It’s a tough time right now, and one of the many worries that lots of us have is how our loved ones are coping during the Covid19 pandemic and whether there’s anything we can do to cheer them up during lockdown.
It could be someone who’s feeling down about being out of work, going crazy with boredom, missing friends and family, or struggling with depression and/or anxiety triggered by any number of factors such as lack of routine or increasing uncertainty and external worries. Maybe they live on their own and are feeling really lonely.
Of course if someone is really struggling with their mental health, you should encourage them to seek medical advice or counselling. However, if your loved ones are feeling a bit down, anxious, bored or lonely here are a few small things you could do to cheer them up during lockdown.
Write Them a Letter of Appreciation
This applies whether you live with someone or not, and whilst the ideal is a hand written letter, and email or text message works too. Sit down and write your friends and family members letters telling them why they’re so great, why you love them, why you value them in your life, your favourite of their attributes and that you can’t wait to see them when this is all over.
It might feel cheesy, but who wouldn’t love to receive a letter like this? Keep it genuine and keep it specific – what sets them apart and makes them special? Pop it in the post, or hand it to them first thing in the morning if you live together to set them off to the best start to day!
Send Them a Silly Video
Record a video of you doing a stupid dance, singing a silly song you’ve just made up, pulling funny faces, telling a joke… anything really! This weekend I recorded myself pretending to be a chat show host and interviewing my Mickey Mouse toy that I’ve had since I was a baby. No, you can’t see it, it was for my mum, dad and sister only!
Go for a Walk Together
This one only applies if you live in the same household (no rule breaking!), but getting some fresh air and chatting with no distractions does the world of good for your mood. If you’re feeling particularly down, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get outside, so that extra push of going together is super helpful.
Don’t live together? Why not go for a walk at the same time as each other and chat on the phone whilst you’re out?
Send Them a Gift
I’m avoiding ordering online to minimise risk for delivery drivers, but last week I sent my nan a few items from Amazon to help with her boredom and loneliness and it made me realise how important (and essential) it is to know that someone is thinking of you.
It was nothing fancy: just a couple of novels, a puzzle book, a colour by numbers book and colouring pencils to go with it. It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t use all of those items – just knowing that I’d thought of her cheered her up! It doesn’t have to be expensive, just a little something to show you care.
Encourage Them to List Three Nice Things That Happened That Day
This is something that Billy prompted me to do each evening a couple of years ago when I was having a bit of a rough patch with my anxiety. Each evening when we were lying in bed, he’d ask me what my three favourite things were about that day.
Not only does it make you reflect on the day in a positive way, it also makes you look out for nice moment and appreciate them as they happen – you’re thinking ‘I can make this one of my top three later’. Right now my top three might typically look this: a lovely walk in the sunshine, cooking a delicious tea, completing the blog post I’ve been working on for ages.
If they’re having a tough time it might be harder to think of things, but promise them that if they think about it the nice moments will be there! Even the shittiest days aren’t shit all day. Maybe it’s ‘had a shower even though I couldn’t be bothered’, ‘had a biscuit with my cup of tea’ and ‘watched an episode of friends’.
This also ties into the practice of gratitude during lockdown which I’ve written about in a previous blog post.
Put on Their Favourite Music and Dance
Music and dancing is such a mood booster! If you don’t live with the person you want to cheer up, put together a playlist for them with their favourite songs and some feel-good recommendations that you think they’d like. You could even play it together over a video call and have a dance together.
If you live together, pop on their favourite tune, turn up the volume and have a dance. This could be subtle – dance whilst you’re doing the washing up – or you could really go for it and dance like crazy whilst hoping that a) you don’t look like an idiot, and b) that they join in.
Create a Happy Space for Them
In my ‘things to do at home during lockdown‘ post, I suggested making a den. Motivating someone who isn’t feeling great to partake in this kind of organised fun might not be an easy task, but why not do it for them as a surprise? Whilst they’re in a different room, make a cosy space full of cushions and blankets, pop on their favourite film and invite them to join you in the happy den!