If like me you are living alone without a support bubble, you might be feeling the lockdown!
And yes, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have a few months before life returns to normal. So I thought it was still worth sharing with you my best tips for coping with living on your own during lockdown.
Cook and dance Salsa
It is totally a new thing.
Before you ask, no I do not know how to dance Salsa. But I love Salsa music. So I put some Salsa music on when I am cooking, and it makes me want to dance.
The beauty of living alone is that there is no one around to watch me dancing in my kitchen while I am cooking. Yes, you can do both at the same time, ask my cat. She is always watching me do this, giving me a look that say: “now you have officially gone mad”.
It doesn’t matter to me. I cook, dance and sing along, and it makes feel good. Every single time!
Oh and obviously it works with any type of music as long as it is uplifting!
Walk with a friend
I go for a walk with a friend who lives nearby every Friday morning before work. This is one of the highlights of my week. We go for one hour at 8 am, regardless of the weather. We have been sticking to this routine for a while now and it has been so good for both of us as she also lives on her own.
I love our little ritual because of the fresh air, the exercise but most importantly the catch-up. We message each other between walks, but our Friday morning hour gives us the opportunity to have a real catch-up and being able to do face to face makes a huge difference.
I also try to arrange walks with other friends at the weekend from time to time. 2 ‘walks with a friend’ per week is really my ideal target but it isn’t always possible. Even in lockdown we have managed to re-create busy calendars!
Laughter is one of the best remedies for depression. So to prevent depression, I make sure that I laugh every day. This can be a little challenging when you are living alone as there is no one there to laugh with you.
But you know me I love a good challenge! So my favourite way to get my daily quota of laughter is simply to put my favourite stand up comedians’ shows on YouTube in the background when I am doing chores. It makes me giggle and sometimes even laugh out loud!
The other thing that makes me laugh a lot is of course my cat. She sometimes, usually after dinner, has this sudden rush of energy (I promise you I am NOT feeding her sugar) and starts running around the house like a mad animal. She rolls around, attacks my feet when I get into bed and does all sorts of quality comedy moves. Also, she is quite clumsy and falls regularly.
I never really got why people spent so much time watching cat videos on YouTube until I got her. Now I know. So I thought I’d share a really funny one with you 😉
Call a friend
Call a friend but not just any friend. Call people who will lift you up not drain your energy.
Personally, I speak to friends who lift me up on the phone at least every other day. Ideally, we want to be talking to another human being once a day.
As I learned when reading the Upward Spiral by Alex Korb, PhD, our need for human interaction is physiological. Talking to other human beings impacts positively our mental wellbeing. Face to face is best (hence the regular ‘walks with a friend’), video call is second best and phone call is last. Texting barely counts.
So now you know what to do. Pick up the phone and give a friend an old fashion phone call! It will probably make their day too 😉
Have a little lockdown project
When you are living alone and you can’t go out socialising much, you have extra time on your hand. A small project will occupy your mind and give you something to talk about when you do speak to your friends or family members.
I do have a lockdown project, something that’s not work, that I can talk about and that, when all this is over, I can say: this is what I did during the pandemic crisis. It doesn’t have to be crazy, hence the reference to a ‘little’ lockdown project.
Mine is simply to improve my Spanish. So I am just watching Netflix in Spanish and playing against strangers on Duolingo! If you have not tried Dualingo, do not make fun of me just yet. It feels like a game, as you are competing against others in your league. There are points to be won. And it is a little addictive. Very clever learning app!
I know. I sound like a broken record, but by now you know the importance of exercising for your mental health, right?
So I exercise at least 3 times a week. Nothing mad at the moment, just Pilates and a chair workout I have found on YouTube. I injured my Achilles while hiking back in November so I can’t do my normal weight workout, but I found an alternative! Here it is in case you are in the same situation as me. No more excuses now! You’re welcome 😊
- Put some uplifting music that makes you want to dance
- Walk with a friend
- Watch your favourite comedians
- Speak to people who lifts you up
- Have a lockdown project
- Exercise regularly
What are you doing to proactively improve your mental health? Let me know in the comments!