Mental health and lockdown 3
Here we are again, another lockdown. What a way to start 2021. We all thought this would be a better year, with more freedom, more memories, and more fun. But, instead, almost a year later, we are still stuck indoors, with stricter rules than before.
We are currently living in a world where many us feel trapped. Our mental health is deteriorating as we feel we have no control over our own lives. When will this be over, and when it is, how will we recover?
Trauma is a response to a distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms our ability to manage, causing feelings of helplessness, diminishing our sense of self and ability to feel a range of emotions. For many of us, this part of our lives will be classed as trauma.
This pandemic, the uncertainty, the in and out of lockdown, is traumatic. Many do not realise that we are all mentally affected by the constant confusion and anxieties that come with COVID-19.
Our lives have been flipped upside down. We cannot work, we lose jobs, we cannot provide for our families. Schools are closed, we are working from home and trying to raise and educate our children, we are also trying to be strong for our children. Young adults are losing out on their education, leading up to exams which are taking place one minute, and then cancelled the next. We have lost loved ones, or experienced them in great pain. This is all trauma.
We are struggling, and that’s OK.
What isn’t OK is the need to occupy yourself. The need to be productive 24/7. The need to be the best at a new hobby or skill, or be totally present for your children all of the time. Learn to take a step back, learn to give yourself just five minutes of peace. Learn to feel.
Learn to feel your emotions, understand what is happening within you, what you’re dealing with, what you’re struggling with, and what will make it easier for you. The more we bury those heavy feelings, the stronger they will be when they decide to show themselves. And, if you're lucky enough to bury them so deep they never surface again, then just beware - they'll manifest in other ways, more physical symptoms (headaches, stomach aches, anxiety attacks etc).
But let's take a step back for a moment. What is in your control?
Tips to help you feel in control
1. When you feel you have no control, make a list of all the things you do have control, as this can help to ground you.
2. Keep to a schedule or routine. This will help you feel life is still “normal.” Breaking routine can leave you feeling a little lost.
3. Make sure you regularly get outdoors for fresh air. I know it’s hard when it’s this cold but fresh air and Vitamin D have a direct positive impact on our mental health.
4. Add a few bits into your day that you truly enjoy. Whether that’s baking, knitting, watching an episode of your favourite TV show, or simply sitting looking out the window.
5. Remember, you don’t have to be productive all the time. It’s OK if you don’t achieve much one day compared to what you’re seeing your friends and family do.
6. Be kind to yourself - you’re living through a pandemic.
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