LED is here to support you online whilst our centres are closed. In this 4-part series, Barnaby will be outlining how physical activity and good nutrition can support a healthy immune system whilst providing you with guidance on how to stay active during lockdown and how LED can support you online.
When I planned this 4-part series I wasn’t really sure what the 4th and final piece would be, I just knew 4 articles would feel more complete than 3. I decided to finish with this topic after I received a few emails from members who highlighted the struggles of living alone during lockdown. It took me back to lockdown 1.0 which I spent living alone and I had plenty of times when I felt low and lonely. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to face this alone in a home you’ve built with a lost partner. My thoughts are with anyone struggling at the moment, I really hope this article helps you.
There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has made it harder to connect with our family, friends and wider community. Our working conditions, social and leisure activities are restricted at home. Given current restrictions it is natural to feel like you are struggling, I know I certainly do at times. Please remember these changes will not be forever and these struggles will end.
In the meantime, I’ve outlined some tips that may help you overcome any feelings of loneliness. Keep in mind that different things work for different people, so try to find what works best for you. By now you may have already found something not listed below that suits you, I’d love to hear about this too! I hope that this blog reaches and helps someone who really needs the support at the moment.
- Find new ways to stay connected.
It’s important to remind ourselves that whilst we must stay at home and cannot see each other face to face we can still stay connected. We can talk on the phone, video-call and use social media to stay connected to each other. We can connect over video-call by watching films, playing board games or cooking and eating dinner together.
You may consider joining online communities such as “East Devon Wellbeing Community” on Facebook. Here you’ll find a friendly community of LED instructors, members and others interested in leisure and fitness. You may be able to re-connect with a buddy from the swimming pool, your regular group exercise class or court booking who you haven’t heard from in a while. Who doesn’t love hearing from friends we have lost contact with?
Other online communities and peer-support groups include Side by Side and SANE Support Forum which are available 24 hours a day. There are also many helplines and support groups with offer expect advice for when you most need urgent support.
- Check-in regularly.
Creating a routine of checking in with others and being social can normalise this behaviour and may it easier to reach out at a time when you feel lonely and need help the most. It may also encourage them to contact you more often without prompting.
On that last note, I’ve received a few emails from members highlighting that you feel like you are always the initiator. It feels as though it is always you making contact with friends or family first. It’s important to remember that whilst this one-way traffic may feel difficult and it may even hurt it does not mean they don’t care. The reality of life at the moment is there are many, many pressures facing younger families. These may include the financial pressures of furlough, redundancy and unemployment, the stress of home-schooling as well as the individual battles we all face in life. Your loved ones may have little mental and emotional energy to spare right now. Understand that the kindness and care you show to others may be the glue that holds them together through these difficult times.
- Be honest
If you feel lonely try contacting a friend, family member or someone you can trust and share your feelings honestly. Hearing a familiar voice or seeing a friendly face through the screen can make us feel less isolated. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.
- Let’s enjoy what we can!
Spending more time on the things we enjoy in life can great improve our mental wellbeing and stop us focusing on feelings of loneliness.
I think it’s fair to assume that as members of LED most readers will have an interest in exercise and leisure activities. I would recommend revisiting my 1st article for ideas on how to stay active during lockdown if you haven’t already read this or need a reminder. Alternatively, you could of course re-visit an old hobby such as cooking, arts and crafts or music. Whatever it may be, try to find a way to get back to what you enjoy the most (or at least as close as you can get).
- Volunteer to help others
Many readers who currently volunteer for local community groups will agree that helping others is extremely rewarding and can help boost your own mental wellbeing. Some of these volunteer projects may still be running (in accordance with government guidelines of course) and need volunteers more than ever. Consider reaching out to those you know who are involved and offer your support.
If you would prefer to help from home, you could volunteer to be a phone buddy to someone. Some charities run groups, like Age UK’s Call in Time, that put volunteers in touch with people to call for a chat and see how they’re doing. You could even make a new friend whilst volunteering.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I really hope that this helps you through these difficult times.
I’m not a mental wellbeing professional (I’m really just a sports nutritionist working in digital marketing who wants to help where I can) but If you’d like to contact me for further information please email me at email@example.com.