COPING WITH LOCKDOWN – Dr Natalie Shavit, Clinical Psychologist

You’ve probably heard it be said on so many occasions that these are ‘unprecedented’ times, and that we have to adjust to the ‘new normal’.

Whatever ‘normal’ means to you, there are some things that can help us manage life in lockdown, to limit the negative impact on our mental health.

1. BE IN CHARGE OF YOUR TIME

Most importantly, having structure and routine gives us a sense of control. This means trying to go to bed at the same time each night, waking up at the same time, and engaging in the usual self-care you would ordinarily do like showering and getting ready for the day.

“To do” lists can also provide a sense of productivity and achievement when done, which in turn increases motivation.

2. Make sure you clock off

If working from home, have set times wherever possible to demarcate work and non-work time, trying to put work out of sight when you knock off.

3. Stay active

Exercising or being active regularly is a great way to focus on our physical and psychological selves, so incorporating this into our regimens is critical.

4. Stay in touch

Staying connected with family and friends, whether out for a walk, a soon to be picnic (for those fully vaccinated) or via video/phone, also helps reduce the sense of isolation.

5. Avoid bad habits

Not relying on alcohol or other drugs is essential, because these add rather than take away problems in the long term.

6. FINALLY, BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Self-compassion is vital, trying not to be too hard on ourselves given the

If you’re trying to put all these strategies into place and still feel impacted by feelings of stress, anxiety and depression, help is available. This means talking with mental health professionals such as psychologists, who can help get you back on track. 

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that living in lockdown isn’t going to last forever. Think ahead to how you want to emerge from it – from new ‘normal’ to newer ‘normal’!

constraints, cutting yourself a break if you’re not meeting your usual standards or expectations.