Just because we have to spend more time at home and limit our social contact for a while, doesn’t mean we have to sulk on the couch, binge on Netflix, and check the fridge 15 times a day (don’t even try to tell me you’re not guilty of this!).
Instead of viewing these extraordinary times in a negative way – at best, as a hindrance and at worst, as an assault on our freedom – why not view lockdowns as an opportunity for personal growth coupled with some much-needed downtime!
During the first lockdown, even though it was a lot more unexpected, we had spring on our sides. With winter truly on its way now, days are shorter and evenings darker, so keeping upbeat is becoming more difficult.
As people who must be outside – and as outdoor people, we must! – staying home is more difficult than [insert the hardest thing you can think of]!
Here are five tips for coping with the boredom and claustrophobia of lockdowns.
1. Go for a walk or hike
The ski hills are sadly off-limits and it’s a little too early for touring. But you can still go outside for a walk or hike (be sure to check your local restrictions first)! Even just stepping outside into the fresh air and nature can help put things into perspective. I do some of my best thinking when I’m hiking or running. And the combination of fresh air and exercise seems to provide unparalleled stress relief.
2. Books, books, and more books
I am ashamed to admit that some of the books on my shelf have been living there for years, unopened (despite my best intentions). During the last lockdown with little else to do, I revisited my long-neglected bookshelf! I could – at least, briefly – escape reality by gorging on a novel for a few hours every day. Have you visited your bookshelf lately?
3. Start a new project
You can still be productive at home during lockdown! If you’re not working or studying, lockdown is a great time to start that project you keep putting off. It might a little late to plant a vegetable garden but you could grow some herbs inside or set up your own cooking blog. Have you always dreamed of starting your own business? Do it! Maybe you want to speak a new language, learn to draw or paint, or write a book? The possibilities are endless.
4. Challenge yourself
I am a massive fan of the 30-day challenge. In October, I challenged myself to run 4 km every day. Short enough that I wouldn’t get injured and just long enough to make it a challenge.
I am typically a fair-weather runner. That means running every single day requires some serious discipline, especially on cold, rainy days when the couch seems a lot more appealing! On other days, the lures of a 6 km or 10 km trail run are just too strong! In fact, part of the challenge is not running too far! Farther than 4 km could potentially impact my ability to run the following day.
Try it and see how you get on!
Not a runner? That’s ok, you can literally make a challenge out of anything: daily yoga, pilates, burpees, push-ups, or whatever.
5. Relax, take a deep breath, and meditate
As outdoor people, we often feel guilty when we’re not outside exploring a new trail or conquering a new mountain peak. This means we rarely take the time to just chill.
If you’re feeling couped up and panicky, take a moment to relax and breathe. Remember, this is only temporary and we are all in this together! When times get tough, my Mum always reminds me of the Persian adage: ‘This too shall pass!”
Turn your energy toward neglected areas of your life. You might find that once things do eventually go back to normal, your physical health and mental strength are improved and you have a more positive mindset which you can use to tackle anything the mountains throw at you.