OK so here go again! As we reach the halfway point of the new lockdown I’ve already seen many people’s mental health being affected. The long days and change in weather have contributed to people feeling stuck indoors with the inability to go out for walks and get fresh air.
I’ve noticed now that there’s a real fear that ‘will this never go away’ and that is leading to an increased anxiety. People threw themselves into the first lockdown, baking, gardening, Zoom exercise classes, quizzes etc with the belief that it would all be over after a definitive period of time. With the second lockdown I’m hearing ‘what are we going to do now?’ or ‘how am I going to do this again?’ I’ve noticed an upsurge in people really suffering with motivation and inclination to get through this period until December, then what happens with Christmas? Will we be allowed to travel to see loved ones? Will we be allowed to see friends and family over the festive period?
While I can’t answer these questions, I believe I can help with some observations that I’ve picked up over the last couple of weeks:
• Pretty much everyone has been affected by this pandemic, whether physically, mentally, socially or financially, so you’re not alone.
• Your thoughts and fears are valid. No one is entirely sure what is going to happen or how long this virus will stay with us.
• Reach out to a counsellor or psychotherapist to talk about your feelings and experiences.
• Reassess your own well-being and self-care practices. Are you sleeping well? Are you eating well? Are you using alcohol to cope or relax? Are you getting outside enough?
• It’s important to stay as positive as possible and look at things you can influence and improve on both personally and professionally.
• Look at hobbies and interests that you’ve thought about trying before but never got around to.
• Write a list of things to do on the weekends; clear out the shed, paint the living room, clear out your wardrobes.
• Have something to look forward to; book a holiday, a weekend away, a concert, just make sure it is fully refundable … just in case.
• Check in with your neighbours, friends, and family to make sure people are OK around you.