There’s no doubt that many of us are feeling overwhelmed in the midst of a third lockdown with changing restrictions governing our lives. Many of us continue to face a prolonged period of time stuck indoors and have had to adapt the way we live our lives, with added pressures of the cold weather, working from home and homeschooling.
Understandably, this can affect our physical and mental health with experts warning of a secondary epidemic of burnouts and stress-related absenteeism which, in turn, can lead to long term health issues in the future.
If you feel like you're struggling during lockdown, we’ve put together our recommendations for what you can do to look after your mental wellbeing.
Do at least one enjoyable or relaxing activity a day
It’s important to be able to switch off and this can be anything from going for a walk, reading a book or doing some drawing. Let your household know that you’re taking some time out for yourself so that you aren’t disturbed.
Manage your news intake
Watching the news constantly can make you more anxious and fearful of the uncertainty of the future. It’s important to keep informed but also to find a balance so limit your checks to set times or a couple of times a day.
Look after your eating habits
During these cold winter evenings, it can be easy to reach for the crisps or biscuits but too much can leave your blood sugar levels imbalanced and leave you feeling lethargic. Try to have regular nutritious meals – it’s fine to have a treat every now and then but just be aware of your consumption.
Get a good nights sleep
Sleep is essential for our mental health but many people struggle to get a full nights sleep due to worry or our minds being overstimulated. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep a day; set up a routine to get to bed at the same time every night and try to give yourself a tech-free hour before you go to sleep.
Acknowledge your feelings
It’s normal and acceptable to feel upset, overwhelmed or stressed and being open, whether it be talking to someone or writing your feelings down, can be a weight off your mind and help you to focus on the present. Mindfulness techniques can also help people deal with feelings of anxiety; apps such as Headspace or Calm offer free guided sessions.
Ask for support
For many people, the idea of going into a stricter lockdown may feel overwhelming. If you feel your mental health is affecting your wellbeing, make sure you reach out to speak to somebody and talk about how you’re feeling. This could be a loved one, your GP, your employer or a mental health organisation such as Mind.