As lockdowns ease, anxiety could rise as we adjust to the new ‘normal’
Here are some tips for managing your mental health as we ease out of lockdown and into the new way of life, whether you are suffering with loneliness, depression, anxiety or other mental health condition, these tips may be useful.
Create a routine
Sticking to a daily schedule will help to create a sense of normality and may help to keep you grounded. If you create a list of things to do throughout the day, and dedicate some time each day to exercise and do something you like (such as reading, or engaging in a hobby), this will ensure that your time is occupied and can help the day to feel more productive.
Check in with family and friends
Just because we aren’t allowed to meet up with our friends and family in other households just yet, doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected. Make sure to check in with those you’d usually be spending time with – especially those who live alone. Why not schedule weekly calls for a catch up? You could even use these calls to schedule activities, such as quizzes or virtual film and take-out nights.
Learn a new skill
A good way to combat feelings of anxiety or loneliness is to make sure that you are keeping busy. One way to do this is to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby – such as learning to play an instrument or learning a new language. There are some online group classes available which can provide a more interactive, social experience.
The Mental Health Foundation have found that performing acts of kindness, or doing good for others has many benefits including improving support networks and reducing isolation. Volunteering could also help to ease the transition back into the working environment. Barnados have suggested that one way to do good for others is to volunteer. They argue that local charities need people to chip in now more than ever to support the vulnerable in their communities. This could be as simple as asking a neighbour, or someone who you know is shielding, if they need anything from the shops. The Mental Health Foundation have created a list of organisations and information which is useful for those looking to volunteer: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/doing-good-does-you-good/organisations
There are a number of charities who offer befriending services over the telephone – this directory can help you to find a service in your local area. There are also online support groups for loneliness and those who need someone to talk to – the Red Cross have a directory for these groups: https://www.redcross.org.uk/get-help/get-help-with-loneliness. Rethink also have a directory of support groups for carers and people with mental health problems: https://www.rethink.org/help-in-your-area/support-groups/.
[Content kindly written by Abie Taylor-Kelly, our Manchester Practitioner]
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