Search

Tips on coping with lockdown isolation from WAY members

April 2020

Grieving and isolation are not always the best of bed fellows. We asked WAY members for their reflections on what has helped them to keep their spirits up during five weeks of lockdown. Here’s what they told us…

Paul Try and plan your week ahead, or day by day if that works for you. I do this for meals, exercise, chores, and social chats. Make sure you allow some downtime. Having a routine is important but do listen to your body and if feeling anxious...consider breathing techniques and live in the moment…

Natalie My cat is now on Tiktok. That is fab for my mental health, it is funny to create silly clips and share them with friends and family.

Ruth I’ve been listening to the radio more. I find it helps me feel a bit more connected to something outside my house.

Ruth A good cry can help. It’s not wrong to be struggling.

Michelle Don't be afraid to say you're struggling. I found that just saying it out loud lessened the intensity of what I'd been bottling up inside, a bit like mentally holding my breath and then finally letting it go.

Rebecca Make the most of your hour's exercise and get out into the fresh air if at all possible. I am finding that taking my dog out for an hour makes a huge difference to my mental well-being.

Michelle I've been listening to a lot of Podcasts recently as music wasn't quite working for me. I think there's something about listening to a conversation that makes me feel involved. And occasionally I learn something I never knew…

Rebecca Don't beat yourself up because your coping strategies aren't the same as someone else's and you feel as if you aren't achieving anything. It's perfectly ok not to be doing an online workout, not to be painting masterpieces (or the house), not be learning a new language or joining in every online activity if you aren't up to it. Just getting through is fine and if all you do is sleep, eat and watch TV, that is fine.

Charles I sometimes think that I am coping by buying Lego and beer and wine and steaks and building/consuming the above far too rapidly. I have also been trying to keep active. The other things I do are watch HOURS of streaming every day, make randomish spreadsheets and have ‘too many’ baths!

Rachael I think knowing yourself and your triggers is important. Obviously everyone’s different and reacts differently to this kind of thing, so the more insight you have into yourself, the better. It sounds weird, but taking personality profiling tests online have helped me to gain some insight and structure my life in a way that’s most helpful to me. My advice is basically, get to know yourself!

Aimée Throw yourself into something creative... this can be big or small. If you can go big right now that's awesome obviously but a lot of people will find they just need an outlet that doesn't require much thinking - colouring is awesome for this.

Paul Take the plunge and create some mini events with your WAY buddies...quizzes, sending funny videos in WhatsApp.....or just general chat about your day.

Su Avoiding all virus-related news. Concentrating on working from home, friends family, having fun trying to do my usual stuff on Zoom. Our pub quiz is fab, choir not so successful but hilarious signing class harder work but good to keep it going. Just about to start knitting for hospitals as being ex NHS I feel a bit lost not being able to do my bit.

Sarah One thing I've been doing on a regular basis is turning my phone off. And exiting WhatsApp groups with friends or acquaintances who mean well but cause me triggers or anxiety. Intentional silencing of the world has been helpful to me.

Also, my daughter did her Brownie mindfulness badge for something to do in the "holidays" and even simple techniques like lying in the sun listing the things you can see, hear and feel, and really thinking about them, we have found really calming when the house is getting tense and exhausted.

Hannah Audible audiobooks, really important to choose the right ones as the wrong ones can be triggers. Also listen to a sample to make sure the person’s voice doesn’t annoy you. Get some Bluetooth headphones and a speaker with plenty of chargers.

Catherine I know this sounds quite tragic but I find that it makes a difference if I do my dishes/tidy my kitchen at night so that I'm not coming downstairs to see chaos first thing each morning. I hate doing dishes but it's worth it to get my day off to a reasonable start. Other random suggestions include spacing out your phone calls/Zoom calls/whatever if possible. I had three social nights on the trot the other week and then nothing last week, which wasn't ideal for all sorts of reasons. I am working my normal hours from home so no, I'm not going to write a book or redecorate my house during lockdown, and that is absolutely fine. Finally, I've found it helpful to monitor my calorie intake and exercise - without denying myself unduly, it's an aspect of keeping my environment under control when very little seems controllable. Finally, be judicious about news consumption.

Stephanie Radio 4 is my friend. I’m nearly 3 months in so one disaster movie morphed into another. In the early days I couldn’t sleep so had the world service on throughout the night. Listening to another voice quietens my own inner voice and helps me to drift off. During the day it is calming and less lonely to have that other voice in the background, even if I only half listen to it. I try to avoid turning on the TV until about 8 pm and my allotment is a definite life saver. It is my happy place and I try to spend an hour or two there after work.

Michelle I've been using my Fitbit much more over lockdown to help me keep active. I check it a couple of times a day and if I'm low I go for a couple of laps around the house

Grieving and isolation are not always the best of bed fellows. We asked WAY Widowed and Young's members for their reflections on what has helped them to keep their spirits up during five weeks of lockdown. Here’s what they told us…

Paul Try and plan your week ahead, or day by day if that works for you. I do this for meals, exercise, chores, and social chats. Make sure you allow some downtime. Having a routine is important but do listen to your body and if feeling anxious...consider breathing techniques and live in the moment…

Natalie My cat is now on Tiktok. That is fab for my mental health, it is funny to create silly clips and share them with friends and family.

