Coronavirus – tips for coping with lockdown

In his role as Club Chaplain, Gordy Mackay (left, in the photo above alongside SFA Chaplain, Mark Fleming), shares some thoughts for how to cope with the ongoing lockdown.

“I wonder if 23rd March seems a long time ago? That was when Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson gave televised addresses to the nation. The following day radical limits on our freedom were introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus. For me, certainly, that seems a long time ago now. Over the last six weeks so much has changed and we’ve have all had to adjust to a very different way of life.

In the news over the last few days there has been talk of how we might begin to ease out of lockdown. We don’t know for sure how long getting back to ‘normal’ is going to take. When will it be possible for Scone Thistle to play again?

While we wait for the details about what the transition out of lockdown is going to look like, it is important to protect and maintain our personal well-being. Here are a few things that might help in the ongoing lockdown. Most of them are pretty obvious. But when our usual routines are all out of whack it’s important to think carefully about this- especially now many are getting lockdown fatigue and feeling an increasing sense of weariness, frustration and worry.

Exercise & Eating

As a family we’ve been doing the weekday PE with Joe Wicks workouts. The boys have especially enjoyed fancy dress Fridays. As well as being a bit of fun, it’s 30 minutes of exercise. All of us feel better for doing the workouts and the other tasks for the day seem easier to handle. If you are able to get outside, then even better. What a difference some fresh air in our lungs can make! Whether inside or out, exercise is a huge part of mental well-being, something we know but don’t always do.

Eating well is important too. It can be tempting in lockdown to go for easy options that are not so good for us. But healthy eating isn’t just important for the body, it’s important for the mind as well.

Relaxing

We tend to think of relaxation as time when we do nothing or are just chilling in front of the TV. Relaxing is really doing something that energises you rather than drains you. For me, social media is a drainer. So I need to take time every day away from it. The news, particularly at the moment, is also a drainer. So be careful you don’t watch or read too much of it. Everyone will have different ways of being energised- I like to read and get stuck into our garden (which needs a lot of work!). For those who live with others, trying to get some time by yourself can be a big help too. This can be tricky when we are living/learning/working in the same place all day, every day- often with family members in close proximity. It’s tricky but vital that we find ways to relax, to be re-energised physically and mentally to enable us to keep going until lockdown is over.

Relationships

As well as needing personal space, we all need someone to listen to us. As well as finding people that can listen to us, we should try to be available to listen to others as well. For some of us, talking about feelings can be uncomfortable. We might not be able to speak at home about how we’re feeling – especially if it’s people at home that are driving us up the wall! But we need to express it so that things don’t just build up. It’s a release, and it helps us maintain healthy perspective. Speak to family/friends/teammates on the phone or facetime regularly (not just email/text)/ Try to find positive things to talk about as well as being open about negative emotions and situations that are causing you worry.

Thankfulness

Many psychologists and health experts say that developing an mindset of thankfulness is quite literally good for us. Choosing to think about things that we value and appreciate has all sorts of benefits. Someone in our church recently challenged us to take a moment to think of one thing we are thankful for every day. When I do this, it is amazing the difference I feel. I’m not surprised that being thankful is good for us because for me, it’s a spiritual thing. Ultimately my thankfulness is directed to God. The Bible encourages us to be thankful, knowing that God is the one who is the source of all that is good. If you’re not religious, I’d still say this is massively helpful, and will benefit your sense of well being.

So however long it will be before lockdown is over and social distancing is a thing of the past, hopefully these thoughts might help us all cope just now and avoid lockdown fatigue. As we look after our own personal well-being we’ll be in a much better place to support those around us and everyone will be benefit.”

Gordy Mackay.

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