Another UK Lockdown – A Few Tips for Keeping Healthy and Getting Through

Here in the UK we are about to enter another national lockdown. I know some other parts of the world have entered and are entering another lockdown too. Just as things were opening up, and life getting back to a slight semblance of ‘normal’ or at least the ‘new normal’, we find ourselves back int the restrictions. This may be a trigger for mental health issues for some, and I know in my extensive work with eating disorders it may be a trigger in eating patterns that are not helpful to people, and the lockdown may trigger the eating disorder thoughts, or for some it is a way of managing emotions, and lockdown certainly may raise intense emotions for some.

It can be hard to be stuck in the house with food and for some not much else happening in the day aside from meals…and in the throes of an eating disorder this can bring intense panic. One idea is to speak to a friend or your therapist about a plan for food that gives you a sense of control, but isn’t the false control that the ED brings. If it helps you to schedule meal times, do that. If scheduling food times causes you distress, maybe have a list of nutrients to be eaten in any given day for best health, but not on a schedule. Find a way that best serves you. Think of food as medicine to help health and healing, as opposed to the enemy…learn about what nutrients help with what (see previous posts on here for some of that).

It might be helpful for you to find an activity that brings you a sense of joy, or a sense of achievement. This can help serve as a healthy distraction when anxiety or low mood is setting in. However, this may not be the right way for everyone – it might be that this time of lockdown is a time to really rest and recoup, binge watch Netflix if you want, call up friends you have lost touch with. Find what works best for you.

If you are having to work from home, find a way to separate work from relaxation and leisure – this could be simply changing clothes from a professional top to an off – duty top, or it may be putting away those notes and work things and lighting a nice candle and switching into home mode, or it may be having a set switch off time. Again, find what works for you. For some it is easier to switch off from work than others (I know I find it hard!)

Breathe some fresh air each day and feel yourself breathing. Practice 4/6 breathing….4 in and 6 out….this helps to calm the nervous system on the longer exhale.

Take this lockdown one day at a time, one hour at a time if necessary. We have only a tentative cut off point of 4 weeks…could be more…we cannot change what it will be, but we can take steps to manage how we respond to it.

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