Wellbeing in the Age of Covid-19, or How I learnt to Lack Laments and Love Lockdown

by Oscar Francis

Lockdown means that daily life changes very quickly. Things you take for granted, like going to class and seeing friends becomes impossible overnight. Here are ten top tips for going from surviving to thriving in quarantine:

1) Scan in and wear a mask 

First things first: scan in and wear a mask. You might have heard the advice “act as if you have the virus,” this goes doubly for public spaces. Respect the people around you and especially those who work essential jobs. We’re all one big team responsible for keeping each other safe.  

2) Don’t Panic (Shop)

Don’t rush to the super when a lockdown is announced. It’s still going to be open in the morning. Aside from the risk of spreading the virus, selfishly stockpiling is likely to cause problems for the people who can least afford it. Make a list (organised according to the layout of the supermarket) and co-ordinate with your flatmates to shop sparingly instead.

3) Keep a Routine 

Go to bed and wake up at a normal time. Enjoy normal meals at normal times. Get dressed (and don’t forget to put on pants!). Don’t use lockdown as an excuse to stay up all night or use substances as a crutch (that includes caffeine!). Remember to stay active by exercising too — its great for your mental health. [Text Wrapping Break]

4) Don’t Doomscroll

Like they say: “doomscrolling is bad for the soul.” There might be a 24 hour news cycle, but you’ve most likely got a uni assignment to focus on. Keep up with the bulletins, but be conscientious and directed about what media you consume, and how long you consume it for. If you find yourself getting sucked in to the social media trap, its time to put your phone down. Try reading a book or going for a walk instead.  

5) Stay in Touch

Keeping in touch with friends and whānau is a key element of staying well in lockdown. Because you can’t see the people you usually get to see going about your day, it means it’s important to make a little extra effort. Try messaging a friend you haven’t talked to for ages, or giving your grandparents a ring!

6) You’re Not Working From Home, You’re at Home Trying to Work in a Crisis

Don’t stress if you’re finding working from home stressful. Put your health first, and don’t make yourself work longer hours to compensate. Remember that lockdown is a an attempt to preempt the acute phase of a global pandemic, so things get evaluated differently. Don’t sweat the small stuff, but if your employer is putting you at risk, reach out to your union, a journalist, or student support.  

7) Be Kind  

Be kind, both to yourself and to other people. You might be sick of hearing this slogan, but the social science supporting it is solid for sure. When people are having a hard time, they tend to lash out. Making an extra effort to be kind goes a long way to make sure that we’re all supporting each other and not letting our emotions get the better of us.  

8) Ask for Help

Its important to ask for help. Try journalling as a way to process your emotions. Dealing with your feelings in a constructive way is going to help you, and the people around you too. If you feel like you’re going down in a depressive spiral, the last thing you probably want to do is talk to someone — but it’s definitely going to help. Get in touch with a trusted friend or family member, even if its just to say hi.

9)Park up

Make yourself comfy. Make a space to relax, and a space to work. Decide a few activities for recreation, like reading a book or getting into a particular genre of film. Maybe you’re going to spend the lockdown learning yoga. A little planning ahead will go a long way to making sure you can make the most of lockdown. But don’t beat yourself up if you can’t reach the goals you set yourself. 

10) Have Fun 

Lockdowns are hard because of a strange combination of fear and FOMO. But the flipside is that lockdown can also be an amazing opportunity to reevaluate our relationships with each other and society. Try these fun ideas with your bubble-mates:

-Build some bread

-Try some Tiktoks

-Organise a flatmate Olympics

-An art afternoon 

-Lockdown disco