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Six Things You Can Do During Lockdown 6.0

Six Things You Can Do During Lockdown 6.0

Here in Melbourne, we’ve entered into lockdown 6.0 – or lockdown 6.3 if you’re keeping track of all the minor changes that have been made since this lockdown began on the 5th of August. As we draw towards the end of another winter season spent mainly in lockdown, it’s easy to focus on all the things that are going wrong in Melbourne, Australia and the rest of the world. Heck, it’s even easier to tear apart your life and think of all the things that didn’t go right this year. Wouldn’t it be nice if, just for a moment or two, we turned our attention to some of the things we can do for ourselves to alleviate the lockdown fatigue whilst making the most of being alive. That’s what I’ve chosen to do. Granted, I haven’t been flustered much by the latest lockdown as I enjoy being at home but I’m focusing on some of the things I can do. 

Prioritise Boundaries. I remember when we first went into lockdown last year. I was really good with my work/life boundaries and only worked during the hours I’d ordinarily work if I went into the office. As time passed and I got really comfortable rolling out of bed and straight into work, I started working longer hours. Not because I needed to, or wanted to, but because I lost all sense of boundaries between my work and personal life because there was no longer a commute. I found myself spending the typical commute time still working at my desk. But things have changed. I’m starting to be more mindful of finishing work on time and clearing my desk of all work-related items as a way to signal to myself (and my brain) that the work day is over.

Create a  routine for your week so that there’s room to appreciate the weekend. Once you prioritise boundaries between your work and personal life, you can take it a step further by creating a routine for your weekday that differs slightly from what you’d do during the weekend. I know we’re all at home and spending 22 hours or more indoors but hear me out. I recently had a chat with my husband about playing board games on some of our weeknights when we’re not reading/studying or working on a side project. We are huge fans of watching movies and TV shows in the evenings and often have marathon watching sessions from Friday to Sunday as a way to usher in (and enjoy) the weekend. I figured if we subbed our weekday watch sessions for games or something else, we can have a different experience over the weekend and look forward to the things we’ll be watching. 

Your first task before work starts. Where you can, spend some time on your balcony/backyard/windowsill before your workday starts. Get some fresh air. Have a nice cup of tea or coffee outside whilst appreciating nature before you start your work day. Do something that brings you joy. I’ve gotten into the habit of waking up and going straight to my desk to set up for the workday which isn’t good. This week, I’m going to make a conscious effort to spend some time outside with my tea or my smoothie before starting my workday. I’ve noticed that I’m much calmer when I spend some time before work doing something I enjoy. Give it a go and let me know if this adds a little bit of bliss to your morning.

Invest in play. I’ve come to the realisation that adults don’t appreciate play as much as children do. I can already hear you going duh! While you may roll your eyes and shrug this off, i’m actually quite serious. Think about it: why do parents encourage kids to play? It allows kids to develop their physical and emotional strengths. I like to think that most of you reading this can comfortably bench press 100 pounds with your eyes closed so you don’t need any help in the physical strength area. But when it comes to emotional strength, I believe we can all benefit from further development and enhancement during these interesting times. Now, I’m not asking you to go to a playground with a stretchy Iron Man toy and partake in imaginary play (you can if you want to). How about investing in some board games or video games to play with a partner/roommate/loved one?

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Prioritise your mental health. I never really understood the importance of making this a priority until I started getting negatively impacted by the news. Everytime I listened to the news, I realised that it was making me more anxious. I would come away with less useful information and more things to be afraid of. As if all the dangerous spiders in Australia aren’t enough to instil the fear of God in me. I had to make a conscious decision to avoid listening to the news on TV. If something was important, I would find out at the right time through other sources. This gave me back control over the sort of information I allowed in my space. The more control I took of this, the better I got at limiting my exposure to information that negatively impacted my mental health. I want to be informed without being inundated with negative news. As the pandemic took its toll last year, I embraced meditation for the first time using the calm app. This was partly because I got it for free through work. I also try to spend some time praying when I wake up, feel anxious and before going to bed. Doing these two things daily has really improved my mental health. There’s no one size fits all but I believe it’s worth the time investment to prioritise your mental health and focus on the things that spark joy. If you’re interested in using an app, you can also check out headspace.

Give yourself grace. If all else fails, take it easy on yourself. We might all be in some form of lockdown but its impact on us differs from person to person. If you’ve gained some lockdown weight due to finding comfort in food and chocolate, it’s alright. Remember that you’re doing the best you can to get through each day and that’s all that matters. 

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