The coronavirus pandemic brings about struggles and worries for everyone, whether that’s to do with health, work, finances or friends and family. In a lockdown, we’re forced to spend more time indoors and change our whole routines which inevitably has had an effect on our mental health. In fact, the likelihood of an adult experiencing depression has doubled (one in five) from what it was before the pandemic (one in ten).
Every day we make sure we are keeping ourselves physically healthy. We practise social distancing, wear our face masks, wash our hands regularly and work from home. Due to the nature of the coronavirus, we are so focussed on keeping ourselves from becoming physically ill that it is easy to forget how important it is to also keep ourselves mentally healthy. Whilst the priority for most of the year has been on physical health, it seems that mental health has taken a back seat and as a result, we are seeing more people having problems with depression, anxiety and other issues.
We need to be kinder to ourselves, especially in times like these. It is okay to take some time out for yourself and do things that you enjoy and that will relax you. Here are some ideas which you can do if you are struggling with your mental health in these uncertain times.
Talking to those around you: Check in with your friends and family, whether that be by phone call, video or in person depending on the rules in your area. You can discuss your own worries while also addressing theirs, helping and supporting one another through this difficult time. This can also be good if you are worried about your loved ones as you can be reassured, they are safe. We are all in this pandemic together and you are not alone.
Understand the rules: There are different rules around the world, in different cities and in different towns, not only that but they are ever-changing, which can be very overwhelming. It’s hard to know what you can do and who you can see. The best thing to do is to regularly look up what the guidelines are in your area, this way you are keeping up to date, following the rules correctly and it will reduce any anxiety you have about rules to follow.
Exercise: It is no secret that exercise is good for our body and mind. Moving your body can instantly make you feel more uplifted and more accomplished for the day. There are so many forms of exercise you can do during lockdown without going to the gym; go for a walk or a run, do a home workout DVD or YouTube video, do a dance workout, online Zumba classes, even doing a deep clean of your house is moving your body and getting some form of exercise. It is easy to not feel like doing anything in these strange times, but even just 10 minutes of light exercise is better than none. Pair this with a healthy balanced diet and you are helping your physical and mental health at the same time.
Control: Focus on what you can control. This is a more difficult one as it may seem like everything is out of your control. The virus is very unpredictable, rules and restrictions are always changing, and we can’t plan our futures in the same ways we used to. Instead of dwelling on things you can’t control, try to focus on the many small things you can control. You control what you do each day, who you speak to, what you eat and drink, what you do in your spare time. Take everything one step at a time, this will help you feel less overwhelmed, anxious and help you feel like you are regaining back some control.
Hobbies: Doing things you enjoy or starting a new hobby is such a good way to take your mind off the current situation. Look at your restrictions and see which of your hobbies you can still do, this could be playing football, golf or meeting up with friends while social distancing. If the restrictions in your area are strict then you can still do things you enjoy in the home, watch your favourite film, play games with the family, read a new book, garden or do some crafts. The main thing is that when doing these activities your mind is occupied thus not leaving room for any anxious thoughts or feelings. It’s a small way we can bring some kind of normality back to our lives during this time.
One final thing that is important to remember is that it is normal to feel more anxious and overwhelmed at the moment. This year has been difficult for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, but some good advice is to try and focus on the good things and moments rather than the bad. If you are struggling with your mental health please do not be alone, speak to someone you trust or your local doctors. If you need any more advice on how to seek help, please talk to us by booking a free peer support session to get more information.