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Lockdown anxiety is real. Here's one small thing that may help.

It's no surprise that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an increase in anxiety symptoms for many people, many of whom may not have struggled with anxiety in the past. For those who already do battle with anxiety, this period may have caused a setback to their progress and a relapse in symptoms. In any case, many of us are struggling.

Lockdown, isolation, and the constant barrage of doom coming at us from the news and social media, can lead to significant psychological instability. Uncertainty and unpredictability brings with it a lot of nervousness, anxiety, hopelessness and fear. The future, even the very near future, is unpredictable and unstable right now. Things are changing daily, we're at sea.

One small thing that is helpful during these times is routine. Nothing offsets uncertainty and instability better than ritual and routine. It's safe. Soothing, even.

Now, by routine I don't mean scheduling your day by the hour - ie. wake up at 8, eat by 9, walk the dog at 10 etc etc this kind of rigid scheduling can feel overwhelming, and can add additional pressure that an already stressed mind really does not need.

Here's the version of routine I have been suggesting to my clients the last couple of weeks, and the feedback that I have received is that it has been helpful.

Come up with three mini-routines made up of three actions that you do in the same order at the same period each day.

Those three periods are:

  1. When waking

  2. At sundown

  3. Before bed

Some ideas for your routines:

  • stretch for 10 minutes,

  • shower or bathe,

  • dress or change

  • take a short walk

  • open/close blinds and windows

  • make a cup of tea

  • water plants

  • call someone

  • fill out a journal or gratitude diary

  • walk the dog

  • dance/sing/play some music

  • meditate.

Ok yes, there is nothing earth shattering in the above list. You are probably already doing most of these things, or a similar list of things, as it is. But the key is not to just to do it, it's to do it at roughly the same point each day, in the same order. To build a routine. To integrate some ritual into your day.

Try it, you'll be surprised how much stability you can find in routine.

You can also find some other information and tips regarding lockdown fatigue here.

Article author:

Clinical Psychologist

B Psych (Hons), M Psych (Clin), MAPS

Elizabeth Talbot is a Clinical Psychologist and the Principal Psychologist at Clinical Therapy. Whilst Elizabeth enjoys her clinical work, she is also a lover of behavioural science and has a keen research interest in the psychology of decision making, moral reasoning, cognitive biases, magical thinking, and conspiratorial beliefs.

Content note: Unless otherwise labelled, all blog posts are intended as discussion pieces, and are not academic texts. Articles pertaining to research or making an academic argument will be labelled as such and include supporting evidence/references. All examples (including client names) are fictitious, to illustrate a point, and are not based on actual clients.

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