What To Do if You Feel That the Lockdown is Affecting Your Mental Health
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
Life as we know it has changed drastically over the past couple of weeks and fear, anxiety, even depression are only natural reactions to those changes. Now, as always, it is extremely important to look after our mental health. If you or someone you know is struggling with isolation at the moment, here are a few things you can do.
1. Stay in Touch As social animals, we have always needed interactions with others, but in times of isolation, communication is especially crucial for our well-being. Remember to check on your loved ones, especially those living alone. Come up with things to do together at a distance - Netflix now has a Party option where you can watch movies with your friends; you can read stories to your loved ones, cook together, play video games, etc. 2. Stay Active and Eat Well Daily exercise has never been so important. The government currently allows one type of outdoor exercise per day, so why not go for a jog or a walk in a quiet area? If you find it difficult to exercise alone, there are plenty of online workout videos available for free. We're doing Joe Wick's Personal Trainer live workout every morning. It might seem very tempting to snack on carbs, but doing something as simple as following a healthy diet can improve the way you feel. Experiment with new recipes, eat lots of fruits and veggies and build routines around food - have your breakfast by the window, for example.
Image source: TheCounselingTeacher.com
3. Concentrate on What You Can Control Chances are you can't control much right now - you can't control when this is going to end, the number of people it affects, you can't control the economy or other people's actions. But Think of your actions as your vote. Concentrate on your own well-being, and consider mindfulness as a way to control anxiety. Headspace are offering their simple, guided tutorials free. You can get the app on your phone and the sessions start at 10 minutes. Don't forget to follow the government's guidelines, and practice kindness to yourself and others. 4. Keep a Journal Writing down our thoughts and emotions can have therapeutic effects. Even if you don't know where to start, or feel like you have nothing to say, just take a pen and paper and start writing down any observations, thoughts or worries you might have. In the process, writing often reveals to us things we might not even know we feel. Besides, keeping a daily journal builds a sense of habit and discipline which will be useful even after the lockdown is over.
5. Take This as an Opportunity
Remember all those things you've always told yourself you're going to do, but never really made time for? Now is the chance. They say contemporary life has killed the concept of hobbies, but now's the time to go back to it. Think of this as the world giving you free time to do what you love just because you can. We love drawing and strongly recommend this drawing tutorial to start with. 6. Limit The Time You Spend Online Obsessively refreshing news pages can be tempting right now, but it's definitely not contributing to your well-being. Limit the time you spend reading the news and scrolling social media to no more than twice a day. Build a routine around spending time online - for example, read the news and check social media after breakfast. Do not reach for your phone first thing in the morning and last thing before bed, and mute all useless notifications.
7. Maintain a Routine Even if you have nowhere to go, wake up early in the morning. Create a little schedule with things to do, and separate your day in sections - morning, afternoon, evening. Think of different activities you can do in those times, and try to build a routine. e.g. morning exercise, afternoon reading, evening calling loved ones and watching movies, etc. 9. Offer Help If you are well and not in a risk group - offer your help to others. If you can, you can donate to a number of hospitals and charities currently working to fight the crisis. If you are not able to make a donation, there are other things you can do - you can volunteer or perhaps offer your neighbours in the risk group to do their shopping for them. 8. Remember That This Will Be Over The concept of a future may be a bit difficult right now, but the lockdown will be over and your life will come back to normal. Think about all the things you enjoy doing, plan places you want to visit (even if they are your friends' house or the park). Imagine the happiness of seeing your family, friends and coworkers or going back to your favourite café after this is all behind us. 10. IF THIS IS NOT ENOUGH
If none of this is enough for you and you feel like your anxiety or depression are worsening, see here how you can seek further help.