We are in a war without bombs. No noise, nothing destructive or visible but we are silently under attack. More and more of us know people who have had Covid or even died from it. We are in a seemingly endless wait and our homes have become our waiting room as well as, for some, our workplace and even school. As a mental health professional, it really concerns me how this is affecting people so I’ve made a list of possible ways to take care of ourselves now we are in full “Lockdown Fight-back” again?

1. We need to prioritise looking after our feelings and needs. This means looking inside and asking yourself on a regular basis what am I feeling?

2. From there, be gentle and acknowledge the validity of those feelings.

3. Ask yourself what you need. It may not be that you can meet that need right now, but you can acknowledge it and plan to meet it. There is a free guided meditation recording on my website (www.heathergarbutt.com) called “The Foundation for Love Meditation” which will talk you through it. It is about self-care and is particularly appropriate to this situation.

4. To raise your mood – at the end of each day, ask yourself what has been good about your day, what you can pat yourself on the back for, what you can appreciate other people for. When a lot is out of your control, you can really take charge of the emotional quality of your life by shining light in this way. Doing it together it’s great for creating connection between couples, in the family or at the end of your working day with colleagues. Each communicate 3 things in each category. It really does lift our mood and makes us more open to creative ideas and more pleasure.

5. Really evaluate what floats your boat and make sure you can do some of it. Pleasure is a cornerstone of mental health. If you like walking in the natural world, get out there and do it. If you enjoy creative craft or cooking, stock up ready for the late winter months with all the resources you’re going to need and set aside a regular time to do it. Create a project so that you have a theme to follow. Book, film and singing groups online are thriving now. If that’s what gives you joy, join one or set one up. Bring some of the early spring inside with you. Do a phone-photo project of places you walk regularly and notice the changes as the day length increases and plans and really start to come into life again. Maybe create a Facebook group to share them in.

6. Connect regularly online with like-minds, friends and people who bring you joy. Sending love and am standing at your shoulder.