The situation in both Barcelona and across the globe regarding the Coronavirus pandemic has taken a more serious turn. As cases have begun to rise once more, and as the weather becomes colder again, we live in strange times of tighter restrictions in the activities we can do.
In Barcelona since the 14th of October, bars and restaurants have been closed and permitted to only offer delivery service, but that no customers may enter inside. Then, since October 30th, the Catalan government introduced even tighter restrictions on the residents of Catalonia, with a nightly curfew imposed, shops over 800m2 in size forced to shut, and cultural activities such as theatres, cinemas and concert halls closed also.
It is an incredibly disheartening time to be living in, when all of the usual daily joys of life seem to have been taken away with no indication of when they will be reinstated. Now, more than ever, it is paramount to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of yourself and your loved ones.
We write this blog not only with the goal of helping you keep occupied and doing activities to bring joy, but also with advice on how to take care of yourself for the times you can’t keep busy too.
1. Check in with your friends and family
With the new restrictions on staying inside past 9pm in Barcelona, and elsewhere in places such as the UK that enter a new full lockdown, it can be nigh impossible to meet up with your loved ones in person.
Confinement goes against our social human nature and can have a negative effect on our mood. The best way to still feel connected is to ensure that you’re making time to check in with family and friends by making a phone call, or even better calling by facetime to be able to see their faces. Even a ten-minute call per week can help you feel closer to people despite not yet being able to meet up in person.
I’m sure no one can forget the banana bread craze at the start of lockdown in March (and most likely you don’t want to see another loaf for at least an extra decade), but baking is an excellent, feel-goodway to pass the time in the house!
With the Christmas period approaching soon, what better time than to get into the festive spirit with some winter bakes. One of the most popular traditional desserts of Catalonia is the infamous torró or turron, a nougat bar with several varieties to choose from – really simple to make, try this recipe to impress your family!
3. Keep active and moving
While it can be tempting to lie in bed tucked under the covers all day when there’s no reason to leave the house, this does no favours for your mental health! It doesn’t need to be a gruelling, bootcamp style workout that has your neighbours knocking on the door to ask if there’s an earthquake, just something you enjoy that gets your blood pumping.
Lots of people on social media apps such as Tik Tok and Instagram share their home workout routines for people to try, or even by searching for stretching routines on YouTube you will find a mountain of options to choose from. Your body will thank you after months of bad posture sat slumped at your desk!
4. Set up a regular daily routine
When the normal time construct of wake up, go to work, have lunch, come home, go to the gym, and so on, has been removed, it can be hard to form any sort of routine at all. Having daily habits helps to organise your time during the day, helping you to feel focused and not overwhelmed by the things you have to do that day.
Fill your morning routine with self-care to start the day off positively – wake up and have a coffee or tea without mindlessly scrolling through social media. Write down all the things you’d like to have completed by the end of the day, and then set aside time for things you enjoy like watching films, baking, calling your friends. Creating a separation between work and fun is so important mentally, so try to stick to your normal working hours and keep the laptop shut after this time!
5. Pick up a creative hobby
Thinking positively, you will most likely never have more time than you do currently to try out learning a new instrument, painting a picture, or writing that novel you’ve always wanted to write! It doesn’t need to be a masterpiece or critically acclaimed piece, just something you enjoy that gets you feeling creative.
Treat yourself to some good paints, a new instrument or some new speakers to play while you dance around your house. Keeping creative and fun is such a mood booster, now more than ever!
6. Get enough sleep
Tying in with a good daily routine, getting a regular sleep schedule is essential for helping you have enough energy to take on every new day. Getting enough sleep helps your mental sharpness, emotional well-being and energy level.
If you’re waking up to work from home feeling tired, how can you feel positive and motivated to keep from just working in bed? It’d be a big ask of anyone, so be kind to yourself and start winding down for sleep in the evening, avoiding screens, with a hot bath and a herbal tea.
7. Watch all the really long films that you usually don’t have time for
Whether you live alone, with roommates, your partner, or family, everyone enjoys a cosy night on the sofa watching a film. Now’s the time to venture out of watching the same movies you’ve seen a thousand times, and explore those three-hour long marathon films that’ve been recommended countless times.
To save money on buying individual films, it’s a good idea to get a subscription to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO, or whatever floats your boat! There are thousands of options to choose between, and now you have the time to explore them.
8. Know that nothing lasts forever
While 2020 has felt like a thousand lifetimes rolled into one, and the fastest yet slowest year of most of our lives, all things come to an end. We’ve all managed to get through lockdown style restrictions the first time, so we can manage to do it again.
Before we know it, life will have resumed to normal, you will be able to hug your friends and family again, and be out exploring the world like before. Our efforts in keeping indoors has undoubtedly saved countless lives, so be proud of yourself for getting through this year!