We asked Positive News readers to share their lockdown coping strategies to help others stay resilient. From storytelling on Zoom to learning sign language, this is how you are muddling through
Sifting through the responses to our request for lockdown coping strategies has been an uplifting exercise at a time when strict new measures are coming into force across Europe in the run-up to Christmas.
It was inspiring to discover just how many readers have been using the opportunity of enforced downtime to pick up an instrument or learn a new language. The desire to create – from baking to writing stories – was a common thread. So was reading, Zooming and spending time outdoors. Whether in gardens, for those lucky enough to have one, or public spaces, many of you took solace in nature.
Such was the response we are unable to publish all the coping strategies we received. We are sorry if yours didn’t make it into this list, which we hope will inspire others during this period of isolation and uncertainty.
“Looking for something positive in [the] every day. My mother, who lived in occupied Poland during the second world war, taught me this.” Anita Johnson
“Finding a family activity. We learnt sign language by YouTube every night.” Melissa Nathan
“We were shielding, so couldn’t go out and help others. Instead we ‘helped’ one person or group per week by sending a gift or donating to a cause. We sent little gifts to our friends’ kids, gave vouchers to people, donated to food banks. It’s true that helping others helps you too.” Catherine D Longson
“Walking on the National Forest Way, a little bit more every Sunday. There are loads of really good footpaths in Britain through beautiful countryside which are still great at this time of year.” Neil Brown
“Looking for the positive and embracing opportunities we may not have had otherwise. My husband worked from home. My children loved having him around more. We reverted back to a simpler time where schedules weren’t based around birthday parties and playdates.” Jodi Schmidt
“Get out of the house, even if just to sit on your doorstep.” Laney DeShetler
“I decided to find something beautiful every day to take a photo of and post it on social media.” Chris Grayston
“Journal every morning 10 things you are grateful for.” Lisa Michelle
“Make something. Bake, knit, crochet, draw, write – switch off the news and get busy making something.” Kathleen Young
“I was so anxious in March that I had to visit the doctor because of panic attacks. So, I made a simple decision that changed everything. I stopped listening, watching or reading any news. I stopped looking at social media. I asked my husband to tell me what I really needed to know and then got on with life one day at a time, enjoying gardening, crafts, cooking and the sunshine like never before in my life. No more distraction and no more trying to understand all the world’s events. My brain had space once it was freed from constantly trying to find solutions to things I had no control over. Some people just haven’t got the capability to deal with all that the over-hyped news programmes throw at them and can’t cope with all the problems that they can’t do anything to change. So, if you’re one of those, give it all up… except for Positive News that is.” Linda
“I decided to make birthday cakes for all my friends in lockdown living in London, and hand-deliver them by bike (and write about it). It: a) made me feel as though I was helping others by showing I was thinking of them and giving them a real person to talk to in a socially distanced way; b) gave me a creative purpose; c) got me out and exercising (and exploring London like I had never done before).” Valerie Saint-Pierre
“Other than eating well and going for a walk nearly every day, our key was (and still is) making sure we end the day with a laugh by watching an old comedy show on TV. Initially Citizen Khan, then Last of The Summer Wine and now The Vicar of Dibley; nothing violent, just gentle humour.” Jan Burch
“Something that really got me through the first lockdown was routine, planning ahead, even if parts of my day were planned to fill in once I knew what I fancied doing. I really benefited from structure.” Jade Heron
“I started an encouraging Tumblr for my friends, family and social media [followers], where I’d post encouraging stories which I’d find on the internet, funny cartoons, uplifting books, music and movies along with recipes and arts and craft ideas.” Katherine Harold
“As children we used to love being read to and it was a tradition on Christmas Day that our father would read a spooky ghost story to us by candlelight. My brother Adrian started reading ghost stories to the family on Zoom during lockdown, this led on to a huge variety of short stories. Sharing a story in this way has continued as a weekly tradition. It has brought us closer as an extended family. It is very different to purchasing an audiobook, more personal and there is a feeling of togetherness.” Alyson Canton
Get out of the house, even if just to sit on your doorstep
“I went for a walk every day and using my FitBit targeted 10,000 steps a day. I would also do one of the many online exercise classes – my personal favourites were Heather Robertson, who has a great combination of variety and uplifting music, and Lita Lewis because of her infectious positivity.” Greg Aslangul
“The main thing for me is planning. I may not be meeting up with friends for coffee or going on nights out but I make sure my calendar has calls and virtual activities with friends and family as well as planning in solo activities like watching a movie, getting a takeaway, even completing a jigsaw or (more recently…) learning Italian online.” Anna Foley
“A lockdown strategy that works for me is going on regular a ‘walkie talkie’ with a friend. We arrange to call at the same time every week, and always have our chat while out walking. It feels like walking with a friend by your side, and seems to help our conversations become deeper, more exploratory and more meaningful than it would be if we were both sitting in our respective homes. Our walkie-talkies are scheduled for 8am on a Monday morning – a lovely positive start to the week.” Erica Bower
“Treat yourself. Put the diet on the side for now – [it’s] not the most important thing in these hard times, your mental health is.” Filomena Fragione
“Meditation. Taking time out of my day to reflect, appreciate the things I’m thankful for and de-stress was very useful and I’ve managed to keep up the habit so am sure it’ll help this time too.” Jeff ‘The Savvy Scientist’
“Using lockdown as an opportunity to get on with projects I never have time for, like organising all my photos. This really helped me find meaning and purpose in the lockdown time.” Sandy Murthy
“Acceptance is what helped me to cope during the first lockdown. A recognition that the pandemic was bigger than any resistance that I could muster. So, I yielded to the situation and focused on what I could control: me, my wellbeing and following health advice.” Bella
Main image: Kinga Cichewicz
This is an updated version of an article originally published on 10 November 2020.