How to be kind to yourself in lockdown

Being kind to yourself all day every day isn’t easy at the best of times, so it can be a lot harder when you’re stuck indoors most days with only yourself as company.

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week as I’m writing this, and this year the theme is kindness. Something that we all need to be showing now more than ever, to loved ones, strangers and ourselves.

I’m someone that puts the needs of others before my own, and will go the extra mile to ensure that the people in my life are treated well and happy before myself. I don’t practice what I preach a lot of the time but I know that it’s a process.

In this post, I want to focus on how to be kind to yourself, especially when a lot of us are still in lockdown. Which seems to be getting harder to cope with as it goes on, anyone else feeling that way?

So here are some things I’ve been trying to do to show kindness and compassion to myself when it seems quite difficult. I hope it inspires you to be a little bit more kind to yourself too.

Listen to your mind and body

Sometimes, you might wake up and just think to yourself “not today”. Maybe you’d planned to go for a run, get a lot of work done, or just wanted to embrace the day with a smile. You have to listen to your body and accept that some days you just can’t get on with things as planned.

This last week or so, I’ve woken up pretty much every day and just thought “I can’t do this much longer” because I miss normal life. So on those days I’ve accepted that my to-do list won’t be full of ticks, and I’ve just challenged myself to get through that day and hope tomorrow is better.

Next time you wake up and feel mentally or physically unable to do something, don’t sweat it. Your mind and body know what you need so listen to them. (Apart from if you’re like me and have been making excuses for not exercising properly for 4 weeks now).

Take a day off

I’ve struggled with poor mental health in the past, and definitely since working full-time too. However, I’ve never been able to bring myself to take a day off sick due to my mental health even thought I have really wanted to.

We are all human, and sometimes need to just take a step back from things. While taking days off work for physical health reasons more common, there is still a stigma around doing the same for mental health.

With your work, it may come down to company policy on how you approach taking a day off sick for your mental health. However it’s important to realise that sick leave for mental health reasons is sometimes just as needed as physical health. It is completely okay to just set your university or school work aside too and come back to it when you’re feeling better.

As I write this section, I have actually just spent half of my day off sick due to my mental health. I had just been feeling that the anxiety around coronavirus and the impact it’s had on my day-to-day life, paired with the stress of work, has just gotten too much. I feel a whole lot better for doing it, even though it has just been half a day, as it’s just shown me that I have the ability to say “okay things have got too much and I need some time for me”.

Don’t put pressure on yourself

At the start, a tweet was doing the rounds that said if you don’t come out of this with a new skill or business idea, you’ve wasted an opportunity. In my opinion, that was the most damaging thing that anyone could read at the time. This is not a productivity competition, it’s a horrible situation.

People may have found themselves with a lot of free time, but that time should be spent doing anything and everything to ensure that their mental and physical health stay protected.

For those of you that might be feeling more productive than ever, remember to check in with yourself and make sure you’re taking breaks and aren’t overworked. Here’s some advice I wrote previously on unwinding after the working day and how to switch off an overly productive brain.

Get to know yourself and what you love

Learning to love yourself and your own company is a really difficult thing. You shouldn’t beat yourself up if you don’t like being alone with yourself or if you don’t love what you’re all about as a young adult, as long as you take the steps to fix that.

Try to spend a bit of time each day just by yourself, sat quietly with no distractions. If your brain starts to overthink, try to understand what could be done to resolve that and make some mantras to repeat to yourself daily. See what sorts of activities you think about – maybe you’d like to put some music on to fill the silence, want to go for a bike ride or fancy reading a book.

Observe what sorts of things arise when you’re not distracted and try to understand the types of activities and hobbies you enjoy. That way, when you’re feeling a bit down or lonely, you have things to switch your attention to that can make you feel better about yourself.

Know that it’s okay to feel sad or cry

We’re in a horrible situation at the minute, and sadly don’t seem to have an end date in sight. It is so important that you are kind to yourself when you’re feeling upset at the minute or just ever, generally.

It doesn’t matter if your friend is out of a job at the minute, you’re allowed to be upset that your work is stressing you out. It’s okay to be upset if a job you set your heart on didn’t work out. You’re allowed to feel sad that your holiday got cancelled.

Don’t ever compare what you’re experiencing to whether someone else might have it ‘worse’. You can only experience and embrace the feelings that you have, so treat yourself kindly when you don’t feel one hundred percent.

As I’ve already said, learning to love yourself and all of the emotions that come with being you is a process. It takes time and a lot of setbacks, but it’s such an important thing to learn as a young adult.

