Maintaining your mental health during the second lockdown
Halloween is normally dedicated to scary fun. However, this year, Halloween felt a bit more serious when the UK government announced a second national lockdown starting on Thursday 5th November 2020.
Going back into lockdown may seem daunting but remember that we got through the first one, so we can get through the next one. As it’s winter we need to dedicate extra attention towards maintaining our mental health and wellbeing. So, here are a few suggestions to help you and your loved ones manage your stress and anxiety to get throughout a second lockdown.
Learn from experience
As this is our second lockdown, we are more prepared and have an idea of what to expect. So, take some time to reflect on the last lockdown, think about the things that you did to maintain positive mental health and wellbeing and then make a list of things you can do to improve your wellbeing during the second lockdown.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Remember that we are all in the same situation, therefore we can all relate to each other and understand that others are likely to feel the same level of stress and anxiety about going back into lockdown. You don’t need to be productive all the time, everyone has their lazy days but make sure you have a routine in place to help you wake up a reasonable time, maintain good personal hygiene, limit alcohol intake and ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet. It can be easy to slip into unhealthy habits if you do not have a routine in place, so write it down and stick to it.
Regulate how much media you consume
Make sure you stay up-to-date with government advice on reputable news sites, but do not obsess over statistics and updates. Remember that when first wave hit us, it took a while for the curve to flatten so be patient.
Make sure you keep in contact with your loved ones
Being away from your friends and family is hard but we are lucky that we can communicate with each other virtually. As we thrive off human contact, we may feel lonely during lockdown so it’s important that we stay connected to friends and family through the phone, video calls and social media. Make sure you check in with your loved ones, especially if they’re living on their own as a little contact can go a long way.
Exercise is known to help lift moods and combat depression but with the gyms likely to close again, it is important to find alternative ways to stay active during the second lockdown. Going out for a walk is a good way to recharge, get fresh air, improve your mental health and get that all-important vitamin D when the sun is shining. Having a back-up plan for exercises you can do inside when the weather is poor will ensure that you maintain an active lifestyle and positive mental health.
Create a routine and stick to it
Try to go to sleep and wake up at similar times each day to regulate your body clock, which has been linked to positive mental health. When you get up, dress for work as if you were going into the office, prepare to have a lunch break and include a transition activity to create a clear end to your working day. Try to build in some down-time during your day as well to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Our team member Matt Siggens said, "When we hear ‘work life balance’ we all give it a different meaning. For some people it is being able to drop children off at school, for others having long weekends away or squeezing in a gym session during your lunch break. What is common across most interpretations is the idea that you are either at work, or not at work. However, the new work-life balance, in my opinion, seems to be aligned to finding time to be off work whilst you are at work. For example, today, I am working from home; I started at 07:00 and worked diligently until 14:00, when I stopped for a break becuase my head was buzzing. Did I grab a coffee or biscuit like I would have at work? No, because I am not at work. So, I spent half and hour clearing leaves in the back garden and giving the grass a long overdue cut. "BUT YOU ARE AT WORK!" you cry. You are right, but I used that time for my brain to have a rest and to do something that I no longer have to do at the weekend. The time between turning the computer on and off is half and hour, but now, I can give my family extra time on the weekend and this is something I value as part of a healthy work-life balance."
Use a SAD light
Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder and there are UV desk lights available that some people find helpful during days with reduced day light.
It may feel a little tougher but we’ve got this!
With the days getting shorter, darker and colder, it may feel tough, but remember there is light at the end of the tunnel as we’re helping our amazing NHS cope with the rising number of cases.
Everyone will have good and bad days but just remember we’re not doing this because we want to, we’re doing it because we all need to do our bit to stop the virus spreading. So, remember to wear your mask, practice social distancing and stay positive!
We’ve been through this once, so we can do this again!