This year has seen a global crisis on a scale that has never been witnessed before. It can have a devastating effect on our mental health as we find ourselves in another national lockdown. Even with the end of the current lockdown in sight, and news of a vaccine within the next few months, we need to take steps to safeguard our mental health.
“As a result of COVID we are now seeing an increase, particularly in some parts of the country, in people attending emergency departments and presenting to crisis mental health services,” said Dr Adrian James, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told Sky News
We need to prioritise our mental health during such troubling times, as even with the arrival of a vaccine, the pandemic could still linger for six months or more until a relative return to ‘normal’, in whatever shape that may be.
Here are some tips for managing your mental health during a potential lockdown.
1. Use Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a wellness practice that helps you to better understand your feelings and thoughts, similar to meditation. It can help you focus your attention, and stop your mind from going on autopilot.
Instead of distracting or numbing yourself with video games, food, drink or even drugs, try to focus your mind when you feel distressed. Close your eyes and concentrate on how your body is feeling, and how you are thinking and feeling to help reduce stress and help bolster your mind for whatever is next.
2. Get a Virtual Workout Buddy
Exercise is important to your physical and mental health, but it can be difficult to find motivation at times. If you’re missing your gym buddy, try to arrange a time to buddy-up virtually on Zoom, Skype, or Messenger and exercise at home.
Working out with a virtual battle buddy can help bolster your motivation and provide the accountability you’re missing from in-person workout sessions.
3. Think About the Future
If you find yourself wallowing in the problems of today, try turning your attention to the future. The restrictions will be lifted at some point, and then you will be able to do all the things you miss. Start making long and short term plans such as seeing friends, holidays, or anything else you are unable to do right now.
4. Don’t Overload Your Schedule
Working from home is ideal for some, but for many, there are a lot of distractions, from Netflix, DIY jobs around the home, or stuck endlessly scrolling through social media.
Do not put overwhelming pressure on yourself by creating endless to-do lists. Instead set smaller and achievable goals for your workday and workweek. You can only do so much in a day, particularly during a pandemic.
5. Spend More Time Outdoors
The lockdown doesn’t mean you need to stay locked in your room. There are ways to get out and about safely. A walk in the park for an hour will help connect you to nature and help fulfil your body’s craving for sunlight and fresh air. Even on the coldest of days, fresh, brisk air will help you feel happier.
Get into mindfulness, make a gratitude list and make some plans for the future. You’ll come out on the other side of this pandemic with skills and techniques that can boost your mental health. Get in touch day for online mindfulness therapy.