Checking in with your mental health has never been more important!
There has been a lot of talk surrounding mental health in the past few years. The biggest campaign in UK mental health history- #ItsOkToNotBeOK helped to open up the discussion of mental health to everyone.
But 2020 has changed the way we open up. Our world is now a landscape of Zoom meetings (other brands available) keeping 2 meters apart, and wearing a mask. All things needed to help curb this awful pandemic. But what is the mental health toll on people in this new landscape.
How many people have missed a smile that they needed because a face mask has covered it? How many zoom meetings have we sat with our agonised over bookshelf background, hoping you’re not being judged for your house? How many hugs have we missed that we truly needed to just make the world feel a little less scary?
The answer is probably too many, and all for the greater good. We have to defeat Covid, there is no two ways about it, but the toll it is taking on people isn’t something we should shy away from talking about.
The first lockdown was brutal, it came with so much uncertainty, a constant influx of news and data and no end date in sight. It forced people out of their social offices into a spare room in the house crammed away staring at a screen for hours of the day, even being curbed to how much time you could spend outside away from home.
The isolation grew and grew, the human connection lost in an ether of screens and emails. SANE- the mental health charity saw a 200% increase in calls to its helpline during this time, showing peoples mental health really was being affected by the implementation of a nationwide lockdown.
With Lockdown 2.0 now in affect today, this will most likely be the same case again. Although restrictions are slightly less, a lot of peoples coping mechanisms to a somewhat crazy world again have been taken away. The first lockdown brought so much individual pressure to seem “productive” I’m sure the worlds banana bread stock went up exponentially during this time. The social media perspective of lockdown was that everyone was coping, loving their time at home and becoming the best version of themselves.
Social media however did not show the real side of the lockdown effect on people. The people who felt isolated and lonely, the people who struggled to juggle working from home whilst home schooling and those that in reality hate bloody banana bread!
So, how do we cope in a second lockdown?
So many people will have felt anxious from the minute the announcement came on Saturday evening. Many will have worried about their business and livelihood, others about the inevitable feelings of loneliness and isolation. However this new lockdown has affected you, or continues to affect you, its important to understand that all of these feelings are justified and are ok to have.
The expectation to cope and be your best self in another lockdown is unrealistic. It is ok to not want to join a zoom quiz every weekend, and its ok if all you did that day is breathe.
So how can you look after your mental health during this time? Yes, the normal mental health conversation of getting out and excersising, taking some time for self care absolutely apply again, but we want to give you the space to not be ok and know that it is ok to take time to adjust again.
It is ok to not be productive every day, if you need a day to just give yourself a break, then take the day. Just ensure that if you are feeling like this on a continuous basis, to speak to someone, a friend, your GP and make sure you get yourself help.
Know that it is ok to not be connected to the world constantly. The 2020 news reel hasn’t been a beacon of hope- so switch off.
Know that its ok to:
– unfollow people
– mute people
– turn off notifications
– take a social media break
– have some self care- whatever that looks like to you.
We have created a small list of organisations that can help your mental health during lockdown. We personally know the impact lockdown has on mental health here at Lumos, and we want you to know, we are all in this together.
We also added on Refuge’s details. If at any point during lockdown you become victim to any type of domestic abuse- whether that is physical, emotional or financial- please seek help. Lockdown does not mean you have to stay with an abusive partner.
Once again those organisations are:
Anxiety UK: Charity Providing Support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
C.A.L.M: CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
MIND: Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Samaritans: Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Refuge: Advice on dealing with domestic violence.
So, if you are struggling, reach out. Talk to someone, but know that even though our human connection may not be there physically, we are still connected!
And for those who need to hear this today-
“You matter! You are important! You bring happiness to people! You are never alone”
The advice within this article does not overrule that of medical help and is not professional advice. If at any point you feel your mental health is struggling, please speak with a medical professional. If you feel suicidal, please dial 999 and get the help you need. If you are suffering from any type of domestic abuse, please contact the police on 999- please be aware there is now a “silent” option when calling the police if you are in danger but cannot speak.