Thursday, 7 May 2020

Livin' La Vida Loca in Lockdown

Emma shares the activities that have been helping her with her mental health during the Coronavirus lockdown.
- Emma Cooper-Raeburn


In these current circumstances, you may, like me, be feeling incredibly overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and constantly wishing for things to go back to normal. You miss visiting friends and family; You are longing for an eat out at your favourite restaurants; and in the recent heatwave, you just wish you could have fun outside. While not being able to do these things that I’ve always enjoyed, being stuck inside has made me develop new strategies and hobbies that I would never participate in. 

For me, everything changed so suddenly. I went home for the weekend. By Monday, my university had shut down and we were all advised to move out of our student accommodation. If like me, you’re struggling to cope with change, then you may also have found this process incredibly challenging. Despite my anxiety is at an all-time high, I’ve found these following activities very useful in terms of taking my mind off things and helping me to relax in this odd and uncertain time. 

Listening to Music 

This may seem obvious but right now music has never been more important. I’ve always found that listening to my favourite types of music and getting lost in the lyrics instantly relaxes me and puts my mind at ease. Especially at this moment in time, I’ve found myself listening to music much more often. Right now is the perfect opportunity to discover new artists, bands and songs you love and keep your favourite smaller artists thriving. Smaller musicians will be struggling a lot right now. They rely on gigs and fans streaming their music in order to keep their careers alive. I highly recommend listening to different playlists on your music streaming service of choice. What I have found really helpful is putting on my favourite radio station instead of the news. This not only helps me to manage the information overload about the pandemic but also allows me to listen to some of my favourite tunes and discover some songs I may not have heard before! 

Being Arty Honestly

I cannot draw if my life depended on it. However, I’ve discovered that finding a colouring book and some good quality colourful pens (sharpies are a pretty safe option) has really helped me to concentrate on something else other than the news. I may not be able to draw the pictures I’m colouring in, but I love putting different colours together to bring an average picture of an everyday object to life. I tend to get through one picture a day, so I don’t grow tired and bored of doing the same thing. Colouring is something that passes time. It also works extremely well with my new routine of listening to music or the radio. It’s the perfect combination. Obviously, if you love drawing then draw until your hearts content. But for more beginner artists like myself, get on the internet and treat yourself to a colouring book is an easy start. 

Jogging 

P.E was my most hated subject at school. I’m rubbish at sport and I would much rather curl up with a book or a movie than exercise and be all sweaty. HOWEVER, hear me out, going for a run every second day has really helped me to clear my mind and get my hours’ exercise out the way. Don’t get me wrong, I stop for a breath every few minutes. But by the end of my run, I always feel so much better about myself and my attitude is much more positive. I highly recommend downloading an app specifically for running. Right now I’m loving the ‘Couch to 5K’ app by the BBC. Its structure is absolutely perfect for me. You can choose from a range of different celebrities to guide you through every run. Personally, I enjoy going for my run in the early evening—not only there aren’t many people about to see me on the verge of passing out, I also find myself getting better sleep when I run at night. It has always been difficult for me to get motivated for a run, however, creating a playlist especially for running and listening to it always makes me want to move. 

I hope that these activities can help you as much as they have helped me. It is perfectly okay to experience some days when all you want to do is snuggle back under your duvet and eat junk food all day, but I recommend creating a routine that helps you find some sense of stability and control. I enjoy making to-do lists each night before I go to sleep because it makes me feel more motivated for the next day. It’s also really satisfying scoring something off from the list and seeing a productive day done and dusted. 

Find out more about looking after your mental health during the outbreak here




My name is Emma Cooper-Raeburn and I am a Journalism Student at Edinburgh Napier University. I think it's so important to talk about mental health and realise that it's perfectly okay to feel certain emotions. I wanted to share my lockdown top tips to possibly help others who may also be finding this experience difficult!



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