8 Mental Health & Wellbeing Tips for Staying Sane in Lockdown

Posted date: 23-February-2021

Humans may have been through things like this before but this generation certainly hasn’t and it has taken its toll globally on us all with many countries citing the pandemic as a key catalyst in exploding mental health cases.

One of our core content themes this year is mental health and wellness so that we can share some of the issues we all face along with some helpful advice and guidance from the ASI’s network of surf, SUP and bodyboard schools and instructors across the world.

Soul Soothing Surf

Surfing, paddling and simply being in or near to water has been proven to be extremely soul soothing and we know how lucky we are in our industry to have relatively consistent access to such a powerful natural medicine and to be in a position to share and amplify that goodness.

You may remember we spoke to Dave Knight recently in the UK, about how he is managing his depression using the power of SUP and is raising awareness and money for the mental health charity, MIND, while he’s out there via his 3six5 SUP challenge. We also explore why surfing is so good for your mental health [link:  https://www.academyofsurfing.com/news/why-sup-is-so-good-for-your-mental-health] in a previous post.

Today we’re talking to marine biologist, Clare Baranowski and co-owner of Travel with a Paddle, with about how she and Beau have been addressing the stresses of a COVID world both personally and as ASI SUP/surf instructors:

Hi Clare! One of the most challenging side effects of COVID-19, social distancing and intermittent lockdowns is in the significant damage being done to our mental health and wellness. What steps have you guys taken to mitigate the doldrums where you are?

1.    Watching Travel Documentaries

We have thrown ourselves into travel documentaries, namely the Long Way Round, Up and Down series. Watching Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman travel the world on motorbikes transports us to the amazing places they visit. As we can’t travel, we travel with them instead.

2.    Exercise

Every morning we complete a HIIT class using the Joe Wicks App. If it is a dull day and we don’t fancy a walk, run or surf, we have already achieved 30 minutes of intense exercise before our day starts.

3.    Nature

We have relied heavily on nature. We are very lucky to live close to the coast, so often sit, walk, run or surf on our local beach and look out for seals, oystercatchers and even dolphins on a clear day. We have taken up bird watching and become far more aware of the habitats around us.

4.    Chats with Family and Friends

Each week we have a catch up with friends and family on zoom. Since learning that endorphins are released when seeing loved ones (even on a screen) we try to organise chats regularly. Although, it is hard not to get envious of Beau’s family who are currently enjoying an Australian summer!

5.    Try Something New

Finally, we try new things to break up the weeks. We have started a date night tradition where each one of us has to cook a three course dinner for the other every couple of weeks and it has to be a surprise! We have taken up yoga and meditation, practising around 30 mins before we go to sleep.

6.    Watching Ocean Documentaries

Not everyone has access to the ocean during lockdown, so we would highly recommend watching ocean documentaries that remind you of your favourite places, listening to relaxing ocean sounds, diving back into photos taken at the beach or even having a nice bath!

7.    Get Involved in Ocean Projects

Another way to connect with the ocean at home is to get involved in conservation from your sofa by making sustainable choices to your day-to-day life and getting involved in ocean conservation projects by sharing petitions and articles online.

8.    Plan your next Ocean Staycation

If all of that fails, you can begin planning an ocean staycation somewhere you have never visited before. Once we’re out of lockdown and you’ve made it to the sea, make sure you get in the water everyday whether it's a three hour surf or a quick dip, it all makes a difference and it will top up your blue space dose for a little while longer.


Thanks so much, Clare, for your wonderfully positive outlook and productive tips for busting the blues when we can’t always be doing what we would like to be doing, with the people we want to be with in the places we wish we could go. There is an opportunity in every crisis if we look hard enough and we’ll wrap this up with your line that says it best:

We are both trying to leave this northern hemisphere winter lockdown in better shape mentally and physically than when we started. Some days we thrive and on others we don’t have the energy. The important thing is to not be too hard on yourself and gain enjoyment from the experience where you can.

To find out more about Clare and Beau's adventures on the Ocean, click here to visit their website or click here to reach on on Facebook.

Photo reference:  Travel with a Paddle


About ASI
ASI is a professional membership and training organisation and international governing body for instructors, coaches and schools in the outdoor recreation industry for surfing, stand up paddle and bodyboarding.

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