Well, fellow Melbournians, we are finally starting to see the light. Restrictions will ease further this week which means we are one step closer to coming out of lockdown for once and for all!
As exciting as this is, coming out of the world’s longest lockdown is probably not going to be all sunshine and rainbows, so it might be worth having a little think about how you want to approach the start of this new chapter…
For almost an entire year, we have been under restrictions, forcing us to stay at home for the sake of safety. ‘Stay safe’ has probably been the most spoken phase over the last 18 months.
And now, we are allowed to start spreading our wings and adventure out into the big wide world (aka 15km radius!).
But your lizard brain, whose job it is to keep you safe, is going totally crazy as it tries to figure out why you want to go out there and risk your life when it’s so comfortable and safe at home.
So if you’re expecting to jump straight into your pre-Covid life by saying YES to everything and everyone, and trying to catch up on 18months of missed experiences all at once, you will probably end up feeling run-down, overwhelmed, and may even start craving another lockdown – in all seriously, this was a common sentiment last time Melbourne opened up!
Instead, if you want to transition out of lockdown feeling as calm and in control as can be, you will need to find the balance between your lizard brain and your logical brain and meet somewhere in the middle.
Here are three simple ways to take control of your transition into life after lockdown:
1. Be OK with doing it your way
Some of us need a lot more security or control in our lives, while others thrive off adventure and chaos. If you’re the type of person that feels a little anxious when things change that are beyond your control, take this on board. You will probably find the transition out of lockdown a lot more anxiety provoking than you adventure junkie friends, and that’s OK.
Come out of lockdown as slowly as you need to. Find comfort in doing things at your pace and make time to check in on yourself each week to see how you are going. If you are exhausted and feeling overwhelmed or anxious come the weekend, this is a good indicator that it’s time to put the brakes on a bit, and more carefully select the activities you want to prioritise.
2. Stay on track with a few basic health benchmarks
Most likely you will need a lot more energy – both mentally and physically – to navigate all the different stages of easing restrictions. When we are tired, we are unmotivated and less able to handle change. A few simple benchmarks will not only keep your energy levels in check, they will also provide instant feedback so you quickly know when your lifestyle is becoming unsustainable.
Maintain good energy levels by setting a few basic health benchmarks, for example;
- 7-8hrs sleep every night
- 30minutes of daily movement
- Have at least 2 out of 3 healthy, balanced meals per day
3. Slowly create a new routine
One of the hardest things about going in and out of lockdown is that our familiar routines are totally stripped from underneath us. Suddenly our workout location changes, kids’ activities are back on, bedtimes change etc. This causes huge disruption to our energy, hormones, and sense of control.
The most effective thing you can do to regain instant calm and control in your life is to focus on building a solid routine.
You see, when control is taken away from us, our need for certainty gets stronger. Having a great routine is a powerful way to fulfil your need for certainty, and this will free up your capacity to better handle the changing restrictions.
I want a routine, where should I start?
- Start by creating a solid bedtime and wakeup routine.
- Next add in mealtimes.
- Thirdly add in the time of day you will exercise.
- Finally, consider if there is any part of your current lockdown routine that has really worked for you and you want to keep going forward – add that into your routine as well.
Ensuring you have enough sleep, good food, and daily movement will really set you up for success.
To maintain this strategy over time, consciously update your bedtime, mealtimes and exercise times whenever restrictions ease. This will provide you with a sense of both consistency and control.
There’s no escaping that in the not-too-distant future Melbourne traffic will return, social demands will increase, and life will get more hectic. Just remember, you have control over the things you say yes to. Make decisions based on your natural need for certainty, your energy levels, and keep updating your personal routine so that you maintain a level of control in these constantly change conditions.
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