Any of us that suffer from a mental health illness or anxiety and depression may still be reeling from the effects of the first lockdown and then the thought of this repeating itself can feel like a black hole without the glimmer of light at the other end. Here is a list of tips that may help as we go into a second national lockdown.
You're not alone
Simply, take comfort that you are not alone in the perpetual feeling of not being able to control these feelings and unable to free yourself of the burden it bears upon you. You would be surprised how many others are experiencing exactly the same feelings. Sometimes just knowing that someone else is in a similar situation can alleviate that feeling of being so alone and isolated from the world around you.
Talk. Whether this is to a family member, friend, a helpline. Find someone you feel comfortable with and open up to them about how you’re feeling. People will take time to listen and you would probably find that they have more of an understanding than you thought. You may even find you have some common ground!
Don't be harsh on yourself
Stop giving yourself such a hard time, this is you, this is how you feel at this moment in time, so take the time to assess and evaluate these feelings in order to process and say, ‘yes I am struggling at the moment and that is just how it is for now’. Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. Some days you will do the bare minimum – and that is okay.
We are living amid a global crisis, and the constant anxiety, panic and fear it brings with it.
Don’t overthink things, try to carry out simple tasks to distract your mind. Set yourself small daily goals and try to establish a routine, even if it is only one thing a day.
Find something you enjoy doing that distracts your mind, like puzzles, drawing, reading, yoga or sport. Even if you can only manage for 5 minutes. Use your senses to experience the activity you are doing. What does it look like? Feel like? Smell like? Taste like? Sound like? it will give your mind a ‘break’ from any negative thoughts.
Use this link for exercises to try for mindfulness.
How many times are we told that exercise increases the endorphins? The thought of getting those trainers/boots on and stepping foot outside can be triggering in itself, but take those steps, no matter how many. Ok, you may have only made it to the end of your drive, but you got those trainers on, stepped outside. That will be a huge achievement. You did it! Set yourself a goal for next time; add 10 or 20 paces, whatever you feel comfortable with; and if you manage it, feel proud of yourself.
Praise yourself for all these fantastic achievements. They are all positive steps for your wellbeing.
Try and think of all the things you are grateful for on a daily basis, write them down. Positive thoughts and gratitude can have a beneficial effect on your mental health.
R & R
Relaxation and rest. Take some time to relax. Yes, relax! Close your eyes and take your mind to a place where you felt safe and happy. It might be somewhere you went on holiday or somewhere from a memory where you were relaxed with a friend or a family member.
Remember how you felt when you were there. The feel of the sun on your face or the excitement you felt being there. Let your mind escape back to that place or time.
Without things like physically going out to work to break up our days, it can be all too easy to fall out of routine.
But having some sort of structure to our days helps us feel more in control of things, and helps reduce stress levels.
Find Mental Health Resources here.