Lockdown is a hard time for us all and everyone is coping differently. I felt compelled to write this post after reading that the suicide rate has increased during lockdown which is just heartbreaking. To hear that people are feeling that down and isolated they feel that taking their own life is the only option is so sad and more needs to be done to reach out and help people feeling this way before it is too late.
Staying positive and trying to ride this out is great but it is not going to help you in the short term. It is not a good idea to base your current happiness on a thought for the future that is out of your control.
The best thing to do is take a minute to think about what small changes you can implement now to make life more bearable until the day arrives that we are allowed out again and to fulfil a normal life.
Here are some simple steps you can do now to try and help with your current mental health:
Let it out
First thing is let your emotions out and don’t try and ignore them. Having a good cry can help with this and release some stored up emotions.
It is also important to think about what made you feel like this in the first place and not just lockdown in general but what parts are you struggling with. Writing them down will help you to understand and have a better picture of the areas where you need to implement small changes.
Limit or cut out social media
If you are feeling down and struggling then seeing pictures plastered everywhere of everyone happy and enjoying lockdown is not going to help. We always seem to judge ourselves by what we see others doing especially over social media. However social media is very subjective and not an accurate outlook of how people really feel. By limiting or taking yourself off social media you will be taking away that unrealistic standard of which to judge yourself by.
Limit the news exposure
With all that is happening at the moment the media channels seem to be showing an endless cycle of bad news so watching constantly can make anyone feel sad. Watching too much of the news can be overwhelming and will cause you to feel sad and panicked by what is going on so limiting your exposure to it can help improve your mood.
Set a routine
Now this doesn’t have to be a military style routine but having some kind of routine will help put some structure to your days during lockdown. We keep the routine of doing an exercise video every morning. This isn’t always at the same time every day but Monday – Friday at some point in the morning we do the video all of us together. I try to then do homeschooling until 3pm (notice the word TRY as it is not always successful), even if home learning isn’t going well I still will do my best to not let them on their tablets to play until after 3pm. The other part of our routine is going for our daily walk after dinner everyday. As you can see this is a very relaxed routine but it helps massively to bring some structure to the day.
Find a Hobby
Finding and participating in a hobby will keep your mind occupied and off what is currently happening and will also lift your mood and help improve your mental health.
Drawing, painting, knitting or writing are all great activities to keep your mind occupied and will help lift your mood. I know this can be hard if you have young children but if you are really struggling with your mental health then there is no shame in leaving your children in front of the TV for a bit so you can take some time for yourself and do an activity that is going to help your mental health. Parenting can be hard especially during this current situation so if needed use the power of TV and electronics to create some time for yourself. Once you are feeling better you will be in a better frame of mind to help your children.
You could also take some time in the evening when the children are in bed to do a hobby that you enjoy even if just once a week instead of sitting down to watch TV. Being creative and achieving something will help boost your mood and improve your mental health.
I have spent a lot of time drawing, writing poems and stories which I could lose myself in for ages and completely forget for a while what is going on. Once I have finished writing or drawing I feel so much happier and calmer. I have put together a post of lockdown poems that others and I have written.
Take a look at my post – Art is good for the soul (even if you are not very good at it) for some benefits art can have on your mental health.
Make a List
With the days all merging into one and us having no commitments to adhere to like work and school runs it is hard to keep the motivation going. Week by week the motivation is slipping further and further away. That is why making a short list everyday of things to do can help give you motivation. I put things like hover, clean bathroom, fold washing, on my list, things that normally I would just get on and do but with lockdown my motivation is slipping so writing them down helps. I find that having these little tasks written down that once I have completed them and tick them off the list it gives me a sense of achievement and a bit of motivation to take on other tasks that weren’t on the list. As well as cleaning my list also contains things like, get the children to draw a picture, drink more water, eat 2 pieces of fruit and other small things like this that can help make the day more positive when achieved.
If everything is getting too much for you then please reach out either to family, friends, mental health charities or there have even been lots of support groups set up to help others during lockdown. So many people are suffering from mental health issues at the moment so please don’t feel you have to suffer alone. The NHS have a list of helpline numbers you can call for help and advice.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
We have all been thrown into a situation that we were not ready for and have no control over when it will be over. No one was prepared or expected this and we are all trying to find ways to cope. I don’t think there is a parent or individual who has not struggled and found things hard at least once during lockdown.
If you do have a bad day where you feel down, homeschooling has been a flop, you have all eaten crap all day don’t feel guilty about it we all are having these days. Just try and make some small steps (maybe write a list of things to do, see above) that you can do to make the next day slightly better.
It is important that you take things easy and one step at a time making small changes to help with your mental health and well being.
If you are struggling with homeschooling you need to remember that teachers go through years of training to be able to do the task of teaching our little ones something we have not had so don’t feel guilty if your home lessons don’t always work out. Do take a look at my post. Please stop worrying about homeschooling your children.
If you are looking for further ways to improve your mental health then I have also written a post – Ways to improve your mental health during lockdown.
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