One of the Newcastle meet up Hosts, Amy, reflects on the familiar feeling of lockdown and her top tips for self-care.

A familiar feeling

Where we find ourselves in the midst of this coronavirus lockdown, it is uncharted territory for us all. We can no longer go about our daily lives, follow our normal routines, spend time with people we love. Everyone is realising how much they took for granted and is counting down the days until they can have it all back.

I, for one, am seeing how much of my daily life was taken up by doing. I was always thinking about the next thing in my day- whether that be working on an essay, going to the gym, or going over to my friends for a glass of wine. No longer able to exist in this constant state of moving from one thing to the next, I am being forced to stand still. Listen to my thoughts and not be able to run away from them by distracting myself with the next thing on my to-do list.

For those of us who are bereaved, this feeling isn’t entirely unfamiliar

Since the lockdown, I’ve found myself having similar feelings to those I felt when my Mum took her own life, over two years ago now. When she died, I felt entirely paralysed. I didn’t know what to do next. Even though I wasn’t under government instruction to stay at home, that’s what I did.

I couldn’t bring myself to make plans that went beyond being surrounded by my family where I felt safe. I was shocked, sad, and scared of what my life was now going to look like without her in it. As I graduate from university this year, I find myself feeling the fear all over again, as I step forward into a new stage of life- one that is going to be even harder to transfer into due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Survival kit

This post has been all doom and gloom so far – and I would be lying if I said I planned it to be full of sunshine and rainbows! But what I’m realising, and what I want to share with you, is the importance of recognising that the uncertainty, sadness, and anxiety that is dominating our world right now is bound to feel more difficult for those of us that have experienced the death of someone we love, especially at a young age.

Being kind to yourself, giving yourself the biggest break you possibly can, is what you deserve. Just getting through each day, and rewarding yourself for doing so, is what matters. Prioritising doing things that you find soothing is important.

I for one, am finding myself much more anxious than usual, so I’ve finished this post with a few things that are in my survival kit for getting through the days in this unsettling time, especially for us young grievers.

Exercise

I know everyone bangs on about it, but it really does make you feel good (not necessarily during, but afterwards!). I vary what kind of exercise I do, and usually it isn’t particularly intense. There are loads of free home workouts on YouTube and Instagram Live. Yoga and Pilates are especially relaxing for me and I often do it outside if the weather is sunny, as fresh air is important too.

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Watching comforting movies

I’ve been re-watching lots of my favourite Disney films. Sometimes I find watching films I haven’t seen, or new TV shows uses too much concentration, and right now I need the feel-good feeling to be guaranteed at the end!

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Reading/audiobooks

For me, absorbing myself in someone else’s life- whether they exist or not- takes me out of my own for a while. Books and audiobooks are great for this!

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Cooking

I’ve never particularly loved cooking, but at the moment I’m finding it a great thing to immerse myself in. Following simple recipes is the best way if you’re a bit unsure where to start. Plus, this ensures you’re eating fresh food, which will help you with feeling better, energy levels, and your general mood.

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Sleeping

I LOVE to sleep but making sure I go to bed and wake up at a similar time every night is helping me ensure I’m getting enough sleep as well as making sure I’m not being too much of a sloth. Oversleeping often makes me more tired and less motivated for the day. Apple Bedtime is very useful for getting into a sleep routine!

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Losing my Mum has been the hardest thing I have ever experienced. But it has made me into an infinitely stronger human being. As young grievers, we are constantly finding our way through the most difficult of life’s challenges. If anyone can handle this situation, we can!

Amy Coppel

Get in touch to share your own story or advice for others.

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