Finding balance post-lockdown
After nearly a year and a half spent in and out of lockdowns, the end is nearly here- fingers crossed! It's so exciting to think we can do the activities we use to enjoy again, whether it be going for a meal, having a bit of retail therapy or just spending time with our friends again. But after so long in lockdown, physically separated from the one's we love, going back to socialising can feel rather overwhelming. We want to see everyone again but the thought of fitting everyone into the calendar can be exhausting and stressful.
But don't worry we're here to put your mind at ease. We've gathered a list of the little things we can all do to enjoy our social lives whilst also not losing the quieter time we’ve been benefiting from. So grab your cuppa and have a read of these simple steps.
Schedule in me-time
Just like you would an appointment or meeting, book a time slot in your calendar for you. Use this time to do things that help you unwind and recover from the demands of everyday life.
It might only be 15 minutes but taking a little time for yourself can do wonders for your mental health. Activities could be reading, doing yoga or curling up on the sofa with a nice cuppa. If you’re unsure what your me-time activities are, experiment and see what works for you. Note down the activities that make you feel good.
Don’t fall into a trap of just telling yourself ‘oh I’ll have time at some point’, actually make time within your day to dedicate to yourself. Once it’s in a calendar you’ll be more likely to stick to it because you're consciously aware of it and more organised so other demands won't get in the way.
One thing that can stress a lot of us twenty-somethings out is money. The truth is this stress comes down to not being organised with our finances. Un-organisation can lead to us being reckless and overspending or restricting ourselves because we’re not sure if we can afford to do something. To avoid this cycle we need to get to grips with our finances and set a budget.
To set a budget begin by working out your monthly income and monthly fixed expenses- meaning those you can’t avoid paying like bills, your phone and food. Then see what you have remaining. It's beneficial to save some of this money for long-term goals, so put an amount directly into your savings. The remaining money can then be used for the rest of the month however you please. This makes deciding what social activities to do easy and enjoyable.
If you want more support with money and finances we have lots of blogs to help you out, including how to set financial goals.
Take care of yourself
It’s so easy to say yes to every event after being locked away for so long but don’t neglect yourself. It’s important that we take care of our bodies and minds so we can actually function properly in everyday life.
Sleep and fuelling your body with nourishing foods should be a priority. Of course, we can stay out late and eat less nutritious foods but if we do it for too long it really starts to take a toll on our mind and bodies.
The easiest ways to make sure you get a good sleep is by setting an alarm for the same time every morning and winding down an hour before you go to bed. Winding down should include activities that help your body relax and feel ready to sleep. This can include switching off electronics, doing light stretches and darkening your bedroom. If you have an iPhone, the built-in health app allows you to set up a daily alarm that will remind you when it's time to get ready for sleep and automatically mute your phone messages- highly recommend!
In terms of food, the busy world around us can often make us gravitate to quick meals that are often highly processed. Even though they might feel good at the time it can quickly leave us feeling sluggish. Meal prepping and finding quick and easy recipes can be a great way to limit the overconsumption of processed foods.
Learn to understand yourself
Have you ever heard the saying 'It’s important that we listen to our bodies? Me too but sometimes that feels like the hardest job in the world. Listening to our bodies isn't always as easy as it sounds but thankfully there are ways we can work on listening to our bodies- starting with writing about how we feel daily. When you’re in a situation and you start to feel a negative emotion like stress or anger, journal about it. It’s amazing what journaling can overcover- the things you never even realised. Write about what makes you feel good too, it's all about learning more about yourself.
Overall, the key to keeping balance as the world opens its doors again is to value yourself and your time. You’re the only person that can look after you so make yourself a priority.
Blog post author: Meg Tattersley
Meg is a Journalism graduate who now works in Higher Education to support current students. She wants to use her writing to support fellow twenty-somethings as they, like her, try navigate adult life.