COVID-19 is causing real anxiety across the UK and the rest of the world, negatively impacting our mental health. Being in a lockdown can be psychologically challenging and the isolation emotionally tough.
The state of our mental health is feared to be significantly impacted as a direct result of the recent lockdown with many fearing the arrival of a mental health pandemic.
“Isolation, physical distancing, the closure of schools and workplaces are challenges that affect us, and it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness at this time,” the director of the European branch of the WHO, Hans Kluge, said on Thursday (26 March).
The uncertainty surrounding the true impact of the virus is causing a great deal of anxiety and stress so it is absolutely vital that we keep our mental health in check. We have put together 7 ways to help you navigate this moment and urge you to remember – you can be anxious/scared and still deal with this. You are stronger than you think and this won’t last forever.
Manage your expectations
It’s unlikely the period of lockdown will offer you the creative freedom you’ve long dreamt of.
External pressures to write a novel, learn a new language and take on multiple online courses have raised the bar and the expectation to over-perform is at an all-time high. Don’t underestimate the emotional and physical load that comes with a pandemic.
Go easy on yourself.
Change can be stressful, but it’s also inevitable. It’s important to connect with yourself in the present moment to help you cope.
Journaling can help you stay in line with the bigger picture helping to relieve stress and worry.
Be mindful that you have likely switched to a new mode of ‘being’. COVID-19 could be impacting your daily habits, sleep and overall mood. Here are some things to consider when managing stress.
- Practice good sleep hygiene by avoiding blue lights before bed
- Stick to your regular sleep-wake cycle
- Limit alcohol intake and choose nutritionally rich foods where possible
- Limit news intake and read from reputable, reliable sources
- Connect with friends and family as often as you can
- Implement a good self-care routine
Being on lockdown can be emotionally tough. Approaching the situation with an alternative perspective can help to relieve stress.
Try to reframe “I am stuck inside” to “I finally have the time I need to work on myself and the things I love”
Create a zen zone
No matter how small your home, there is always a spot, corner or area you can transform into your own sacred space.
Your zen zone is the place to journal, meditate, breathe and unwind. A place for you to centre yourself. It’s the perfect spot for practising gratitude too.
Virtual coffee breaks and virtual dine ins via video calls are a great way to stay connected to the ones you love.
Host a long-distance movie/TV watch party with friends by using the Netflix Party (chrome extension only) or download the Houseparty app and provide a spontaneous virtual gathering for you and your friends to socialise.
Consider virtual therapy
Don’t neglect your mental health needs. There are lots of therapists and counsellors providing vital support via secure video calling, email, text and WhatsApp.