I’m still learning, and feel that writing this post has allowed me to understand what I need to do every day to be kind to myself.

I hope that everyone is treating themselves with the same copious amounts of love and care that they show to everyone around them. It isn’t easy at the minute and you have every right to feel sad, just don’t make it worse by being mean to yourself.

For anyone that needs to talk to a professional about their mental health or situation, please visit the NHS to find mental health helplines.

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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. This is a lovely post with some great tips. It’s so important to be kind to yourself at the moment and a reminder of that is super useful xx

    1. Maddie

      Thank you so much, yes it really is important! Thanks for your comment xx

  2. Inside The Voyage

    I absolutely love this post. Self-care is so important and I think people need to be reminded that it’s okay to cry sometimes x

    1. Maddie

      Thank you so much. I totally agree, I’m glad you think so too xx

  3. Jaya Avendel

    Knowing yourself is one of the best ways to know what you need and when it is okay to take a break without layering yourself up in guilt. Deep soul-searching questions are not easy to answer, but I feel like they bring us closer to who we are inside.
    Love your tips for coming one step closer to happiness!

    1. Maddie

      I completely agree Jaya. It’s not easy but taking a few moments here and there to try and understand ourselves can do us the world of good. Thank you very much 😊

  4. NatGutmor

    I’m so glad I found this today! Knowing ourselves and allowing our own weaknesses to show is very hard, and requires enormous strength. Thank you for sharing!


    1. Maddie

      Ahh I’m glad it was useful for you! It really is so difficult but something we all need to do 😊

  5. Lindsey

    Loved reading this! I was certainly feeling the pressure of everyone saying that you need to come out with a new skill when I was struggling to just adapt what was going on. I’ve never taken a day for mental health before but I’ve definitely thought about it and regretted now. Thanks for sharing, there are some great tips here!

    1. Maddie

      I’m so glad! It can be so difficult to accept that you need to take a day for your mental health, but I found it so liberating to do so. Thank you so much 😊

  6. Sumedha

    Lovely post! Today is actually my spontaneous day off where the thing I let go was working out. I rolled in bed for a long time and took my time, which I really needed. Taking a day off helps a lot.

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad to hear that taking a day off was a refreshing break for you!

  7. It is a great post and these tome really requires us to be positive and self aware

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much, definitely!

  8. Nyxinked

    This is an excellent reminder for such a difficult time. It’s easy for us all to start going mad and guilt tripping ourselves into learning a new language etc, but really we should just be chilling out and taking time to ourselves. Life is too busy outside this pandemic, so make the most of it and let yourself rest.

    1. Maddie

      Definitely, I really agree we just need to take this time to rest! Thank you 🙂

  9. John Aiwone

    Sorry to hear you were ill yesterday Maddie. Hope you’re feeling yourself (well I’m sure you are at the time of typing). Yeah you’re 100% right on everything, taking some time away from things if you’re not feeling up for it at the time is perfectly okay and healthy to do. You’re only human at the end of the day and not a machine. Forcing yourself to do things you’re mentally not in the space for puts more pressure and stress on you.

    By the way the fitness Instructor side of me is telling you to get back to exercising asap!

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

    1. Maddie

      Thanks Johnny. Yes I’m feeling better after a nice long weekend! Definitely, we’re all human and need some time out. Haha you’ll be pleased to know I did some exercise over the weekend! Thanks for your comment😀

  10. Sakshi Raina

    This is such an important post! In the past, I have always beaten myself up when I took a break or a day off but sooner i realised that it’s okay to take a breather when things get hard. It’s okay to take a day off, regain back the energy and kick some ass the next day 😉

  11. nortoncharity

    This is such a great post. It is very important to be kind to yourself during this time. It’s a strange time and we’ve never gone through something like this before, so you definitely need to give yourself some grace on how you feel and act during this time. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Monika Gil

    This post is so important! Mental health is something that when it’s broken it is hard to go back to normal. That’s why we all have to take care of our mental health!
    Amazing post my love x

    1. Maddie

      Thank you – you’re welcome!

  13. Lauren Kenny

    This is so important! It can be hard to remember to look after yourself sometimes x

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! It really can x

  14. abigailtrombley

    This is super important! I think something as simple as taking a break can be so useful and overlooked. Especially when you take a break in the middle of the day or when you’re “supposed to” be productive!

    1. Maddie

      Definitely! It’s so hard to get the balance!

  15. Giulia

    Good advice, we are so hard on ourselves and often just go go go and don’t really listen to our body. Or take a day to just be without working to regroup.

    1. Maddie

      Thank you. I totally agree, we need to take a break sometimes!

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