Are you worried about the impact a second lockdown might have on your mental health?
If the news that England will be heading into a second lockdown has left you feeling anxious, low or overwhelmed, you’re not alone.
The widespread effects of the pandemic and the restrictions imposed means that we won’t have the social contact that we may need or are used to. It’s normal that the uncertainty and changes to our day-to-day lives might affect our mood and have a negative effect on our mental health, with many of us experiencing stress, anxiety and insomnia. During this time, it will be important to look after our mental health while we may not be able to do the things we usually enjoy. If you’re finding things tough, we’d really encourage you to talk about it, however you can, via a socially distanced walk, video messaging, over the phone or texting.
So what can we do in the face of another lockdown? Here are some tips for looking after your mental wellbeing:
- Pay attention to what you’re feeling – if you click onto Samaritans self-help web app https://selfhelp.samaritans.org/ It can help you track your mood and includes practical tips and techniques to help you look after your emotional health.
- Connect with people you love – although we may be physically isolated from one another, it’s more important than ever for us to feel socially connected, so try and reach out to people to talk, and try to be there to listen to others. Try having regular video and audio calls with family and friends. However, remember to stay safe online.
- Talk about your feelings – talking about how you’re feeling can help put things into perspective and may help you feel more positive about the future. If you don’t feel like there’s anyone you can talk to, you are never alone. Samaritans volunteers are there to help https://www.samaritans.org/.
- Practise gratitude – write a gratitude journal and record what you are grateful for during the day – what made you smile and what made you happy. Bringing your focus onto what has made you happy can improve your mental wellbeing.
- Keep to a routine – planning your day can help you feel grounded if you’re feeling uncertain about the future. For instance, always getting up and dressed in the mornings, try to prioritise eating well, getting plenty of sleep and exercising – wrapping up warm for a short walk outside at lunchtime can be a great place to start or participating in some form of exercise once a day and creating a suitable space to work from to maintain work/life boundaries within the home.
- Make time for something you enjoy – Instead of spending your evenings scrolling for hours on end or reading the latest headlines over and over again, make a conscious decision to do something that makes you happy every day. You could try learning a new skill, doing something creative or revisit your favorite books and movies or finally find time to try out that new recipe. If you’re active online, making time for other activities can help you to take a break from the news cycle or social media.
Research has shown that people with hobbies rarely suffer from stress, depression and low mood and so it is vital for our mental health that we find activities that will get us out, make us feel happier and more relaxed.
It’s worth noting that if your mental health continues to worsen or begins to interrupt your day-to-day functioning, it’s important to seek help from a GP or qualified mental health professional.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you can find support and resources on the mental health charity Mind’s website and NHS Every Mind Matters or access the NHS’ list of mental health helplines and organisations here.
For confidential support, you can also call the Samaritans in the UK on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively you can download the NHS Go app : https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/nhs-go/ . The app provides young people with confidential health advice and greater access to health information. You can find local services in some areas and learn about health and your rights as a user of the NHS.
or visit: https://www.mind.org.uk