The impact of lockdown on our anxiety
Given the unique situation we all find ourselves in because of the global pandemic, it is understandable that many people are finding their mental health is not as healthy as previously.
The Office for National Statistics' (ONS) recent report shows personal well-being scores for life satisfaction, feeling that things done in life are worthwhile and happiness recorded some of the lowest levels since this survey began in March 2020; the anxiety score improved slightly this week compared with last week but only just, which leaves so many people still suffering from anxiety.
Winter can be a difficult time and is when seasonal depression, known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) sets in. January is known for being one of the toughest months, and no wonder since around this time of year the skies are grey, the air is chilled and more importantly, the sun is rarely seen. Thank goodness spring is on its way, so now is the perfect time to consider a mental health spring clean.
With the government aware of the impact the fluctuating lockdown is having on peoples’ well-being, Public Health England launched 'Every Mind Matters' a campaign to support the nations’ mental well-being. This follows numerous articles and suggestions in the media with mental health tips that include:
- avoiding speculation
- looking for reputable sources for information
- trying to stay connected (because at times of stress we are better with support)
- looking after your mental health while you stay at home as lockdown eases
Other sources of well-being guidance can be found on platforms such as YouTube and Eventbrite and these are great support for many people.
For some people, however, navigating their way through the diverse range of advice and well-being content is not easy when they are feeling anxious, overwhelmed and raw because they have been, or are still going, to hell and back. Whether your hellish journey has been caused by the pandemic or it started before any of us had ever heard of COVID-19, counselling can help you make sense of, and recover from, your experience. There are many ways or modalities of working that therapists are trained in. Counselling Directory lists 40 types of therapy in their A-Z list.
So, for someone thinking about talking therapy; who do you choose and what therapeutic approach is best for you? It is part of human nature to try and make sense of life, others and ourselves. Talking with an attuned therapist who not only seeks to understand your experience, but provides a space for you to sort out your problems and pain without judgement, and provides a confidential and empathic working relationship where you can talk about things you might not be able to discuss with anyone else, can help you on your journey.
Many therapists offer a free initial session to look at the issues on your mind and provide you with the opportunity to get a feeling for how they work. It is wise to make good use of this genuine offer until you find the person you can build a therapeutic relationship with within which you feel comfortable.
This is so important, for you to feel safe and explore your own thoughts, feelings or behaviours.
Under the government’s lockdown rules, services relating to mental health are allowed to remain open although it has not provided any specific advice regarding counselling or psychotherapy. Some therapists continue to offer face-to-face sessions but many have moved to online or provide telephone therapy, while some offer a combination of options to their clients.
Support for anxiety
As you have read this far, I am curious what attracted you to this article. The title maybe, after all the impact this pandemic has had on mental health is undeniable. Anxiety, a feeling plaguing so many people right now, can be good when it helps us prepare and not be overconfident. When anxiety is no longer normal, is when our life is dominated by this emotion, when it penetrates our sleep, anxiety then is not good for us.
So, if anxiety can be normal, by the way, without this we would become cold and calculating, how on earth do we get rid of the unhealthy anxiety that is blighting our lives? The answer is to better understand our own unique emotions including stress. I encourage you to book at least one free initial session and find yourself a therapist where you can dismantle the cloud of anxiety you are sitting under, to set yourself up for a much better year ahead.