As I sit down to write this we are a week into lockdown 3.0 here in the UK and whilst I feel compelled to reach out to you, equally I know that many teachers won’t have time to be reading blogs at the moment. I’m hoping that you have found a new rhythm and are able to give yourself 5 minutes with a cup of tea or coffee to remind yourself how important self care is at times like this.
Firstly, let’s just get one thing straight. Lockdown is hard. Whether you are; working or furloughed, homeschooling or home alone, juggling everything or worrying you have been made redundant and have nothing to do, over eating or worrying you can’t put food on the table, everyone is struggling.
Just because life is testing us at the moment doesn’t mean that we can’t take control of our lives in small and meaningful ways though. It is still possible to find pockets of pure joy and relaxation, even in the chaos of lockdown.
I can hear you shouting, “but I don’t have any time for pockets of joy, Kate!”
Yes you do, you just have to learn to find them and make yourself a priority for once!
5 minutes of lockdown self care can make all the difference…
Perhaps you can find five minutes while the dinner is cooking. Maybe you grab ten minutes when the kids have gone to bed before you start working. You might even just offer to take the dog out (alone if possible!) to give yourself a little head space before everything returns to normal.
Obviously everyone’s circumstances are unique and I can’t tell you where you can find your pocket of joy, but I can tell you that if you want to find one enough, you will.
Here are a few of my favourite quick and easy self care activities to help you stay calm and sane during lockdown.
1. Take a walk – even if you just walk around the block, getting some fresh air and moving your body will make you feel better.
2. Call a friend or family member – Just 5 minutes talking to someone you love will make you feel calmer, happier and will help you to remember what is really important in life.
3. Listen to your favourite music – Music is proven to alter your mood. Put on your favourite tunes, as loud as you can, and just listen and enjoy!
4. Have a hot drink – Warm drinks are comforting in themselves, but you can always combine this 5 minutes of lockdown wellbeing with one of my favourite mindful exercises, hot chocolate breathing.
5. Read a book or magazine – Even if you only sit for a few minutes and read a page or two. Reading a book is so much more relaxing than scrolling through your phone. Resist the urge to check your emails and enjoy 5 minutes with a book or your favourite magazine.
6. Have a dance – Why not combine number 1 with number 3? Get up and get moving to your favourite music!
7. Meditate – 5 minutes is more than enough time to meditate. Whether you find a short guided meditation online or just light a candle and stare at the flame. Meditation has so many benefits.
8. Tidy a drawer or organise something that has been frustrating you – when our outer world feels more organised, our inner world is more calm too.
9. Eat something indulgent – A little bit of what you fancy does you good. Whether it is advisable from a biological point of view or not, the fact is many of us get a little lift from having something delicious to eat. Treat yourself, you have definitely earned it!
10. Have a quick shower – I’m not implying your are dirty and need a wash. Water is cleansing. Just standing under the flowing water calms your nervous system and helps you feel more centred.
There are even more ideas to help you to care for your lockdown wellbeing in my free downloadable Teacher Wellbeing Checklist. You can access that and all my other free resources here.
The most important thing at the moment though is that you realise how important it is for you to care for your wellbeing. You cannot support your students or your family if you are exhausted or ill. Taking time to care for yourself and your emotional wellbeing is your duty.