‘Advocating a more relaxed approach’ In praise of not doing the most during lockdown 2

Whether you’re already back in lockdown or staring down the barrel of another month with little to do but stay inside, it’s hard not to feel disheartened by the tightening restrictions.

Cast your mind back to the first lockdown: many of us picked up new hobbies, baked breads, cakes and pastries, and spent every spare minute socialising on Zoom. If the idea of going through all that again fills you with dread, don’t worry – you needn’t do everything this time around.

Particularly as the weather is now much grimmer, you might not feel up for doing anything useful or productive – and that’s ok. During the first lockdown, there was an intense pressure to ‘make the most’ of the time you now had on your hands. That pressure often got overwhelming – and could lead to Zoom fatigue and a general sense of malaise.

This time, we’re advocating a more relaxed approach. If you long to bake banana bread, go for it – but don’t do it just because you think you need to post about it on Instagram. Zoom quizzes? Sure, maybe once in a while – but not once a day, like they were back in April.

Hopefully, this approach to the restrictions will make them feel more manageable. This is particularly important as the pandemic has greatly impacted our mental health – according to Mind, more than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said their mental health got worse from early April to mid-May, during the first lockdown.

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This isn’t to say you should shut yourself off from positive activities entirely. According to Mind, loneliness negatively impacted nearly two thirds of people’s mental health, so it’s crucial to stay connected to your friends and family to keep these feelings at bay. However, you can do this on your own terms – if you’re not keen on joining a hectic Zoom drinks with 20 other people, perhaps schedule a one-on-one with a close friend, or if restrictions in your area allow, go for a socially distanced walk with someone.

Ultimately, it’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself. Being under tightened restrictions when it’s cold, dark and wintery will probably feel very different to being locked down in spring or summer. Instead of forcing yourself to learn a new language or renovating your entire home, focus on the small wins and the things that make you happy. Maybe that’s doing a fun dance class on YouTube, reading that trashy book you’ve always fancied (but were too embarrassed to take on public transport), or spending an exorbitantly long time in the bath.

There’s no doubt new trends will emerge – crocheting may really have a moment, and some people will try to revive their sourdough starters – but remember, you don’t have to get involved if you don’t want to. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to start your own trend and find what works for you.