Mental Health Awareness Week takes place in the UK between the 18th and 24th May this year, but the recent lockdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis has led to a sharper focus on our mental health with many suffering in silence in their own homes.
As with many other health issues, mental health appears to have had to taken a back seat to the devastating Covid-19 virus, with health services around the world stretched to breaking point in their fight against a disease that has already claimed so many lives globally.
The restrictions placed on the movement on individuals in many countries, however, have the potential to do more longer-term damage to their mental health.
How Lockdown can Affect our Mental Health
One of the best ways to maintain good mental health is through a routine and for many people, that seems to have been the first thing that has gone out of the window while in lockdown.
Even if you are working from home, the temptation to sleep on in the morning and work more relaxed or non-traditional hours has played havoc with our tried and trusted routine.
For those who have been furloughed and are only receiving 80% of their normal wage, or people who have lost their jobs altogether, the stress brought on by unexpected financial problems will have a detrimental effect on their mental health.
Uncertainty over the future is also a big trigger for anxiety and that’s before you even through in the threat of being exposed to a life-threatening disease.
Normally, one of the best antidotes for such stress is to get a change of scenery, so walking or running and exercising. While this is still permitted in some areas, it has been curtailed and tightly policed, meaning gaining relaxation from such pursuits is difficult.
What are the Best Ways to Take Care of our Mental Health While in Lockdown?
There are many tried and trusted methods for mental health improvement which we may feel are not available to us during the lockdown. However, many of them have arguably taken on more importance than ever.
One of them is keeping in touch with others and, thanks to technology, we can still do this through video calling and apps such as Zoom. Just talking to friends and family and being able to see their face can be very uplifting, particularly for people who live alone. Remember, everyone is in the same boat, so you shouldn’t feel concerned about sharing your anxiety and worries with others.
Getting into a routine is also vital to maintaining good mental health in lockdown. If you are working from home, you should set up a work station away from your bedroom or living room. This will help you to separate your home and work life and try as best you can to stick to your normal working hours (OK, so you may enjoy getting a bit of that commuting time back).
It may seem obvious to many, but get washed and dressed each morning as this can give you a lift, even if you are not going anywhere. Taking pride in your appearance will make you feel better about yourself and put you in a more positive frame of mind.