Ok, so we’ve been thrown into lockdown with our family with no idea how long this could go on for. We’re hoping it’s just 3 weeks but no-one really knows yet and this could go on for much longer.
It starts out alright, you’re thinking ‘this is ok’. We can do all the things that we never get the time to do. We can bake, watch all those movies we never get to watch, read and play games and generally spend time together (lots of time!)
The kids think it’s great that they don’t have to go to school and you feel slightly liberated that there are suddenly no time pressures for things that need to be done.
So, the first couple of weeks pass by ok, everyone seems pretty content. Then, boredom starts to set in. How on earth can you keep the kids entertained when they can’t see their friends and do all the things that they normally do. The dance schools, sports clubs and brownies/scouts etc are all closed and after the initial 2 week ‘holiday’ they start to miss these things. Throw into the mix adults who are used to going out to work and maybe training/swimming etc afterwards and frustration, anxiety and depression can soon kick in. Cabin fever can soon become a reality and can seriously affect our mental health as we start to feel a loss of connection to other people and feel that we have to do what is morally right rather than what we desire.
I’ve painted a pretty awful picture there, but there are ways to get through this and come out the other side with our mental health intact.
First of all, it’s a good idea to discuss the isolation as a family. Listen to everyone’s fears and worries and make sure that everyone talks about how they are feeling and empathise. Explain what lockdown is to the children in age-related language and try not to take it out of context.
Discuss what strengths everyone has and give each person a role so that everyone feels their worth.
It’s a great idea to keep a diary, not only for the practical things that you do, but also for your thoughts and feelings. It helps to keep things in perspective and also helps you to produce a kind of itinerary. This is also a great idea for the kids to write down their thoughts and how they’re feeling. I’m doing a daily diary on the W Fitness Facebook page if you want to have a look.
You will need some kind of structure to your days as it’s very easy to do nothing and let the days merge into each other. Having said this, this doesn’t need to be a strict routine, but more of a guide so that you have things to do and things to look forward to.
Try to keep your routine as normal as possible – we are creatures of habit and like routine. Changing your routine drastically can have a serious effect on your mood.
Make sure that you are getting up and going to bed at your usual time and doing what you normally do, so for example, shower, get dressed and have breakfast or taking your make-up off, reading a book and winding down. It’s very important to get dressed to separate the different parts of the day.
If the school has sent home work for the kids to do, set specific times for them to sit and do this. Mix this up with life skills such as baking together or doing a dance class together. Enjoy the extra spare time that you have at the moment. Ensure that there is some downtime too such as watching tv or playing games on a tablet to break up the school work. Try not to spend too long in front of screens as the novelty of this will soon wear off.
You might decide to do some work if you’re able to work from home. Make sure you have regular breaks and actually get up and walk around.
You also need to make time for fresh air and exercise, so make sure that you are going out for your walk every day. It’s great to get out in the fresh air, it gives you a feeling of wellbeing as well as breaking up the day. It’s great to get the kids out of the house and running around a bit.
Exercise is proven to boost your mood, so make sure that you’re doing something, whether that’s a full workout or a 10-minute bitesize workout. Kids need to exercise and run around to prevent boredom and frustration so try setting up an obstacle course in the garden (set up things to jump over, run around and throw) or do things like jumping jacks, kicking a football around or shooting hoops.
We have online exercises as well as live classes that you can join in (the kids might find these fun too!) It’s especially important to exercise during lockdown, not only for your mental health but also for your physical health. If you’re spending long amounts of time at home, the chances are you will be moving a lot less than normal.
Staying in touch with family and friends is critical. Staying connected promotes good mental health. Keep connected with your own friends and family by using Facetime, Whats App or Skype to chat and make sure that they are ok. The kids can chat or play games with their friends and family too. They will be missing grandparents and other family members.
It’s important to feel as though you have achieved something whether that’s working from home, the kids completing homework or doing something in the house such as clearing out cupboards, spring cleaning or painting a room. This is the perfect opportunity to get all those jobs that get left, or are avoided, done. Tackle that huge pile of ironing, mend the clothes that need mending, declutter and tidy your wardrobe or clean out your kitchen cupboards. I know that I’ll be doing all of these at some point!
If you’re interested in our bitesize Online Home Workouts you can grab a free month if you sign up before 1st May 2020 using code ‘free month’. Join here!