A guide to coping with life in lockdown
To cope with life in lockdown, we suggest finding a routine you can stick with, looking after your mental and physical health, and making the most of technology from home.
Find your new routine
It’s important to find a routine you can stick with, especially if you’re working from home or taking time from work.
You should try to keep your old routine as much as possible. Try to wake up, shower and get dressed, have breakfast, take breaks and eat lunch, at the same time as you would on a normal workday.
Alternatively, you can also start a new routine while on lockdown that better suits your new day-to-day. Try calling friends or family regularly, exercising at home on set days, and going for a walk at the same time every day.
Look after your mental health
Living in a lockdown can take a toll on your mental health, and it’s important to know what might be causing it, you might be worried about the future, not being able to see friends and family, and not being able to go outside for as long as you’d like to.
You can look after your mental health by making a few small changes.
Don’t spend too much time on social media
Social media can be a good way to keep in touch with your friends and family. But, being on social media too much can add to your stress or worry. There might be a lot of negative posts, and you might end up comparing yourself to how other people are coping.
If you find that you feel anxious or low when using social media, try spending less time on it. You could try limiting social media to 2 sessions of 30 minutes each day. What’s important is finding a balance that works for you.
Take a step back from the coronavirus news
Spending too much time reading the news might make you feel overwhelmed. If you do feel anxious reading the news, especially when it comes to coronavirus, you should reduce the number of articles you look into, choosing only a few trusted sources to stay updated.
You can keep up to date with government advice on how to stay safe on gov.uk without watching the news all the time.
Self-care is anything that we do to improve our mental or physical health. You can practice self-care by:
- making sure you keep a healthy diet
- exercising regularly and making sure you spend some time out of the house, as long as you’re following the government’s advice
- keeping in touch with friends and family using digital communication from home
- doing activities that help you relax like yoga or taking a bath
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Remember, this is a difficult time for everyone. It’s ok to still feel anxious or low at times, even if you have taken additional steps to look after your mental health. Everyone is in the same boat, and it’s ok if you’re finding things difficult.
Start a healthy lifestyle
Being on lockdown might be the perfect time to start a new healthy habit. If you’re already living a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to keep it up.
Eat a healthy diet
Spending more time at home is a great opportunity to get into the habit of eating healthy, homemade food. Make sure that you get at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. You can check the Eatwell Guide to see how much of your food should come from each food group.
Take regular exercise
If it’s safe for you to go outside, you can go outside once per day to exercise. You can take a walk, go for a jog, or a bike ride.
If you need to stay at home, you can still exercise regularly. There are lots of exercises that you can do at home, like yoga or pilates.
Cut down on smoking or drinking
Coronavirus is an infection that can enter your lungs. So, it’s important to cut down on smoking or stop if you can.
With pubs and restaurants closed, this might be the perfect time to cut down on drinking alcohol. Do not stop suddenly if you’re used to drinking a lot of alcohol every day. Try to cut down by a drink or two each week.
Stay connected and reconnect
Try keeping in touch with friends and family regularly. A good way to do this is to call them at the same time every day.
It’s also a great time to reach out to old friends or family members you have not spoken to for a while.
You can make the most of technology from home to keep in touch, like using video calls. Get creative!
You can also meet up with up to 6 people in an outdoor private space. You should avoid doing this regularly and across multiple households, but this a great way to make sure you’re staying social while staying safe.
Take advantage of the internet
If you need to stay at home or find it difficult to get out and about, you can take advantage of the internet to order things you need online.
- Food: supermarkets like Tesco, Asda, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s give priority delivery slots to customers who are vulnerable and cannot get out of the house.
- Medicine: you can order some medical treatments or repeat prescriptions online at Zava, or from your local GP through their online systems. Contact your GP by phone if you haven’t used their online systems before.
Coping with children in a pandemic
There are some extra things to think about during the lockdown if you’re a parent or guardian, this may mean changes to how you care for your children.
You should keep your kids at home as much as possible. If you are a key worker and cannot look after your kids at home, some childcare and early years centres will be open for you.
You should not get family members who do not live in the same house as you to look after your kids during the day.
Keeping them occupied
Older kids who are already in school will have their work sent to them. They should do their schoolwork as normal.
You should keep your kids in a similar routine as they would be if they were going to school. Try to get them to wake up, shower, have breakfast, and start schoolwork at their usual time.
Keep to their normal timetables. This might mean having the same length of lessons, keeping breaks and lunch at the same time, and finishing school at the usual time.
You can keep younger kids entertained by doing activities like arts and crafts, games, and going outside for exercise.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 24 Apr 2020
5 tips to mind your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak (2020) RTE [accessed 7 April 2020]
Coping With Life in Lockdown (2020) INSEAD [accessed 7 April 2020]
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Early years and childcare closures (2020) Department for Education [accessed 7 April 2020]
COVID-19 Lockdown Guide: How to Manage Anxiety and Isolation During Quarantine (2020) Anxiety and Depression Association of America [accessed 7 April 2020]
The Eatwell Guide (2019) NHS [accessed 7 April 2020]