All over the country and the world, the COVID-19 lockdown is carefully drawing to a close. It’s not because people are no longer dying from the disease—they still are. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus pandemic is a long way from being over and continues to rise globally.
In many cases, it’s because of the sheer lobbying power of corporations forcing the hands of the world’s governments and politicians to reopen the economy. The lockdown measures are being eased despite medical scientists and epidemiologists arguing to the contrary (at least in some countries).
Whether you agree that lockdown measures should be drawn to a close or not, lockdown measures will likely be relaxed where you live in a matter of months, weeks or even days.
Do you have mixed feelings about this? I do!
You may be worried about the pandemic but are still relieved at the prospect of being able to spend more time outdoors with the people you love. To walk in the park, to hold your loved ones in your arms, to feel the firm grip of shaking hands.
I have found the quarantine measure to be stressful in my day-to-day life. I used to cook and host gatherings and dance and sing. The neighbors would come with a poem or song. All that has disappeared.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why life under lockdown is stressing us out and what we can do about it as we reach the home stretch.
Put the coffee pot down!
You’re sleeping in more and begin your groggy day with a hot cup of Joe to brighten your morning. But when you’re spending all day at home, it’s easy to fall into the habit of pattering back to the coffee pot throughout the day.
To quote Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, “Put the coffee down!”
Because all that caffeine can exacerbate your stress, tense your shoulders and make you prone to petulance and irritability. It actually makes you feel sleepier the more you drink.
Drink more water to keep your mind alert—I like mine effervescent with soda infused. Or brew a cup of organic decaf or one of the organic green or herbals teas that abound. My favorite is ginger turmeric with fresh organic lemon.
Get up and move your body—take a walk—stretch! Real energy comes from active bodies and good nutrition.
Are you berating yourself over your productivity?
We are all living through one of the greatest paradigm shifts in modern history. The fact that you’re less productive than you normally would be is inevitable and completely forgivable. These times require great fortitude and courage—and a little self-compassion.
Perhaps it’s time to learn the art of time management? Try studying these tips to stay motivated because nobody benefits when you beat yourself up over lost productivity.
Instead, celebrate your achievements and enjoy your successes. Above all, be kind to yourself.
Don’t have a safe space to be alone?
Life under lockdown can seem relentless and never-ending. What day is it? Sometimes you yearn for a place just to be alone. A place where you can shut out the world and all its obligations.
One of my strategies is to assign a room in our home that acts as a safe space. A place away, where anyone in the family can go if they need some alone time.
If you don’t have an extra room, perhaps it’s the deck or balcony—or even the kitchen. Shoo everyone away and make your favorite organic dish.
In any event, honor the need for solitary contemplation.
Has your smartphone become an appendage?
These amazing electronic smartphones are everything to us—a valuable source of information, the weather, the news. They are a veritable link to the world, the people we love and miss.
But when you pick up your device, it can actually exacerbate your stress.
The blue light it emits so radiantly can prevent a restful night of sleep.
Put steps in place to limit your screen time—shut it down, turn it off and walk away. You just might find that the world becomes a little easier to manage.
We don’t yet know what our “new normal” will look like. But it’s never too late to make life under lockdown easier on yourself.
Let’s be prepared for the coming weeks and months and (heaven forbid) the prospect of a second peak and another lockdown.
Let’s not let stress be another symptom of this virus. Eat well, stay hydrated, remain focused. We’re all going through this together—alone.