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Light at the end of lockdown

We’ve made it through another lockdown. This time, things are different – we now have the promise of not one but three vaccines, which could finally put an end to what has been a very lonely time for many of us.

Still – there is a long way to go, and as the nights grow longer and we continue living under tiered restrictions, it can be a challeging period. Here are our top tips to beating the at-home blues, and making this dark period of the year a little brighter.

1. Get as much daylight as you can

We’ve all learned this year how good Vitamin D can be for your immune system – but don’t forget what it can do for your mood. If you work during the day, make sure you go out for a walk at lunch, or find an excuse to nip to the shop.

Of course, walking isn’t always motivating enough on its own. Not on a cold and foggy day. Could this be a chance to beat the New Year resolution crowds and take up running? Alternatively, try a game that gets you exporing like Geocaching – a great thing to do with friends.

2. Do something you enjoy every day

We loved this year’s Tesco christmas advert because it contains a message every one of us needs to hear – after this year, we all deserve to treat ourselves.

So what can you do to treat yourelf? You don’t have to buy a Groupon voucher and take a spa day (although that’s also an option) – treating yourself could be as simple putting on a favourite track of music to listen to, looking through past photos, or settling in with a good takeaway. These are small things and they’re easy to overlook – but they make a big difference.

3. Reconnect with friends or family

It is all to easy to let things slide with people you haven’t seen for a while. While some people are easy to talk to on the phone, others are the sort of people you really have to see in person. Providing restrictions in your area allow it, now is the time to reconnect with those people!

You could combine an outdoor activity with something indoors and warming: perhaps visit your local market and then going for a hot chocolate, or meet up to look at the local Christmas lights. With the streets so quiet, the lights are even more magical this year.

4. Embrace new things

We’re now so used to not being able to do things that it can take a bit of effort to get back to the variety that you had before. But it’s important to shake off the feeling of repeating the same things every day.

Challenge yourself to try something different each day or every couple of days. Luckily you don’t need wait – Christmas is the perfect time to try a new recipe or seasonal crafting project. It doesn’t all have to be at home either! Find out what’s going on in your local area – there might an outdoor carol concert you can attend.

5. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re feeling low

We all feel a bit low from time to time, but usually it is short-lived. However if it does go on for a while, don’t be afraid to recognise it and talk to someone. It may be enough to let a trusted friend know how you’re feeling, or to speak to our Guideposts Information Service team. If you have persistent low-mood it is also worth speaking to your GP.

Quick guide: What can I do?

We’ve put together a quick guide below on what you can do depending on the Tier your area is in. For full information and updates, see the GOV.UK website.

Tier 1 (Medium)Tier 2 (High)Tier 3 (Very High)
Meet with up to 6 people, indoors or outMeet with up to 6 people outside onlyMeet with up to 6 people outside and only in public spaces
Overnight stays permitted within households, support bubbles & rule of 6Overnight stays only allowed if staying with your own household / bubbleNo overnight stays permitted outside your area, except for work or education
Table service only in pubs and restaurants. Last orders 10pm.Pubs & bars can only open if operating as restaurants. Last orders 10pm.Only takeaway and delivery services from pubs and restaurants
Minimise movements and work from home if possibleMinimise the journeys you make. Avoid travelling into Tier 3 areasAvoid travelling except where necessary
Shops, gyms, personal care, and leisure venues can openShops, gyms, personal care, and leisure venues can openShops, gyms and personal care can open. Indoor leisure venues close.

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