You would have had to be living in a cave to miss the Prime Minister announcing on Monday night that we are now all stuck in our homes for the foreseeable future. We know that having your freedom taken away from you is not something you ever expected to happen just as Spring begins to come in, but it’s true of many countries all over the world, and is 100% necessary to fight COVID-19. But, just because it’s necessary doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. So here are 8 things you need to remember to get you through the other side of lockdown with your mental health intact.
1) You are not alone
We know it can feel like you are alone. The term isolation, after all, literally means being alone. But you are not. If you are lucky enough to be isolated with your family/flatmates/partner and you get on with them, use this time to reconnect and spend some quality time together. If you are flying solo, do whatever you can to stay connected and stay busy. However you are spending this time, remember the whole world is staying home right now. We know it might not be much consolation, but it’s something.
2) Take this time to catch up on your life
Take this time to do all the stuff you have been putting off for months in favour of socialising and other things. Clear out your room, finish that piece of work, plan that trip – whatever you’ve been putting off is now going to be number one on your list to get done. It will give you a great sense of achievement for finally sorting it, which we all need when we are stuck inside and it can feel like there’s little to strive for.
3) Or take a breather
Most of us lead a pretty stressful life day to day, so this is the perfect time to take a breath, pause, and reassess what is really important. If you are working from home, whether that’s your job, uni or school, keep a bit of a structure to your days but don’t put the usual amount of pressure on yourself to be productive or perform really well. It’s a crazy time right now, and we are all feeling the anxiety, so piling on extra stress where it isn’t necessary isn’t going to help.
4) Connect with friends and family
Spend some time with the people you love, however you can spend it. For those who you live with, try to do some fun stuff like movie nights, board game nights or online exercise classes all together. If you aren’t with the people you want to hang out with right now, keep booking in Skype sessions and play games on Houseparty together, and keep the group chat lively. It can be easy to feel disconnected, and the longer you guys go without speaking, the more it’s going to feel that way. Now is the time to put the effort in, not just for your mental health, but for the people you love as well.
5) And with yourself
Take this time to work on you. Reconnect with your hobbies, read that book you’ve had for years but have never finished, take care of yourself and stay fit and healthy. We all need some serious kindness right now, and it’s going to start with you. For some extra tips on how to get through this difficult time, give this a read.
6) It’s OK to not be super positive about it
One thing that has come out of all of this is the number of people posting on social media about how they are staying at home and being productive, exercising, learning, reading, baking and everything else that could possibly be done at home. Well, we are here to tell you, that you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to.
We all compare ourselves to social media from time to time, and now that everyone on the planet is spending more time on it, it’s even more likely. But you don’t have to do loads of stuff to be productive, and you don’t have to be happy about having to stay inside. Just talk about it with the people in your life and get it off your chest.
7) Remember, it won’t go on forever
We all feel a little lost at sea in this situation, especially given that there is no way to tell how long it’s all going to go on for. But the important thing to remember is that, even though we have no idea how long it will last, it will not last forever, and there will be a time when we can all step outside and reconnect.
8) And it’s for a really really good reason.
It’s not like we are all doing this for no reason. We are all doing this to keep ourselves, our families and out communities safe. No one likes getting their ability to do what they want taken away from them, and socialising is the most natural human thing in the world, but right now, we need to keep thinking about the bigger picture.
It will be alright, we will get through it, and like every other hard time you’ve ever survived, this too shall pass.
If you are feeling the effects of self-isolation and social distancing, you can reach out to our community here for confidential support and advice from one of our team of trained Digital Mentors.