We are now in our seventh week of lockdown. For many people this has been a very stressful time.
This is the first time since the war we have had any sort of embargo on our movements and the way we live.
The biggest part of this for most people is the lack of social contact. The fact they can’t see family and friends face to face.
Thanks to modern technology, we do at least have the opportunity to talk to people on video platforms, or on the phone, but still we can’t have that warmth of physical contact.
How is this affecting our mental health?
A study by the Mental Health Foundation has found that: –
The two most affected group of adults in the UK, according to the findings of the study are, the Millenials, and GenZ’s – both of whom are an important part of, or about to join the working population. The fact that they are experiencing feelings of loneliness now, may by a key risk factor for developing or worsening mental health problems in the future.
The Director at the Mental Health Foundation is also worried that, “while the initial priority must be to prevent loss of life, we fear that we may be living with the mental health impacts of the Coronavirus situation for many years to come.”
Unexpected outcomes of lockdown
Strangely for some people who already suffer from anxiety, the pandemic has brought a kind of relief.
They are often socially anxious, so being in lockdown, which has been naturally enforced, means they are not fighting with crowds of commuters and becoming highly stressed. Instead they are finding staying home is much calmer, and their well being for this now is better.
Another unexpected result of lockdown, sit that some people who are driven by ‘keeping up their appearances’, and having to be visible all the time are allowing themselves time to relax. They don’t have to perform anymore, because they’ve been permission to slow down. They may become more authentic because they don’t have an audience.
How combat becoming anxious, and coping with mental health
- Limit the news and be careful what you read.
- Choose a specific time to watch the news rather than checking your phone every five minutes for updates.
- Stick to trusted sources of information i.e. Gov and NHS websites: there is a lot of fake news out there that causes undue worry.
- Have a break from social media. Avoid clicking on Coronavirus hashtags
- Mute key words on Twitter and unfollow or mute accounts that you have been following who refer too much to the virus. Do the same on WhatsApp groups and hide FB posts and feeds that you find overwhelming.
- Have a trusted family member or friend you can chat to about any worries.
- Keep in contact with friends regularly; talk to them on the phone or video call
- Plan your day. Staying in pyjamas all day might feel comfy but probably isn’t keeping you active, and also not retaining your self-confidence and self-image.
- Keep active
- Try out new relaxation techniques
- Mindfulness; keep a gratitude journal, writing each day, two or three things for which you are grateful. Keep focus on the present.
- Ensure you sleep well. Go to bed at the same time each night, and ensure you get at least a good 7 hours sleep. Don’t use phones, tables, computer or TV before you go to sleep.
- Create yourself new daily routines that prioritise looking after yourself. Include the things you enjoy e.g. reading; watching movies; exercise; new relaxation techniques.
- Learn something new.
- Eat healthily. Try not to comfort eat, and if you do need to snack, turn to healthy snacks.
If we can come out of this lockdown with less stress, take time to give thought to nature and those around us, maybe we can prioritise kindness and compassion, and maintain our mental health.