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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Goff

Coping with COVID - 2.0

Déjà vu – we have all been here before.

In March 2020, it felt like we had woken up in the middle of a scene from a Steven Spielberg movie, as COVID-19 manipulated its way into our lives, up-ending life as we knew it.

Now, we do it all again!

Even though people say that we should be more prepared this time round, I cannot help but feel for some people things might be ever so slightly harder this time given that it is now Autumn and with that brings colder, wetter weather and darker, longer evenings and add to that all of the uncertainty that hangs in the air.

The truth is that we are living in stressful times and many of our go-to resources are out of bounds. Many of our choices have been taken out of our hands. We don't travel, plan adventures, or share experiences as we used to. In lockdown, our normal coping strategies are not available to us so we must draw on our inner resources to cope the best that we can. So, here are some suggestions on how you can take care of yourself mentally and emotionally during lockdown 2.0.

1. Plan each day: Keep your normal daily routine in place as much as possible as it will make you feel grounded and in control and allow you to make the most of each day.

2. Start each day with a five-minute mindfulness meditation: A short morning meditation will bring you a sense of peace and help you understand what kind of emotional state you’re in, especially important in a lockdown.

3. Identify five things that you are grateful for everyday: By writing down what you’re grateful for you can train your mind to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

4. Practice self-compassion and validation: It’s normal to be experiencing ups and downs at the moment. On down days, be extra gentle with yourself. Treat yourself like you would a close friend. Remind yourself that it’s okay to struggle.

5. Plan things to look forward to: Even though you have had to put a lot of things on hold this year, it’s still possible to look forward to the future. Spend some time researching and make a bucket list for when we make it out of lockdown.

6. Create a self-soothing kit: Fill a box with mindful items that comfort you (e.g. herbal tea, a cosy blanket or nice candles) you can make yourself an at-home sanctuary where you can retreat to whenever you need to escape.

7. Strike a balance: Between essential tasks (i.e. work) and mindful activities that are just for you (i.e. play).

8. Practice being in the present moment: Most of us spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or the future. But it’s important to remember, thoughts aren’t facts and we fall into dangerous territory when we believe everything we think.

9. Move your body: When you exercise, your body releases feel-good hormones, endorphins and serotonin, which give you a natural energy boost and trigger positive feelings in the body. Plus, your body also becomes better at managing cortisol levels, the hormone that’s released in response to emotional or psychological stress.

10. Listen to how you’re feeling: Try not to be hard on yourself. It’s okay if you just fancy a day in your PJ’s. Get plenty of rest and tune into how you’re feeling.

In case you need it, consider this a reminder not to fight the chaos and uncertainty which ensues with Lockdown 2.0, but try where possible to become more grounded, resourceful and responsive. Reacting to chaos as opposed to responding to it only ever gets us swept further out to sea!

I hope you can use Lockdown 2.0 to take time to relax and give your body the chance to enjoy it! Stay safe & keep well.

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