Ruth I’ve been listening to the radio more. I find it helps me feel a bit more connected to something outside my house.

Ruth A good cry can help. It’s not wrong to be struggling.

Michelle Don't be afraid to say you're struggling. I found that just saying it out loud lessened the intensity of what I'd been bottling up inside, a bit like mentally holding my breath and then finally letting it go.

Rebecca Make the most of your hour's exercise and get out into the fresh air if at all possible. I am finding that taking my dog out for an hour makes a huge difference to my mental well-being.

Michelle I've been listening to a lot of Podcasts recently as music wasn't quite working for me. I think there's something about listening to a conversation that makes me feel involved. And occasionally I learn something I never knew…

Rebecca Don't beat yourself up because your coping strategies aren't the same as someone else's and you feel as if you aren't achieving anything. It's perfectly ok not to be doing an online workout, not to be painting masterpieces (or the house), not be learning a new language or joining in every online activity if you aren't up to it. Just getting through is fine and if all you do is sleep, eat and watch TV, that is fine.

Charles I sometimes think that I am coping by buying Lego and beer and wine and steaks and building/consuming the above far too rapidly. I have also been trying to keep active. The other things I do are watch HOURS of streaming every day, make randomish spreadsheets and have ‘too many’ baths!

Rachael I think knowing yourself and your triggers is important. Obviously everyone’s different and reacts differently to this kind of thing, so the more insight you have into yourself, the better. It sounds weird, but taking personality profiling tests online have helped me to gain some insight and structure my life in a way that’s most helpful to me. My advice is basically, get to know yourself!

Aimée Throw yourself into something creative... this can be big or small. If you can go big right now that's awesome obviously but a lot of people will find they just need an outlet that doesn't require much thinking - colouring is awesome for this.

Paul Take the plunge and create some mini events with your WAY buddies...quizzes, sending funny videos in WhatsApp.....or just general chat about your day.

Su Avoiding all virus-related news. Concentrating on working from home, friends family, having fun trying to do my usual stuff on Zoom. Our pub quiz is fab, choir not so successful but hilarious signing class harder work but good to keep it going. Just about to start knitting for hospitals as being ex NHS I feel a bit lost not being able to do my bit.

Sarah One thing I've been doing on a regular basis is turning my phone off. And exiting WhatsApp groups with friends or acquaintances who mean well but cause me triggers or anxiety. Intentional silencing of the world has been helpful to me.

Also, my daughter did her Brownie mindfulness badge for something to do in the "holidays" and even simple techniques like lying in the sun listing the things you can see, hear and feel, and really thinking about them, we have found really calming when the house is getting tense and exhausted.

Hannah Audible audiobooks, really important to choose the right ones as the wrong ones can be triggers. Also listen to a sample to make sure the person’s voice doesn’t annoy you. Get some Bluetooth headphones and a speaker with plenty of chargers.

Catherine I know this sounds quite tragic but I find that it makes a difference if I do my dishes/tidy my kitchen at night so that I'm not coming downstairs to see chaos first thing each morning. I hate doing dishes but it's worth it to get my day off to a reasonable start. Other random suggestions include spacing out your phone calls/Zoom calls/whatever if possible. I had three social nights on the trot the other week and then nothing last week, which wasn't ideal for all sorts of reasons. I am working my normal hours from home so no, I'm not going to write a book or redecorate my house during lockdown, and that is absolutely fine. Finally, I've found it helpful to monitor my calorie intake and exercise - without denying myself unduly, it's an aspect of keeping my environment under control when very little seems controllable. Finally, be judicious about news consumption.

Stephanie Radio 4 is my friend. I’m nearly 3 months in so one disaster movie morphed into another. In the early days I couldn’t sleep so had the world service on throughout the night. Listening to another voice quietens my own inner voice and helps me to drift off. During the day it is calming and less lonely to have that other voice in the background, even if I only half listen to it. I try to avoid turning on the TV until about 8 pm and my allotment is a definite life saver. It is my happy place and I try to spend an hour or two there after work.

Michelle I've been using my Fitbit much more over lockdown to help me keep active. I check it a couple of times a day and if I'm low I go for a couple of laps around the house. It sounds a bit daft but it's nice to achieve something every day and reminds me to move off the sofa every now and then!

Amy I have been going into the communal allotment to tidy and weed and prepare for when my seeds arrive, decorating my kitchen and bedroom, also I have been sitting out with my neighbours at a safe distance and our dogs play together. We also check on each other every day and if we have a delivery coming check if anyone needs anything. I feel very lucky to live in my community. We take care of each other and I get to buy treats for the kids without being told off too much.

Jen Try not to pay too much attention to 'news' and everyone's opinion on the virus on social media- seems everyone is a virus expert right now! No-one knows what will happen so concentrate on the day or week at the time without worrying too much on how long this might last as it's out of our control. Try to speak to or message friends, family, fellow WAYers as much as possible - you're not alone even if you might might feel it. And try not to be too affected by insensitive comments from people complaining when they're in this with the partner/ family we would all long to still have. People are stressed and scared and aren't aware of how insensitive they're being xx

For more tips, please follow WAY on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can find us @widowedandyoung