A blog from my coronavirus diary. How are you feeling this week? If you’ve been feeling low or anxious like me, I have a few simple tactics to lift your mood.
This Saturday sees a further lifting of lockdown restrictions, with pubs and restaurants being allowed to open with various conditions. Punters will have to reserve a table and provide their contact details so that they can be tracked down in the event of an outbreak. Staff will serve customers wearing masks and visors. Some restaurants have even put up plastic screens around tables, so diners can eat in their own hermetically sealed bubble. FUN TIMES!!
Restaurants are the thing I miss most, but I’ll continue doing my bit for virus containment. This Saturday evening I will be in my house doing (another) zoom pub quiz with friends.
I get it, people want to celebrate and let off all the steam that’s been building for the last few months. But I predict the pubs will be bursting with people swapping ridiculous conspiracy theories and getting close and inappropriate with each other.
Why did the government choose a Saturday to open the pubs, when it would have been safer to have gone for a quieter weekday? I blame the PR team. It’s Independence Day on 4 July. Yes, I realise it’s an American holiday, but still a great opportunity for a sunny, punny headline in the weekend newspapers. I’ll put money on it.
How’s your mood?
I’ve been feeling flat this week. This feeling comes around one week in every four. I’ve been for two walks with friends and although I’ve enjoyed their company and listened intently, I’ve had very little to contribute to the conversation.
It’s probably partly hormonal – my head feels like it’s full of cotton wool – but mostly it’s the feeling we’re going to be living like this for a long, long time.
The city of Leicester has gone back into lockdown and it’s possible other towns will follow. The furlough scheme ends soon and we’re expecting a wave of redundancies. Unemployment and poverty will soar.
The kids officially break up from school in two weeks which, for the Teen, won’t feel any different from the last three months. With no holiday, no entertainment venues open and two of us working, how are the kids going to fill their days?
And beyond that – who knows? The plan is that all children will return to school in September, but Coronavirus might have other ideas.
Where’s the relief from all this? Oh yeah, that’s why everyone’s desperate for the pubs to open!
7 ways to improve your mood
There is no point wallowing, it achieves nothing and is the start of a downward spiral. I have various strategies for lifting my mood. Getting started is the hardest part – procrastination being one of the symptoms.
Here are a few activities that work for me:
1. Jump around
Every Saturday morning I do an hour of jumping around to a live dance/exercise class on Facebook. I get sweaty and out of breath and afterwards, I feel proud of myself – that’s a great result.
2. Dress up
Get out of your tracksuit bottoms and put a dress on. Slap on a bit of makeup. It will have a positive psychological impact, I promise you.
3. Go outside
Stick an uplifting podcast or playlist in your ears and get outside. Get out of your own head for a while. Look for something specific on your walk – like shades of blue – and take photos. It’s a mindful practice which will help you focus on something other than your anxiety.
4. Treat yourself to something healthy
That might sound counterintuitive, but the guilt and ultimate energy crash we often feel after a sugary snack do not contribute to self-care. Make yourself a delicious smoothie or have a pot of granola with yoghurt and honey.
5. Cut down on the booze
I’ve cut down on sugar and wine over the last week. I allow myself one large gin and tonic while I’m making dinner. It’s a relief to wake up in the morning not feeling like something shat in my mouth.
6. Accentuate the positives
Reframe your thinking. I’ve had to cancel two holidays this year (I know, first world problems right?), but I have saved a shedload of money in the process. And that could well be a life-saver during the uncertainty of the next few months. In my daily journal, I write three things I’m grateful for. There will always be at least three things to feel positive about – a sunny day, a roof over my head, our health.
7. Cuddle someone
Hug your partner, your kids, a pet. Have a long, indulgent cuddle and feel those endorphins get to work. Hugging someone you love for 20 seconds a day has been proven to alleviate stress and beat burnout.
There are loads of other strategies for lifting your mood, but these are the simplest ones you can implement right now.
How are you feeling? You are not alone on this emotional rollercoaster. I’m a great listener if you want to share how you’re feeling with me, either in the comments below or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Much love, Vx