Coping with covid and the latest lockdown:

Whether it’s missing your loved ones, trying to understand the children’s home-work – I still have no idea what a trigraph or phoneme is! Juggling zoom calls with your boss whilst the dog chases the cat, or just the general monotony of being stuck indoors all day every day – lock down is affecting us all in some form or another.

Why does it feel so bad?

Our brains and bodies react to new situations based on previous experiences so for example; as a toddler if we touch something hot and it hurts then our brain remembers the outcome so the next time we are faced with a similar threat we know automatically how best to tackle it and don’t touch the hot item.

The difficulty for our brains when it comes to processing the threat of coronavirus is that nobody currently living has ever faced a global pandemic before so our brains have no previous experience to draw on to know how best to deal with the ever changing situation. This creates anxiety which when added to the emotions of missing family and friends, uncertainty about jobs and the worry of becoming unwell it’s no wonder that the latest research is saying upto 10 million people in England now need new or additional mental health support.

What can you do to make it feel easier?

There are a few things that we can do that will help the situation feel more manageable:

1 – Talk about how you’re feeling

It’s important to acknowledge how you are feeling and to accept that these emotions are perfectly natural and normal based on the circumstances. Share your worries with your friends and loved ones.

2 – Get into a routine

Routines help us feel in control, we learn from a young age that a routine allows us to plan and anticipate what is happening next. Forming healthy habits can reduce stress which in turn improves our mental health.  Make a plan for the day with set times for tea and lunch breaks if you’re working from home.

3- Look after your physical self

Exercise releases endorphins which boost our mood, it helps improve our sleep and is proven to reduce stress levels. A 15 minute walk every day is enough to help things feel better and more manageable.

4- Avoid fake news

There are endless sources of information out there relating to covid, unfortunately it is not always accurate and this can lead to added anxiety. Try and stick to only reading official gov.uk reports and documents from trustworthy sources before choosing to believe it. If reading the reports gets too upsetting then limit yourself to how much news you watch or read.

5- Stay Connected

Social interaction is essential to all aspects of our health but particularly our mental health; spending time with friends boosts our mood, reduces our stress and gives us a sense of belonging. If covid guidelines are preventing physical meetups then make use of online platforms such as zoom, whatsapp and google meet. There are lots of free online multiplayer quizzes and activities available too which can be a fun way of keeping in touch.