This week we got the dreaded news that the UK would yet again be going in to a national lockdown between Thursday the 5th of November and Wednesday the 2nd of December. While this one is only four weeks (for now) it still feels like a blow. I don’t know about you but at the start of the year I just assumed naively that by this point life would have resumed somewhat. Yet here we are heading towards Christmas and back at square one.
I do not disagree with this decision to lockdown, I think that in order to bring our numbers down at all, this is a necessary evil but it still feels quite deflating and leaves us all wondering , where on earth will it end?
Boris Johnson has insisted that while we should stay at home where we can, this lockdown is not as restrictive as the one we all endured through the spring, despite this reassurance we are still going to have to be away from our friends and family once more which is a tough pill to swallow, especially at a time of year in which, under normal circumstances would be full of festivities, parties and loved ones.
If like me you are feeling a bit down or anxious about where the next few weeks or months will take us, just know that you are not alone. Below are some tips to try and keep on top of your mental health as we head in to the next month and our second 2020 lockdown.
1. Try and be mindful of how much news you are consuming each day. There is a barrage of information both on daily news programs as well as social media and these are often misinformed sources. While it is ok to stay informed, be aware about obsessing over numbers and updates, it can be both overwhelming and scary.
2. Unfollow any accounts that make you feel like shit. We are likely to all be sat at home scrolling a lot more over the next few weeks so it is important to avoid any content that doesn’t do you any favours.
3. Create a lockdown routine. Routine and mental health go hand in hand. Lose one and you might feel the other slip. Schedule specific times in the day for meals, work, daily exercise, walks, time away from your phone.
4. Despite the chilly weather we are experiencing now, if you are able to, make sure you get out and about for a walk, fresh air, winter sunshine.
5. Daily exercise is so vital for your mental health. Do what you can. Try some online classes, yoga, pilates, body combat. Any physical activity is beneficial.
6. If you are working from home again, set boundaries with your workplace and stick to them. Work in the same place, have a break for meal times. Getting dressed and ready for work helps with your motivation too.
7. You can see one other person as part of a support bubble so if you are ok to do this, make the most of that time.
8. The zoom quiz life is back, while this doesn’t make up for seeng friends and family face to face it is certainly better than nothing, this social interaction is essential for us all getting through this in one piece.
9. If it all feels a bit much. Stop what you are doing. Open a book. Turn on the TV. Listen to some music, podcast, audiobook. It doesn’t matter what as long as it is totally escapist and can give you a moment or two outside your own thoughts.
10. Do not stop making plans for the next year, sure we dont know what will happen in the months to come, we dont know if those plans will need to be cancelled but do not lose your hope and optimism for better days to come. We will get there.
11. If you aren’t doing ok, Talk about it, talk to someone you trust, friend, family, partner, stranger. Pick up the phone and get it off your chest. However isolating this feels, you are not alone.
Stay safe. See you on the other side.