The Government produced a roadmap in February 2021, cautiously detailing plans to reopen life. If you have stayed indoors, you may feel anxious or uncertain about the prospect of resuming daily activities. Life after lockdown requires a readjustment of our habits and routines. Eating my weight in wine gums is a prime example of a bad habit I need to break!. As we start relaxing restrictions, here are five tips to support seniors to step out of lockdown.
- Initiate phone calls.
If you live alone or have been shielding a loved one, you may not have had as much support or as much social contact with people as you would hope. Less social interaction can cause anxiety when you meet others in person again. You may also be feeling worried about receiving less support recently. Now is the time to be proactive. Write a list of the people you haven’t spoken to in a while and call them. Telephone contact will make it easier when you meet in person. You will feel happy you did!
Remember to take baby steps.
On the 29th of March 2021, we can meet with six other people from different households outdoors. Meeting so many people at once might feel too overwhelming, to begin with, and cause unnecessary anxiety. Why not invite a friend or relative around for a coffee in the garden. If you are a carer for a loved one, it might help if you chat with a friend for support.
Make it part of your everyday.
The more we get into the habit of doing something again, the more it becomes a part of our routine. If you feel you do not have this network of support to contact, now might be the perfect time to start one. Try contacting a community organisation that offers a volunteer befriending scheme. You may wish to volunteer to support others too. Older people have invaluable life experiences. It is a perfect route to a circle of friends.
- Make changes at your own pace.
The Government pathway to relax restrictions is a guide. It does not mean you have to follow the timeline if you feel uncomfortable. You may need a while longer to adjust your routine to avoid unnecessary anxiety. What is important is you work towards changing any habits that do not support your well-being.
Write down the activities you enjoyed before lockdown.
Perhaps note down things you enjoyed doing before lockdown. Then jot down the progress you are making in achieving them. Doing this will help support positive feelings and more in control. The easing of lockdown is a gradual process. So is the process of readjusting our routines and habits.
- A Routine is Important.
Most of us have found lockdown has changed our routines. Some of these changes can be for the better. Sometimes, however, we can find the day hasn’t enough structure. Or you may feel all of your time dedicated to caring and supporting others. These instances can trigger depression and anxiety. If you have let your daily routine slip, start putting some structure back into place. Try to make time in the day for something enjoyable. Perhaps try a crossword to promote mental stimulation. Eating well and exercise is vital to our well-being too. Remember to plan a regular meal break, a rest period and exercise in your day
Make exercise part of your routine
As we age, there is an increased tendency to become less mobile if we are not moving as frequently. If you feel less confident on your feet, start including some gentle stretching and exercise in your daily routine to support muscle strength. It could be an online class or included in your household routine. Light gardening is a perfect example of good exercise. Age Uk has a sequence of exercise included on their website. Simple keep fit home exercises for older adults | Age UK
- Feeling Safe
In the past year, news has focussed on the devastating impact of Covid 19. If you feel concerned about your safety, keep a pair of gloves, hand gel and a mask on your person and remember to keep a safe distance from people. Being prepared helps you to feel more in control and reduces anxiety over personal safety. Roll out of the vaccination and phased easing of lockdown restrictions should also calm many of the fears surrounding the virus.
If you feel that low mood and anxiety have impacted beyond lockdown blues, don’t suffer in silence. Sometimes we can feel stigmatised by sharing our mental health issues with others, but we need to talk to receive the care and support we need. Good mental health is crucial to well-being. If your mental health affecting you, make an appointment with your G.P. Try writing down simple bullet points to help make it easier to have that conversation.
Hopefully, the 5 Tips to Support Seniors to Step Out of Lockdown can help you make simple changes. As we head towards spring, let’s hope for brighter days ahead, both in the weather and our life out of lockdown.