Not so long ago, many of us struggled with “FOMO”, the fear of missing out. Now, after nearly 18 months of Covid-19, an increasingly high percentage of us are dealing with the exact opposite – fear of being back in the world. While FOBBITW isn’t an acronym that’s likely to catch on, the experience of post-lockdown anxiety, particularly around the return to “normality”, is a stark new reality.
Whether you’re feeling stressed at the thought of returning to the office or baulk at the idea of attending a BBQ this summer, know that you’re not alone. And while we can’t eliminate the anxiety for you entirely, we can share our knowledge of what might help.
Here is our pick of the top 5 post-lockdown mood boosters that you can start today (in no particular order):
- Refill Your Cup
We mean this both metaphorically and literally. Many of the items on our list relate to self-care, but often it isn’t the luxurious, decadent type of self-care that makes a difference; it’s the smaller everyday moments – like reminding yourself to stay hydrated.
Our bodies are made up of around 60% water, so it’s no surprise that as soon as our hydration levels start to dip, our body suffers. While chapped lips and headaches may be the noticeable signs of dehydration, a less obvious effect is a dip in mood.
If you’re guilty of not drinking enough water lately (the recommendation is around 1.5-2l per day), make a habit of carrying a water bottle with you and sipping it throughout the day.
- Get Your Body Moving
Walk, run, dance, there’s no right or wrong – just get moving! In a vicious cycle, when our mood is low, we often want to hibernate on the sofa, which only adds to the feeling of sadness, isolation and lethargy.
Instead, force yourself to do some strenuous activity, even if only for the length of one song on the radio. Exercise releases endorphins, our body’s feel-good hormones, which naturally improve your mood with an almost immediate effect.
- Use CBD For Stress Relief
If you’re not already aware of the great benefits of CBD, there’s never been a better time to get up to speed. A non-intoxicating compound found in the hemp plant, CBD is legal, non-addictive and has no impacts on your cognition.
What it does do is replicate the endocannabinoids, which are naturally produced by our own bodies, and are responsible for relieving anxiety, reducing inflammation and many other beneficial processes.
Best of all, CBD is incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily health regime. Available in various forms, oils and edibles are two of the most efficient ways to take CBD, and quickly get to work improving mood, aiding relaxation and reducing stress. If you’re feeling the aches and pains of returning to exercise after an extended break, you’ll be happy to hear that cbd bath bombs are a natural form of muscle relief!
Learn more about CBD here.
- Top Up Your Vitamins
Like exercise, healthy eating is one of the first things to go when we’re feeling stressed or anxious. And while comfort eating makes us feel better in the short term, we all know that it does more harm than good.
If you’ve been neglecting your vegetables and want to give your body a boost of the good stuff, add a supplement into your diet to get more of the nutrients you need. We suggest:
Found in milk, fish and red meats, B12 plays an essential role in our body. A lack of B12 can lead to anaemia, making you feel weak and tired.
Absorbed by our skin coming into regular contact with direct sunlight, many of us lack the required exposure to make enough vitamin D. A deficiency can result in muscle weakness, pain, fatigue and depression.
Iron is a mineral that can easily become low with a poor diet. Found in red meat and leafy greens, a lack of iron can lead to irritability, fatigue and anxiety.
- Laughter, The Best Medicine
Free, easy to do and incredibly beneficial to your mood, there’s a lot to be said for the power of laughter. When you laugh, your brain releases neuropeptide molecules which help to fight stress. Then, serotonin is released, which is an antidepressant.
Even a forced smile counts, so line up a funny movie, put on a comedy podcast or just smile at yourself in the mirror until you can’t help but laugh at the situation. That fake smile might just become a real one before you know it!
If you are worried about your post-lockdown anxiety and the suggestions on our list aren’t impacting your mood, speak to your GP about your concerns.
– Sarah Todhunter