Lockdown and mental health: Why this lockdown feels harder and how to handle it

We’re all thinking it, this lockdown seems so much harder. Days blending into one, no difference between weekdays and weekends, extreme boredom.. Does any of this sound familiar? 

 

For many people this lockdown is much harder than before. With no end date in sight, cold and dark days, and the novelty of being at home wearing off, more people are feeling low and struggling with their mental health now more than ever.

 

As humans we are social beings, the lack of (in person) connection and freedom to live how we want can really negatively impact our mental state. Combine that with uncertainty as to when this period will be over and it can feel stressful and impact our emotional wellbeing.

 

So what can you do to try and ease those feelings and make sure you look after yourself? 

 

 

 

1. Focus on each day as it comes

 

It can be easy to focus on the future – lack of plans, time lost, unpredictability of what’s to come. Instead, focus on each day as it comes. Try to form habits that make each day a little bit better. Maybe that’s a daily lunchtime walk, exercise, calling a friend, taking up a new hobby away from exercise and work screens, such as painting. Focus on trying to enjoy the little moments each day and taking each day as it comes, instead of thinking about the future. 

 

 

2. Go outside 

 

It can be easy to stay inside, especially in the cold weather and if you work from your home and have no ‘need’ to leave. Even getting outside for ten minutes per day could really help your head space. It might not feel like much but a daily dose of fresh air is proven to improve mental health.

 

 

3. Exercise daily 

 

30 minutes of light exercise a day can make all the difference. Going on a gentle walk or short run outside will also get that much needed fresh air. 

Struggling with sleep? Exercise can help use up the energy you have and improve sleep. 

What works for one person won’t work for everyone, it’s about finding what movement feels good to you and you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to run if you hate it, instead try joining an online yoga or pilates class. There’s so many options out there now and most forms of exercise have moved online, so it’s easy to move from the comfort of your own home. 

 

 

4. Eat nutritious food

 

What you eat can really impact your mood and how you feel about yourself. Being kind to yourself includes nourishing your body with food that fuels it. 

We’re not saying don’t treat yourself, but try to eat more healthy food than treats to make sure you’re looking after yourself from the inside, out! 

 

 

5. Set daily or weekly goals

 

Take your attention away from what isn’t going right and try to set personal or work goals to focus your mind on. For example, if walking is your exercise of choice, set a weekly distance goal e.g. to walk 10k each week.

Maybe you choose to set daily goals to help your productivity so you feel less stressed and more relaxed. Pick 3 tasks you want to get done and write a to do list to keep referring back to. Many people find it therapeutic to tick off tasks using pen and paper. 

 

 

6. Do something with your spare time 

 

Maybe it’s picking up a new hobby or joining an online group to replace social situations that you feel like you’re missing out on. Love cooking? Join weekly online cookery classes where you can socialise with others and meet new people. Want to start a new business? Seek out a business coaching group where you help each other and relate to the trials and tribulations of going through the same experiences.

The point of this is to use your spare time to do something different where you can socialise and meet others in ways that you maybe wouldn’t have in ‘normal life’. If you find yourself overthinking about the future and feeling stressed, find new distractions to take up your thoughts.  

 

 

7. Ultimately, don’t be hard on yourself

 

Realising that so many feel the same, even those who revelled in the first lockdowns. Collectively, we will get through this and this time will end and life will open up again. 

Find what helps you and run with it. If you know that pushing yourself too much doesn’t work for you and instead a cup of tea and a duvet day is what helps you relax in times like these, then go for it. 

 

We hope that if you’re finding this lockdown the hardest yet, that our tips can help. 

If you try these and are still struggling with how you feel, it might help to speak to an online counsellor. 

We are a private therapist practice offering online therapy and counselling to clients across the UK.  If you’d like to speak to an online therapist, our counsellors are waiting to help. 

Contact us via our website here: https://krysallis.org.uk/about-us/contact/, by email enquiries@krysallis.org.uk or phone 01423 857939.