The UK has just started another round of lockdown, which for many has had a devastating impact on their mental health. Just as the nation seemed to be recovering and engaging in ‘the new normal’, we’ve all been forced back inside again. But there’s some things we can do to help us feel as ‘normal’ as possible. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Timetable your day: Ideal for students with essays due. Your brain loves routine, predictability and regularity. By giving yourself a regular routine (with regular wake up/sleep times where possible), you can reduce the amount of anxiety you feel. Kimberley Wilson, a chartered psychologist, made a handy Instagram video about the ‘flattening the anxiety curve’ concept too!
- Make your home your sanctuary: Don’t let horrible things into your safe space. Is Sue on Instagram making you feel rubbish because you couldn’t write a novel and complete a triathlon over lockdown? Unfollow her. Does the news make you feel sick and stressed? Stop watching it. Don’t let negative vibes into your safe space, especially when there’s so many of them floating about.
- Move: Movement makes you happy; it releases endorphins. It improves your physical, social and mental state by improving your self-esteem and reducing your anxiety. If you’re studying and working at home, it’s a great way to peel yourself away from your laptop and recover for a little bit. It doesn’t have to be strenuous; a stroll down the road or jumping around to your favourite K-Pop song will do!
- It’s the little things: I promise, getting out of your PJs will make you feel better. As will thinking of something you’re grateful for every day. It’s the little things you need to focus on; they will build the bigger picture. I’ve got an advent calendar and transformed it into a lockdown calendar; a 25 day count-down to 2nd December using sweet-sweet chocolate.
- Stay connected: This is something we’ve all gotten used to, but during these times it is vital to check in on others and make sure they’re doing okay. Ring your grandmother, text your mates, face-time your mum. Together, we’re stronger.
Mind.org offer lots of support guides and advice for various situations that you may find yourself dealing with, with mentalhealth.org.uk offering resources specific to the pandemic. The Samaritans also have a wide variety of resources, or can be contacted at 116 123 if you need someone to talk to. Alternatively, if you feel like you need longterm support, please contact your local GP.