them off will feel good. You’ll feel productive and accomplished, something that is really hard to obtain right now.

2. Support Others

Chances are, other people in your circle are feeling similar, if not worse.

It’s time to lean on each other and support each other, even if at times you can’t physically be there. Grab that phone and call up your family and friends. Or put together a gift basket or send them a simple note in the mail.

It’s always uplifting to find out someone is thinking of you, and now is the time!

3. Refine Your Sleep, Diet, and Exercise Routines

Have you been on yourself to get to bed by 10 pm but those after-work drinks always go too late? Or have you been unable to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine because of social commitments? 

Again, now is the time. Start going to bed before 10 pm. Plan your healthy meals and meal prep ahead of your busy work week. Schedule those at-home workouts and get them done. Nail down that routine. Then, when your life gets flooded with other commitments, you still have the basics down-pat for yourself.

Related Article: Getting Back in Shape: How to Always Stay Super Motivated

4. Limit Your Screen Time

Something that isn’t helping our mental health? Technology!

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go off-grid by any means. But you might want to consider creating rules around screen time. Have hours where you don’t use the T.V., your computer, or your phone.

Instead, maybe read a book about how to finally start that side gig or how to forgive that ex from years ago so you can start living the life you want.

5. Try Deep Breathing Techniques

When the feelings get too much, tune into your breath. It sounds so simple, and yes, it might not sound like something you want to do. But try it. 

Take a deep inhale, counting to four, and fill your belly. Pause for four, then exhale for four, completely emptying the air from your lungs. Repeat this for 10-20 breaths. Afterward, you should feel a lot calmer. If you need to, repeat it for 3-5 rounds. 

 

Remember, It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay.

Go easy on yourself. A little self-compassion goes a long way. And know that the past year has been traumatizing in so many ways. It’s real. These feelings are real. Feel them. Don’t necessarily avoid it all.

And then, take action. This doesn’t mean anything big. It really might just mean focusing on your breathing, as described above.

Or it might really mean doing nothing at all for a few days while you process (this is okay too!). When you’re ready, imagine the advice you would give to your best friend (toxic positivity aside) and give that to yourself. Then, take that advice and run with it. 

Read Next: 4 Tips to Help You Change the Way You See Conflicts

Photo by Skylar Kang from Pexels

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