Melbourne Lockdown Number Six - Six Ways I Stay (Mostly) Sane

To say that many Melbournians are feeling a little maddened by our sixth lockdown would be an understatement. Social media posts are showing us starting to come apart at the seams, bickering amongst ourselves like grounded teenagers. 

To be honest, life isn't so different for me. I still went to the shops, like a normal Friday. But I'm frustrated by my efforts at trying to teach new classes in belly dance and tarot. I started with two brand new groups, after months of marketing—and now our term of classes has been stalled until who knows when.

So rather than dwelling on a feeling of treading water, surrounded by sharks, I'm going to focus on the things I do at home that make it a great place to be. The emphasis is on creating a warm nest, instead of a padded cell.

1. Routine

Maintaining a routine that is as close to normal as possible really helps to stay connected to time, space and security. There's something instinctively comforting about daily routines. Our pets know this, instinctively moving through their days in ritualised ways.

2. Sleeping

Although it might be tempting to stay up all night binge-watching, maintaining a sleep pattern that is as close to normal as possible has a positive effect on many levels. Having a winding-down routine at night helps to notify your system that it's time to rest. A few simple routines performed at the same time each day, help to transition you from action to rest. Simple, non-stimulating activities are best; like your tooth brushing routine, or changing into sleep clothes. If you're a reader, make it a difficult book that you want to read, but puts you to sleep. Last thing at night is not the time for page-turning thrillers. If, like me, you're an afternoon napper, it can be tempting to lose time and sleep for too long. I find that it helps to have some music in the background, so that I can sense the passing of time, and wake up after a couple of songs. It stops day naps from interfering with night sleep. 

3. Meaningful Activity

Being stuck at home will highlight the content of your life. What are you interested in? And are those interests included in your home life? Or you might be like me, with a head full of ideas, just waiting for the right time to act. Lockdown can be an opportunity to fulfil some wishes. If you're lacking in confidence or even skill, don't worry, you can enrol in courses and learn just about anything online these days. It's a great way to build your skills and confidence at the same time, without even leaving your comfort zone at home. You can download digital copies of most books for next to nothing. You can watch just about anything you've ever wanted to watch on TV for free, or the price of a subscription fee. The main thing is that your activity is meaningful to you. Do what you love doing. I wouldn't be caught dead doing a jig-saw puzzle, but if that's meaningful to you, go for it. You might like to keep a list in your Reminders App; of things you would like to learn about, read or watch. Lists like these can really help when you're so bored your brain has closed. 

4. Clean and Clear

This one is the least favourite for most of us. But it's almost spring. So we may as well start spring cleaning. It might sound boring, but we will be out of lockdown at some stage. And daylight savings is coming. Better to be bent over a cupboard now while you're warm inside—and trapped. Even one small task will make you feel that tiny bit better. I watched a video recently where the presenter suggests that keeping your kitchen tidy is an instant mood lifter, and I have to agree. Walking into the kitchen and seeing the sun reflect off clean surfaces does give me a bit of a lift. 

5. Indoor Exercise

It doesn't have to be hard. Incorporating some stretches into our daily routines can help us feel better while we're inside. You can do yoga and dance classes online, but you don't need a formal class to get yourself moving. For me, putting on some favourite music is often enough. I mean I know that I still need to get outside for a walk, but on the days that I just can't face wearing a mask, it's great to be able to keep moving inside. A tip I learnt recently from a masseuse, is to lie on my back on the bed, with my upper body hanging over the edge. It's a fabulous stretch for undoing the knots I create in my back sitting at the computer. Start with just the back of your head at first, then progress gradually, over a few sessions, to opening up the chest and back as you hang upside down over the edge. Don't hang so far you fall on your head!

6. Make Food
Here's a pic of what I've been making: curry vegetables and rice, bread rolls, sultana scrolls and a jar of stewed apples.

No matter what's going on, you'll need food. Baking is one of the ways I entertain myself on weekends, when I'm not out with my friends. Cakes, biscuits, muffins, bread; whatever I feel like. Not only will you save money by cooking for yourself, you save the environment by using less packaging—which is my favourite reason to cook for myself. And besides, almost every time, it tastes better home made. 

Tonight I'm using a combination of cooking and indoor exercise. After stewing up a bag of apples, I'll be popping on some of my favourite dance music to dance into the night. There may be wine! Let's call it a house party.

Whatever you're doing, stay safe and warm. X

P.S. I'll post a pic of what I've been cooking up!

Leanne Margaret © 2021

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