So, we are back into full lockdown, for some of us that means the third time in less than 9 months. We are fully aware of the impact of these lockdowns on our mental health and well-being, but does it get easier or harder with previous knowledge?
Losing the few ‘privileges’ we may have enjoyed, albeit briefly, feels so unfair when they are snatched away from us at a moment’s notice. That dreaded anticipation of watching the latest news update from Boris, confirming our worst fears that we are to enter another extended phase of lockdown. Being unable to meet with our family and friends, have our children attend school, or just going out for a meal with our nearest and dearest seems the latest harshest blow that this terrible virus is inflicting upon us, after a very much subdued Christmas and New Year.
So, what have we learnt from previous lockdowns that we can look to implement or improve upon going forward? Wherever possible, getting fresh air and exercise has huge benefits, both mentally and physically. If possible, exercise with people in your bubble. It is much easier to get up and out if someone else is relying on you to support them, when they may well be supporting you too!
More and more alternatives are now available online, such as Zumba by Zoom, pilates and yoga classes on YouTube. You may even follow Joe Wicks or other fitness coaches. This could be an opportunity to get yourself fitter and lose weight!
However, what if these are not options for you, or you cannot find the motivation to do these? When we are in the darkest of places, every task seems like climbing a mountain in your slippers. It is at these times that we need to be kind to ourselves and rejoice in the little things that we can achieve, such as making a simple meal like beans on toast, getting dressed, or getting up out of bed. Find ways to reward yourself that make you feel a bit better about yourself such as taking time to enjoy a hot chocolate in your favourite chair, or watching/feeding the birds from your window/door/garden.
It is key to aim to talk to someone at least once a day, be it family, friends or helplines such as;
- Samaritans (116123),
- Anxiety UK (03444 775 774),
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably – 0800 58 58 58),
- MIND (0300 123 3393),
- No Panic (0844 967 4848)
- OCD Action (0845 390 6232),
- OCD UK (0333 212 7890),
- Papyrus (HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141),
- Rethink Mental Illness (0300 5000 927),
- Young Minds (0808 802 5544),
- Refuge (0808 2000 247),
- Cruse Bereavement Care (0808 808 1677).
The above is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. Whatever your solution is to surviving yet another lockdown, try to remember that you are not alone, much as it feels like it. There is now more and more support available which is one positive outcome from these difficult times. Please reach out, we are here to listen and support you.