A few weeks into lock-down, how are you doing? No really, how are you doing? However you are feeling, it is absolutely valid … scared, bored, lonely, happy, rested, accepting, angry … all of these and more in the space of an hour.

We are knee deep in an experience that we will (hopefully) never experience again and it is traumatic. A global, enforced, worldwide change when most of us aren’t very comfortable with even little changes. Our bodies and minds are running on high alert from a threat that is vague, invisible and potentially everywhere. Is it any wonder that we’re exhausted, overwhelmed and really really not happy when our neighbour take their twenty seventh … ok second … walk of the day?

You might be on your own or surrounded by family but whatever your situation, it will be a big change from your normal and vivid dreams about where you’re going to put the new ‘patio’ and who is going under it are to be expected. Follow my tips and hopefully we’ll all manage not to lose it during lock-down!

Map your day

Keeping some sort of routine will help you stay motivated and will make the transition back into whatever comes next much easier. This doesn’t mean you have to duplicate your previous work routine at home. If you’re a night owl who’s had to work early bird hours or the other way around, shift your routine to suit your natural body clock. Treat yourself to an afternoon nap or family movie time.

Break your day into 90 minute blocks and give each block a purpose …

  • Family time
  • Rest time
  • Study time
  • Play time
  • Work time
  • Time to connect
  • Get moving
  • Eat

Make sure you include a bit of everything in your day and use the routine to reward yourself for achievement rather than to beat yourself up for not doing something.

Ride the emotional waves

Remember … global trauma mixed with kids at home … all emotions are valid and you are going to feel them all. This breathing technique is great for bringing your attention from your mind to your body.

Sit comfortably and place one hand on your belly. Imagine there is a balloon in your belly and imagine filling the balloon with your in-breath. You should notice the hand on your belly rise. Don’t worry if it is your chest that rises first, the more you practice, the easier it will be. Hold the air in your lungs, and then exhale slowly. The secret is to go slow: Time the inhalation (4s), pause (2s), and exhalation (6s). Practice for 3 to 5 minutes.

Take a nap

You are going to be much more tired than usual due to the constant processing and anxiety management your mind is trying to do, so treat yourself to an afternoon nap. Also, how great would life be if a wee bit of cosy downtime was acceptable every day? It is now … cosy up.

Technology is your friend

After years of preaching social media as the anxiety inducing devil that it is, in these times of crisis, I am on-board with technology being a fully paid up family member. Do you need an hour of peace to catch up with your work to do list, have a child free shower or simply stare into space? Who better to babysit the kids than Joe Wicks or David Walliams or whoever else can keep their attention. In Vitality we run kid’s relaxation classes on a Wednesday and Thursday at 11am (on a pay what you can basis) … I’m happy to take them off your hands and hopefully calm them down a bit. There are ‘relax adults‘ classes on a Monday at 6pm so you can have your little bit of peace too and I do a morning meditation and chat every morning at 8am on my Facebook page.

Remember, you are not a trained teacher (unless you are), and no-one expects you to be. Keep your kids alive, keep yourself sane, let famous people teach them stuff occasionally and you will all come through this just fine.

Move it or lose it

Exercise is so important, especially when you are confined to the four walls of your house. It releases all the feel good hormones and gives you a chance to connect with people. If you don’t usually exercise, it’s a great way to meet up with new (virtual) buddies. Look for something local, your local classes will have taken a real hit form this situation and if they’ve managed to move any of their classes online they will be very grateful for you taking part. At Vitality, we’ve managed to move our yoga classes to an online VIP Yoga Club and it seems to be working really well.

Make sure you get your daily walk / run / cycle while we’re still allowed and top up your VitD … I also take a VitD supplement because here in the north of Scotland it is almost impossible to get enough.

Grow something

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, grow some veg for later in the year. If you only have a kitchen windowsill, grow some herbs or buy some and keep them alive. Tending a plant is very mindful and seeing something grow is an exercise in hope.

Sleep your worries away

Are you having trouble sleeping or when you do sleep, are you having really strange dreams? This is your mind attempting to process something which it can’t fully process during the day. To give it a helping hand, follow the night time routine below.

Phone off at least an hour before bed

Take a few minutes to write in a journal and to note three things that you are grateful for.

Once you are in bed tighten and release your muscles from your feet to your face three times … notice how relaxed feels different from tense

Hands on your belly and practice the belly breathing exercise further up

Above all, remember this isn’t something any of us expected to live through. Be kind to yourself,binge watch box-sets rather than the news, stay connected, follow the guidelines and stay safe and we will all be able to celebrate with a huge hug on the other side.