05 January 2021
Across the UK, people are facing lockdown measures similar to those from the start of the pandemic. Isolation and social distancing will be familiar to many of the Trust family, and over the last year, we have all found ways to keep our spirits up and look after our mental wellbeing, all the while protecting each other from the coronavirus. Here are ten tips that came from a chat between Trust volunteer Wen, Jack who’s been a familiar face on Trust trips for the last six years, and Trust team member Scott, which you can listen to in full here, about how they have looked after themselves and each other during lockdown.
Plan out your days
“Just before going back to university, I was really just looking forward to having that timetable,” Jack said. “Even though I’m not going to campus, I’ve got my Zoom classes, homework, reading. It’s given me more structure and made it a bit more normal.” Having an idea of how you’ll spend your time makes you feel more in control and motivated, even if that’s as simple as reading a book or catching up on that movie you’d missed.
‘Thinking of you’ gifts
Wen said some of the incredible things her friends have done for her during lockdown so far include sending her handwritten cards, bringing a hamper of treats to her house, and baking her a cake. It’s always lovely to know someone thought of you and went out their way to brighten your day. Receiving something in the post is exciting, and putting something together to send to a friend is a great way of spending your time.
Get out for walks
When he made the decision to return home before lockdown, Jack said one of the things his mum was adamant about was the family going a walk every day. He said making the effort to get outdoors and have a bit of exercise has helped a lot. While it’s pretty chilly, make sure to wrap up and take care on icy footpaths. For any budding photographers or keen Instagrammers, it’s a perfect time of year to take photos of wintery lighting and chilly landscapes.
Don’t stop doing what you love
One of Scott’s biggest passions is live music, and while concerts can’t take place, bands have adapted and livestreamed shows from their homes and COVID-secure venues. It’s a way of supporting artists while still feeling topped up by experiencing something you love when you need it most.
“Voice noting my friends instead of just texting them has been really important for me,” said Wen. “They hear my voice, I hear their voice, and that’s been really comforting.” Ideal for when you don’t have time for a full evening of Zooming, voice notes feel more personal than messaging apps. Sitting down to let a friend know what your day has been like or going out for a walk to listen to what someone’s sent you feels like a proper hearty check-in.
Stay part of your community
Wen’s church moved online when communal worship wasn’t possible. What was once a local thing ended up growing in size, and now people from South Africa and India join their music section. Similarly, Scott’s book club has moved from cafes to online and has helped people stay focused on reading during a tough time. From crafting to yoga, from support groups to gaming societies, it’s worth making that effort to stay in touch.
Let your friends know you’re there for them
Jack said one of the most powerful things was when friends would let him know they were thinking of him. “It’s nice to know you’ve got people there that you can talk to if you’re feeling like you need to, so letting your friends know they can talk to you, that you can talk to them, it’s an important thing.” Sometimes people need invited to share what’s on their mind, so making sure your friends know that’s okay can make a massive difference.
Keep busy – collaborate
Wen’s church creates music together while apart by recording each section separately and piecing them all together. For her, it was a way of seeing everyone come together, while appreciating the ways technology keeps us connected. Here at the Trust, the Sound Waves podcast – which Scott hosts – has also been a way of keeping people in touch by working together and making something we hope you’ve enjoyed.
While it can be helpful to get out of your own head, sometimes it’s beneficial to think back on how you’ve coped with challenging situations in the past. “Something that has been really powerful for me is remembering that I have been through tough times before,” said Wen. “And if I got through them before, I can get through them now.”
Share – if you want to
Social media allows us to connect with our friends and family even from afar. At the beginning of lockdown, Wen recorded vlogs for Facebook, which meant everyone could keep up with how she was feeling and she had a place to express her thoughts and emotions. Twitter, blogs, personal journals – there’s no end to the amount of ways to take what you’re thinking and put it out into the world, which can feel therapeutic and liberating.