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Managing Mental Health In A Pandemic

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So we are back here again... but this time we’re a little more prepared. In lockdown, our normal coping strategies might not be available to us, so this is the time to draw on our inner resources to cope the best we can.

If there is anything lockdown 1.0 taught us, it’s that we are all impacted differently. With this in mind, we’ve created a comprehensive guide on how you can take of yourself mentally and emotionally during lockdown 2.0.

Create a daily plan
We thrive off structure and routine. If you’re not careful, the blurred boundaries between work and home life can throw this all off balance. Whilst it might be tempting to lie in and stay in your PJ’s, try and keep to your daily routine as
much as possible.

Sticking to a routine will not only make you feel grounded, but it will also feel rewarding knowing you got the most out of your day.

Start with mindfulness
The benefits of learning to get out of your head and into your body is highly rewarding. By being mindful the present, it is impossible to dwell on the past (depression) or worry about the future (anxiety). Start your day right with a meditation session using apps including Calm and Headspace.

Train your brain
Practise gratitude for the positive things in your life right now rather than focusing on the things you don’t have. By writing down what you’re grateful for (i.e. your health, your cosy bed, close friends), you can train your mind to focus upon the positives rather than the negatives.

Eating and Drinking Well
What you put in your body will affect how you feel about yourself. Be conscious of your food choices as these will impact your mood, energy and productivity. Also,
remember, alcohol is a depressant in some people. Enjoy the occasional tipple, but call yourself out if you notice it negatively impacting your everyday.

Move your body
Try and exercise, even it’s for 15 minutes. By doing so, your body releases feel-good hormones, endorphins and serotonin, which gives you a natural energy boost and triggers positive feelings within the body.

Plus, your body also becomes better at managing cortisol levels - the hormone that’s released in response to emotional or psychological stress.

Balance Your Activities
During the first lockdown you may have felt pressure to hustle harder than ever. And whilst it’s satisfying to tick items off your to-do list, there’s also merit in giving yourself a break and doing activities that are just for fun.

What nourishes you or brings you a sense of joy? Maybe it’s an online yoga class, a group meditation or a gaming session. Whatever you’re into, make sure you strike a balance between essential tasks and mindful activities that are just for you.

Give yourself a break
It’s normal to be experiencing ups and downs at the moment. On down days, be extra gentle with yourself. Remind yourself how far you’ve come, and take a moment to appreciate the positive things in your life.

Plan for 2021
You may have had to put alot of things on hold, but nevertheless, start planning for the future. What holidays would you like to go on? What hobbies do you want to take up? Make a 2021 bucket list.

Embrace Moments of Joy
Whilst major events like birthdays, weddings and holidays have been put on hold, try and spark some joy in the little things within your days. Perhaps its a text or email you’ve received, the early morning sunrise or your favourite show on Netflix releasing a new season! Being grateful for the little things will improve your positivity and mental wellbeing.

It's Good to Talk
Ensure that you have open, honest and compassionate conversations with someone you trust - it’s incredibly powerful and empowering. Internalising conflict over the long-term can be very inflammatory, affecting your mental and physical health. Never be afraid to seek professional help and keep trying different people until you feel comfortable and find the right fit.

This Isn't Forever
Everything is temporary. Negative feelings you may have now, won’t be there forever. Remember, there are much, much brighter days ahead of you!

If you ever feel in need of support with your mental wellbeing, or general life support, you can reach out to a wide range of support organisations which we have listed on the following page.

Download our full resource here.