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Lockdown fatigue is tempting people back out of their homes, but this is what to do if you feel bored or lonely, says a GP...

Image: Unsplash Pro advice for staying sane

We all know the drill by now. We all know we need to Stay Home and Save Lives. We're also gagging for a drink in the sunshine with our pals... and if we stay the requisite two metres apart and squat by the side of the gate at the end of their garden path, it doesn't really count right? Hmmmm. Not so.

How far are we into lockdown now? After four or five weeks of exemplary behaviour, our collective standards are slipping. There's reports of more cars on the roads and more people pounding the pavement. 

Feeling restless? GP Diana Gall of Doctors 4 U has put together 10 tips to keep you going (and keep you safe) until restrictions are relaxed.

1. Plan for the future

"These are unprecedented times of course, but there is a future in sight," says Diana. "Why don’t you take an evening to write a list of everything you want to do once your out of lockdown, it could be anything from eating your favourite food at your favourite restaurant to hugging a close friend. This will give you hope and something to look forward to once this is over." If you're being asked to use up some of your annual leave during lockdown by your employers, use it to window shop future vacations – a little bit of wanderlust can bring the good vibes. You might not be able to book anything yet, but you can certainly map out what your dream getaway might look like.

2. Stop scrolling

The good news is, everyone's on lockdown and everyone's supposed to be staying inside, which can help to limit feelings of FOMO. "However, boredom may cause you to head onto social media and scroll aimlessly for hours, this can take its toll on our mental health and can make us feel even more isolated and anxious," explains Diana. "Instead, take yourself away from real life and read a book, do a puzzle, a crossword or anything that takes you away from your screen whilst still engaging you in activity." Now is the time to learn a new skill or hone an old one. Who knew you could give Picasso a run for his money? And ooop – turns out you're an absolute boss at knitting. Bobble hats for everyone!

3. Cook good food

Unleash your inner Nigella. "Proper nutrition is imperative to help us feel good and remain healthy," says Diana. "Ensure you are stocked up and have plenty of fresh produce and food in so you can cook yourself some tasty, nutritious meals. Cooking from scratch will not only give you something to look forward to but will pass the time nicely and you can enjoy the process whilst listening to music and having a glass of wine."

4. Self-care

"There’s no better time than now to take a deep dive into the world of self-care," Diana says. "Take some time to refresh and re-engage your mind and body. Eating well, drinking plenty of water and spending time to focus on you will do wonders for your wellbeing. I recommend a nightly bath with some essential oils, a face mask and a good podcast." These are some of our favourites...

5. Reminisce

Lockdown has forced us to stop, slow down and take stock of our lives. It's made us work out what (and who) is important to us – it might have even made us feel a little nostalgic as we take time to appreciate the good stuff. Lean into this. "There is no harm in looking back on the good times spent with those you love. Looking back on photos or videos may spark motivation in you to keep positive and realise there is light at the end of the tunnel and you will soon be able to create great memory’s again." As Queeny so heroically said: "We'll meet again." So hold tight, you've got this.

6. Spring clean

"What better time than now to do that spring clean that you’ve been putting off," says Diana. Especially since we're spending a  lot more time in the same space every day. "Cleaning your home from top to bottom will give you a sense of achievement and will allow you to enjoy your newly clean and fresh surroundings." You're allowed to feel smug every time you look at your newly organised – and colour coded – sock drawer.

7. Binge-watch without guilt

"Before lockdown we led incredibly busy lives which most of the time meant we weren’t able to catch up on our favourite shows, podcasts and Netflix series," Diana says. "It’s really important not to feel guilty if you end up spending the weekend binge-watching your favourite shows. This is a very strange time and its ok to feel worried and anxious. If watching a TV show makes you feel better then so be it, as long as you are doing some sort of physical activity, eating well and drinking plenty of water then enjoying this time to be lazy is fine!"

8. Pick up the phone

One of the biggest challenges has been distancing from our friends, family and colleagues who we see regularly. Picking up the phone might be an obvious one, but it's surprising how often we can get wrapped up in our day or other less uplifting distractions (like losing ourselves in an Insta bender) rather than making this a priority.

"There are a number of ways to keep in touch from the comfort of your own home. Why not set up a zoom family call scheduled for when you would normally catch up," says Diana. It could be during your lunch break, after work, or over the weekend. "It might also be an idea to have a friend on FaceTime whilst your cooking your evening meal as this is something you might have done before and will give you something to look forward to," she adds. Try to form a habit of calling at a similar time, and keep to it. "This will give a sense of normality and should put you in a better frame of mind," says Diana.

9. Get outside (within reason)

We're still allowed out for our one exercise of the day, so plan what that will be and enjoy it. "Now that the weather's a bit nicer, it’s imperative to get outside and get some fresh air and your daily dose of vitamin D, this should also lift your mood and allow you to clear your mind," says Diana.

10. Do some physical activity

Whether you've always dreaded exercise or are a gym bunny, there are workouts that can work for everyone. "Doing a spot of daily exercise is so important for not only your overall wellbeing but your mood and mental health," says Diana. "You don’t have to do anything too strenuous, even just a 30-minute yoga class will stretch your body and allow more oxygen into the lungs and blood which should give you a good energy boost. Doing some kind of activity will also help to pass the time especially over the weekend."

This article was originally published on GLAMOUR UK

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