How Paul Looked After His Wellbeing during Lockdown

01 July 2020

Paul, an incredible Guideposts volunteer, shares how he has looked after his wellbeing during lockdown, from having a routine to getting creative and enjoying nature.

When the UK lockdown was announced I felt very anxious and concerned for my wellbeing along with those of my family and friends. Once I had accepted the reality of the situation, I undertook the below points which helped me to maintain my mental and physical health during the crisis.

I reminded myself not to be so harsh and allow for kindness

Planning and routine

I scheduled my time one week in advance and then made daily ‘to do’ list the night before. Planning ahead as much as possible was key to my success. Most of the time I achieved my set goals but when I wasn’t able to do so, I reminded myself not to be so harsh and allow for kindness.

We all need routine as human beings and this is particularly important for autistic adults like myself. An unexpected sudden change can create internal disorientation and increase anxiety. I therefore decided to keep my normal working pattern between Monday to Friday (6am to 2pm) and then have the weekend off to relax.

Gardening

At the start of the lockdown, I decided that I wanted to get more involved in gardening and started growing cornflowers, field poppies and yellow daisies. It was fantastic to see the wild flowers grow from seed to full bloom.

I found that being outdoors and working with nature helped with my mental health. It allowed me to live in the present moment and I also enjoyed the exercise. Disconnecting from technology even for a short time during the day was important to me.

Paul’s macro photography

Photography

I enjoyed taking photos of the flowers that I mentioned above as well as bees, insects, wildlife and aircraft from RAF Brize Norton going overhead.

Photographing small objects to make them look larger in the images (macro photography), makes you really appreciate things that you would normally be missed with wider angle shots.

Exercise

Daily physical exercise allowed me to manage the stress and uncertainty that the crisis created. I particularly enjoyed running and walking around the town and gardening and spinning at home.

I discussed my routine with my GP beforehand as exercise maintains both my mental and physical health. If I had a bad day, I would do some form of exercise and I would feel better afterwards.

Paul’s macro photography

Cooking

Preparing meals and taking my time whilst eating was also important to me. With grocery delivery slots being limited at the start of the crisis and also trying to avoid visiting shops as often, I maximised my food supplies.

Meal times becomes more of a pleasure than a routine and I found that I was savouring food so much more than normal. I was paying greater attention to the flavours and smell of the food once cooked.

Staying Connected

I avoided loneliness by staying connected with family, friends and the Guideposts team. I communicated with other people via text messages, telephone calls, Microsoft Teams and Zoom video conferencing.

I also felt that I was connected with the community via my voluntary work, so I had a good idea of what was going on in the local area as well.

Paul’s macro photography

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed me and I will never see the world in the same light as I did before.

Spiritual Awakening

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed me and I will never see the world in the same light as I did before. Living in lockdown for the last few months has allowed me to rediscover what matters to me, who I am and where I am heading.

Living in the present moment, exercising, eating well and practising self-gratitude has allowed me to become a happier and more optimistic person.

Look After Your Own Wellbeing

Since lockdown began you may have noticed that you’ve started to worry more often, compulsively check the news, find it difficult to concentrate, or struggle to sleep. You may be also struggling with financial or health worries.

If you’d like to talk through any of these issues or would like support managing stress, anxiety or fatigue then you can call our support line. Our aim is to support you to feel like yourself again.

Call our support line on 0800 048 7035.

Our lines are open Monday to Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm. Calls to the support line are free.