Finding joy during lockdown can certainly be tricky!
As any amount of isolation and loneliness can impact on our mental health and steal our joy. This can be down to different reasons which are out of our control, like chronic illnesses, disabilities, mental illnesses (anxiety & depression) or the Covid- 19 pandemic that’s taking its toll on our world at this time.
This isolation and loneliness is to be expected and the impact this has on people’s mental health is phenomenal!
“Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety. Meanwhile, COVID-19 itself can lead to neurological and mental complications, such as delirium, agitation, and stroke. People with pre-existing mental, neurological or substance use disorders are also more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection.” *1
No wonder finding joy through lockdown and within these other circumstances and situations, mentioned above, is hard to do! And I’m certainly no stranger to this! (As have had NCS for 23 years now- my story is Here if you want to find out more.) But over the years I’ve learnt new ways to seek that joy again.
Finding Joy in Lockdown
Journaling is kind of new, I used to keep a diary and write in in occasionally when things were tough last year. But I’ve learnt that in order to find joy, addressing the thoughts and feelings going on inside and bringing them to the surface and out onto paper is a good way of releasing them. As opposed to supressing them, as all this does is reduce your mood, build up emotions until they get to the point of wanting to A. Explode or B. Come out in unwanted behaviours, attitudes and words which can impact not only on yourself but others too.
Phone a friend. Speak to or spend time with (if possible) a family member, children, friend, or someone you trust. Again, this has the same results as that of journaling. Only this way, you may be able to receive comforting words, perhaps advice, or simply result in “a problem shared is a problem halved.” Either way, if you can, speak to someone you trust. (Relationships have a huge impact to our mental health, both positively and negatively.) Otherwise there are helplines available for those needing to talk to someone. For instance, in the UK, the Samaritains. Or search online for a helpline near you.
Eat better. This can be a tough one, especially on those cold rainy days! Eating carbs and sugar is very tempting and I get that! I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with carbs and sugar, but as long as its in moderation. I recommend keeping a balanced diet, as opposed to abstaining from these completely. Because, as we all know, we are more likely to cave in and binge otherwise. I like to figure out meals in advance and just having one or two slightly healthier treats in the cupboard (E. g. smoothies, unsalted nuts, vegetables and hummus or dark chocolate) and make them last until the next big shop. As piling up on one thing can make us feel sluggish and tired.
Help someone. How does it make you feel when you give someone a gift or help someone out? It feels good, doesn’t it? Not that we do it to make ourselves feel better! But it is proven that offering and helping someone else out can increase your joy. So let’s do it. There’s plenty of people out there who may need help of some sort. On Facebook there is a page for people to offer or request help during this covid period.
Be thankful. Another thing I learnt is to be thankful for things in my life and the world. As opposed to focussing on the negative, it’s good to remind ourselves of what we do have. And the good that’s in the world. I know it doesn’t seem like there’s much but there is always something. For instance; the beauty in the world- nature, sunsets, flowers. Make a note of three things you are grateful today. Even comment these below to encourage and inspire others.
Try something new. A new hobby, craft, activity. I’ve started the violin and love getting creative with bible journaling. But there is an endless list of possibilities: needlework, baking, gardening, making Christmas cards to name just a few! Call it trial and error, keep trying new things until you find something that you enjoy.
Music. Create a playlist of your favourite music, but make sure they will lift your spirits and not dampen them or bring you down! Here’s my list of ‘Mood Boosting Worship Songs’.
I believe that music is key, for experiencing Joy, as it can have such an impact on our mood.
Why don’t you give it a try?
Then let us know in the comments below for any additional things that bring you joy in your life that you can share with others.