Becky here again. Thanks to those of you who shared my last post! Today we are going to be talking about a topic that has been relevant to all of us over the last few months during lockdown.
If you’d said to me 4 months ago (has it really been 4 months?!), that I was going to spend my next few months in a national lockdown, be confined to my home, unable to see friends or family outside of my household, travel no more than 5 miles from my village, well, I never would have believed you. How could anyone predict such a strange turn of events?
After a 10 minute speech from the PM, our whole world as we know it changed. We were left in a position none of us could ever have imagined, with for many I am sure, left with very little experience and tools to cope, with the inevitable stress and anxiety that most of us experienced at one point during all of this. A survey conducted by Mind found that 65% of adults with a mental health problem said it had become worse, and this figure was even higher, at 75% for 13-24 year olds. Sadly 22% of people over the age of 13, without pre-existing mental health problems, said that their mental health had become poor, or very poor.
One common theme that has emerged on social media throughout all of this, is how important coping mechanisms and activities have been to people, to help manage their wellbeing during lockdown. Now that lockdown is easing, and further changes to all of our routines are imminent, more than ever it is vital to take time for self-care, and ensure we are all looking after our mental health. I’ve included some tips below that my friends and I found useful, and I hope they help!
“I moved to the highlands shortly before lockdown (a happy coincidence), and so I was fortunate to have all this incredible scenery surrounding me, and lots of places to go hiking with my dogs. I also found running on some of my local trails helped me manage my stress and anxiety during lockdown. See some pictures from my adventures below!”
“I have been outdoor swimming a lot during lockdown. I have heard a lot about the positive effects of cold water, and have definitely felt the benefits myself!”
Jen, in Glasgow, has an array of tips which have made a difference to her:
“I have found that maintaining a normal routine, even if I feel like I can’t be bothered, has helped me immensely. Set your work alarm, get up at your usual time, shower like you’re going to work, set a lunchtime, set a dinner time and set a time to stop is beneficial. If you don’t have a hobby, be comfortable that your hobby is relaxing – I watch TV or read. Go out and a walk at least once a day- I have a dog so this helps. Try to send your friends/family a message once a day – you will find the people in your life are amazingly friendly.
Try Snapchat for sending video messages – it’s fun! Join an online zoom art class- even if you’re rubbish, it’s fun and therapeutic. If you’re in lockdown with someone else play a boardgame- not monopoly or Scrabble, try something different! Check out boardgame geek online or play boardgames with your friends on simulators. Finally, don’t fool yourself that you will get into running, health, yoga or changing your life dramatically- who you are and what you already do is absolutely good enough .”
“My garden has been a total lifesaver when I’ve been feeling rubbish during lockdown… it would have been a totally different lockdown in winter!”
“I definitely find getting out for a walk helps me sort out my mind. Whenever I’m stressed or sad or tired I will feel 100 times better after a walk, the higher up and further away I can get away from civilisation, the better I feel.”
“I would agree with Jen, definitely try to keep a routine and some normality in your life. And Ailsa is right about walks, I always feel better after one, even if it’s after dinner in the evening, and especially if the weather is nice! Also, trying to watch some funny TV shows and movies can help give you a wee boost if you’re not having the best day.
If you have to work from home, try to keep a routine, take breaks and go for a lunchtime walk if you can, and try to keep your work space separate from the rest of your home if you can (if you have a small spare room, you could make that into your study/work space so you can close the door at the end of your workday, to help keep the rest of your home from feeling like your workplace).”
“I can only agree with what’s been said. Routines and plans and wee projects around the house and garden have kept me going. I have kept in regular contact with friends and family and reconnected with others too. The hardest part for me has been the lack of actual physical contact but FaceTime/WhatsApp and zoom meetings have been great.”
“I’ve been doing lots of dog walking in the forest, hugging Pandora a lot (my very cute dog), mindfulness, meditation, yoga, journaling, and created a herb garden. I’ve also cried when I needed to (this is getting less, gradually), talked to friends when I’ve felt able to, and been kind to myself. Bubble baths, candles and wine on occasion too!”
I hope you find some of these examples helpful, thank you so much to everyone who contributed! Stay tuned for our next blog post – we’ll be interviewing one of my colleagues, Hugh Asher. Hugh is actually running some really useful online workshops which will provide you with even more tools to add to your wellbeing toolbox. And as always, please do share this post if you think it will be helpful to others.
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