25 May 2020
Maintaining mental health under lockdown
Whether you’ve been furloughed, are working from home, or you’re a key worker who still has to head out of the front door every day, maintaining good mental health during these unprecedented times is a priority. Chances are that whatever your circumstances, the draconian measures currently restricting our movements are going to have some sort of negative effect on your mental health. There are, however, measures we can all take to try and stay in good spirits.
It’s well known that a sedentary lifestyle can cause depression, so keeping active should be your main weapon to battle negative feelings. Unless you are specifically self-isolating, shielding vulnerable relatives or an individual who is more vulnerable to the virus, do try to make the most of the one time a day we’re each permitted to go outside. Find a time the streets are at their emptiest and exercise, even if it’s just a brisk walk round the neighbourhood.
If risk factors mean you should not go outside, or you simply don’t want to, do some active things indoors instead. There is a huge range of videos, articles and pod-casts available which cover everything from the gentlest yoga routine to a manic high-intensity workout, all of which you can do in your living room.
Of course, if your job requires you to get outside and still do a lot of manual labour, then just go home and hunker down if you feel like it. You could probably do with the rest.
Lockdown has profoundly altered nearly everyone’s routines and, as a result, we need to adapt to new ones. Without a routine, it’s easy to let every day merge into one. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time each day and follow regular meal times, as maintaining this basic structure will help you feel more positive and pro-ductive each day. And of course, it still means you can mix it up at the weekend by having a lie-in, or even getting up early to watch the sun rise!
With no pubs or restaurants open, or parties to look forward to, now is the perfect distraction-free period to upskill. Many free and premium services offer online courses in both corporate and non-corporate subjects.
If an online course isn’t for you, why not start a new hobby? Shop online to buy some knitting needles, paints or a musical instrument online to get the most out of your new-found time! YouTube has become a treasure trove of ‘How to’ videos, with experts in every field showing first-timers how to get into any given subject. Who knows, by the time we come out of lockdown you could be an expert quilt-maker!
Feeling anxious? Reach out
There is a lot to feel anxious about, from the threat of the virus to its implications on the future of our jobs and more. If it’s all getting to you, reach out and talk about it. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy has some great resources on what to do if you are feeling anxious
Whether you live alone, with your family or in a mixed household, socialising is important. Just because you can’t physically see friends doesn’t mean you can’t so-cialise with them. Experts suggest that using video conference apps to catch up with friends are very effective at battling loneliness. The most popular ones are free too, so if it makes you feel better, FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or hangout at Google Hangouts as long as you like.