Looking after your Mental Health during Lockdown

As lockdown in the UK continues, many people are beginning to struggle coping with daily life, and creating some sort of new normal, which can make it difficult to stay positive. This can be an especially prevalent problem for those suffering with mental illness, such as panic disorder or clinical depression. However, this is a hard time for everybody. The following will be a comprehensive guide on how to manage feeling anxious and negative during this difficult time.

Get Outside & Exercise

The current government guidelines advise one hour of outside exercise per day, use this daily as an escape from the indoors. This is especially important if you have no outside space of your own, such as a balcony or garden. Go for a jog to clear your head, or simply walk around the block and process your thoughts and emotions. Sometimes a bit of fresh air can act as a reset button, and help clear your head of any feelings of anxiety.

If you don’t feel comfortable exercising outdoors but still wish to get a bit of physical activity into your day, there are plenty of articles, youtube videos and mobile phone apps to assist with home workouts which can be done from the comfort of your front room. It’s great for the mind to wake up and workout, even if it’s some gentle stretching or yoga practise.

Practise Mindfulness

Taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to tackle negative thoughts can be really beneficial, especially during a time of such uncertainty. This could be via a guided meditation through an app/youtube, journalling out your thoughts, or simply sitting in a quiet room alone. Journalling is also a great way to mindfully reflect on your day, or recent emotions. It’s also a great place to unload your feelings if you’re not up to talking to someone.

Make a new routine

Our daily routines have undoubtedly changed since the beginning of lockdown. Some of us are working or completing uni assessments at home, and some have been furloughed or let go from their jobs. This alone is a difficult position to be in, so trying to bring a sense of normality to your life can make for some much needed stability.

Avoid the endless COVID-19 coverage

The pandemic is currently the top news headline everyday. While it’s good to stay up to date with the latest government guidelines and advice, avoid the news headlines where possible. This is particularly relevant for social media sites such as Twitter, which can cause unnecessary anxiety via fake news and excessive coverage. If you’d like to research the pandemic, stick to trusted websites such as the NHS and Gov.uk, but try to limit this time to a maximum of 30 minutes per day to minimise anxiety surrounding your health.

Remember, it’s not a productivity competition

During this lockdown period, you’ll see people working on their side hustles, becoming fitness obsessed or cooking three exquisite meals a day. Try not to fall into the trap of comparison. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, the fact you woke up this morning healthy and safely in your own home is enough of an achievement. Treat anything else as a bonus!

Practice gratitude

At this time, many of us are grateful for the connections we have with people, and the freedom we have outside these times. Try to feel grateful for the day that has passed, no matter what you did. It may help to write down or simply think of three things each night you are grateful for. This could be being grateful for your family, your home or even the home cooked meal you have just eaten. Gratitude is a great practice to maintain for mental health.

Reach out to people

Don’t shut family and friends out during this time, especially if you live alone or far away from your loved ones. Social media is a blessing in this sense, being able to facetime or video call others regularly will be a great boost of happiness and positivity.

Alternatively, there are many online talking therapies and psychological therapies which can assist with your mental health. Mind Allies offer a Whatsapp and text service, as well as a supportive Facebook group. Utilise these resources if you need help, at any time. There is absolutely no shame in seeking professional help.

Self help resources

There are plenty of resources online to help with anxiety, panic attacks and feeling depressed. The internet means we have so much at our disposal, so use it! With the amount of time the majority of us are now spending at home, it could be a good use of time to develop strategies to manage anxiety, and just generally help better ourselves.

So there are some ways to reduce your anxiety levels and stay positive during these uncertain times ahead of us. Remember to stay safe, follow government guidelines, check in on your loved ones and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need support!