Mental wellbeing for young people

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Being kind to myself in lockdown

Jenny Flannagan photo Jenny Flannagan · 31 Jul, 2020

I'm much better at looking after others than myself so I made myself write a list of things that make me feel good - and I've tried to keep doing the things on the list throughout lockdown.

Hi, my name's Jenny and I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my lockdown journey.

Lockdown came as a huge surprise to me, as I'm sure it did to many of us, but I felt okay going into it, I had some plans, I'm a bit of a planner, and then some really unexpected things happened.

One of my kids had to go in for emergency surgery right at the start of lockdown and then we were basically in self-isolation and weren't allowed outdoors for most of lockdown. And then my husband had serious surgery, knee surgery at the end that meant he was pretty immobile, and it's just meant that lockdown has been way harder work and I've had to juggle way more things, and I found it much harder than I thought I would.

One thing that has helped me, something I did right at the beginning. I am not always great at doing things to look after myself; I tend to get busy looking after other people, but I made a list right at the start of things that I know that help me feel good. And I'm sure it's a list that will look very different for you but on my list is things like reading a novel, having a bath, watching a rom-com, drawing, making things, talking to close friends, baking, eating, coffee. And then when I was really struggling, I would get out my list when I couldn't really think of anything to do, oh, there was some exercise on there as well, like yoga and running.

I would get out my list and try and pick something from that list to help me feel better. I made some stuff. That's a pretty cool kit. (Oh, we're in Luton and the aeroplanes have started going again which is why you can hear the aeroplanes overhead). But, yeah, I did some sewing to mark this weird time.

I did some drawing; I tend to keep this art journal where I draw things that I'm feeling, without really understanding what they are; I'm no great artist but I find getting out the things that I'm feeling is a helpful thing.

And so those are some of the things that have kept me sane and okay in the midst of what still feels like a really challenging time, and just ways that I've tried to be kind to myself.


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