19 May Coronavirus and Mental Health
We are now in our tenth week of lockdown and I’m sure even the most positive people out there have had days when they have struggled. I have heard a number of people saying we are all in the same boat, but this just isn’t true, we may be in the same storm but we are all in different boats.
The daily struggles that we all face in day to day life are now one we face behind closed doors, this does not mean we should be alone in our struggles. At the start of lockdown we shared our blog on Working from Home and the isolation that it can bring and some ideas on how to combat it. While this pandemic continues we have all quickly fallen into the routine of the ‘New Norm’. This does not mean people are no longer struggling it, simply means they are finding ways of hiding it.
With lockdown measures being relaxed slightly it brings with it new struggles for people; those who flaunt the rules thinking its ok we won’t be caught or we won’t get it; those who these changes have increased their stress levels or worries, worrying about leaving the house for fear of meeting more people and those who can get out more but still can’t see those loved ones and give them the hugs they have been banking up.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and we have looked at ways we can help those who may be struggling as well as looking after your own mental health. How can you help yours and others with their mental health. The most important thing is we are all different and what works for some doesn’t work for everyone, so remember the important thing is if you are struggling please speak out and talk to someone.
Video calls with friends and family – There are so many platforms out there for this, from Whats app to Facebook, then House Party and ZOOM! Whilst it mostly comes down to personal choice which one you choose, I suggest if you are trying to catch up with your more elderly relations who might not be so technically savvy that you pick an easy one with minimal set up and downloads such as Whats App, especially for small groups.
Watching TV or films – For those on furlough or at home in the evenings or at weekends, you may find it’s the time to watch that TV series everyone was talking about and you didn’t have time, or re visit some of those favourites. While it may not be for everyone, you many find it is a helpful distraction from the world outside.
Spending time with family – For those lucky enough to be living with family or housemates at this time, make the most of it. Take the time to play those board games that have been gathering dust, branch out on those typical evening meals and cook a new dish together. Friends of ours in Australia have picked a different country each week and cooked up a three course menu to rival most restaurants. Complete the country specific outfits and music.
Reading a book – With time to spare some will find soleus in a book, that bestseller you were given as a Christmas Present 3 years ago but haven’t had a chance to start or those books you kept saying you would download. Maybe see if a neighbour would like to do a book swap if you are looking for something new to read if kindles aren’t your thing. Have to admit we do like a proper paper book!
Exercise – There is a proven link between exercise and good mental health. If leaving the house makes you anxious try going first thing in the morning or later in the day when it’s quieter or take part in remote/online/virtual gym classes and workouts. Whether you choose staying in to do a workout in the garden, running walking or cycling getting out in the fresh air will have a very positive effect.
These are just some of the ways that you can help support your own Mental Health. If you would like more ideas there is a very quick interactive quiz available online to provide more tailored ideas to how you are feeling https://www.itv.com/britaingettalking/every-mind-matters.html
Whilst there have been many struggles there are also a number of positive to come out of this time. One of those being that many Mental Health Awareness is becoming more spoken about which can only be a positive. Secondly, the opportunities that many people are taking, new hobbies, such as drawing or knitting, or getting in touch with their inner Mary Berry and baking up a storm. There have been so many stories of families and friends meeting up ‘Virtually’, catching up with people over a video call may be something that you would not normally do and a catch up that would not have happened if we weren’t in this situation. Remembering what is important in life, and how before we were all very guilty of rushing through life cramming things in which really aren’t important.
Remember to stay safe, keep in touch with family and friends, and keep talking.