Since COVID-19 pandemic began, it has been impacting our lives and with the second lockdown, it means we are spending more time indoors and spending less time with friends and relatives.
It is obvious that this impact dramatically affects the way we feel and is detrimental to our mental health.
When the first nationwide lockdown was imposed, it was a shock to everyone as we all had to stay indoors, couldn’t go to work or even go out visiting on weekdays as we used to.
To complicate it, many people lost their loved ones to the virus and also battled it.
Yvonne Doyle, Director of Health Protection at Public Health English (PHE) mentioned; the spring lockdown had caused upsurge in mental distress with recent reports soaring up to eight per cent in comparison to last year’s record.
Just recently, the PHE flagged off its campaign program, Every Mind Matters stating that at least 30 percent of peoples reported mental health problems – which suggests that the people needed treatment.
In an interview on Today programme with BBC Radio 4, Prof Doyle emphasized that it’s necessary that people get help when they’re experiencing mental health problems.
When untreated, mental health problems can get out of control – reaching crisis point which leads those impacted feeling helpless and worthless.
It is in the respite that The Sun launched its You’re Not Alone campaign with the goal of reminding anyone experiencing feeling down or sad or any form of mental illness in this tough time that there’s hope. By this, if you’re ever feeling there’s nowhere to turn to, know that there’s hope for you.
Anxiety is when we’re worried, feeling tense or afraid – especially about things we perceive are happening, about to happen or think could happen in the future – According to Mind.
While anxiety is a natural response to circumstances like the nationwide lockdown we’re experiencing now, you can ease it in so many ways.
Feeling alone and isolated
The second lockdown is a serious threat to us as a people and it’s absolutely easy to bottle up how you’re feeling. When it’s about anxiety, many individuals think they are on their own.
Speaking to a relative or family member or friend that you trust might help ease your anxiety feelings.
According to Pharmacist Anshu Kaura from LloydsPharmacy, during these lockdowns, people will experience a lot of changes to their lives that have been within them for many years. She noted that making and maintaining a routine is key and this could mean, scheduling time to talk to your friends, families and colleagues.
Mind further states that simply speaking to someone you can confide in about the source of your anxiety can give you tremendous relief.
Candidly, having someone talk and listen to you and show affection that they care can significantly help.
But if you don’t have someone who you can open up to, you can try Samaritans and Anxiety UK. They both run full time helpline service which is available to you.
Lack of motivation
According to Pharmacy2U recent study, about 28 per cent of adults reported feeling stressed during many times of the day while two-third report experiencing anxiety.
Supporting this assertion, superintendent pharmacist, Phil Day, noted that daily activities like walking to the supermarket could make people anxious, especially now that people are forced to stay and work from home.
He also noted, “there is a possibility of addressing anxiety feelings by engaging simple changes that makes our lives less stressful. An example is engaging physical activity that can help bring out minds into a relaxed state.
Regular exercise is effective in relieving stress and anxiety through the release of endorphins which helps us sleep well.
Simply engaging in activities like walking, running or cycling can slightly increase your heart rate, and elevate your mood. Exercise is also important for your mental wellbeing and having an exercise schedule can help reduce anxiety level. Interestingly, exercising for just 5 minutes can do you a lot of benefits.
While public gyms are not accessible to you during this second lockdown, you can go outside to take a walk. And, there are also many resources available to encourage you to stay motivated.
Food has a significant impact on the mood and how we feel. According to Pharmacist Sultan Dajani, when we are not feeling ourselves, we tend to reach out for soothing food like high sugar foods.
These foods may make us feel good and better for a while, usually seconds, but will not help us in the long run. Hence, having a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fish will give you the adequate nutrient required for boosting your mood.
Obviously, sleep has a strong effect on our wellbeing and how we feel. It is likely that many people will have problems with sleep due to the second lockdown. It is clear that during the first nation lockdown, a lot of people reported having vivid dreams – leaving them tired during most times of the day. Too little sleep can cause anxiety.
To get good night sleep, it is necessary to engage in relaxing activities before going to bed. Some of the activities that are very effective are reading, listening to cool music or meditating.
Insufficient sleep can also lead to more irritation and anxiousness. It is crucial that we have a good routine by having a regular sleeping cycle and avoiding caffeine before going to bed and exercising frequently.
Behind mask anxiety
Since the lockdown, we have compulsorily been using masks in public transportation, shops, and supermarkets. Not everyone wears a mask but seeing someone wearing a mask can get you anxious. Minds notes that if you feel anxious seeing someone wear a mask, try and shift your focus away from the person. If you’re directly involved in conversation with them, maintain side-by-side posture so that you look the same direction as them.
If you think wearing a mask gets you uncomfortable, then think of it as fashion. As described by Mind, look for masks having beautiful designs and patterns that state who you are. You can also buy a collection of masks that matches your outfits.
BYou’re suppressing everything
It is true that many people might have cleared their diaries and journals after the first lockdown was lifted. It is also true that dairies of our adventures may have been cleared again due to the second lockdown. But the crux of the matter is that writing down how you feel during this time is very to ease anxiety and get your feeling under control.
According to Minds, taking note will avail you the knowledge of what happens or triggers anxiety or the panics. It will help you identify the patterns in which are triggered and when anxiety is about to set in.
“You can also make notes of good things you’re doing.” Moreover, anxiety feelings come with thinking about a lot of things that will worry you and think are hard to do. “So, you’re doing yourself a lot of good when you are kind to yourself, notice, and appreciate the good things you could achieve daily.”
In addition to the six ways you can watch out for anxiety during the second lockdown and ways you can manage them, therapies are alternatives to making you overcome anxiety.
You can engage natural therapies like yoga; herbal treatments and aromatherapy; Bach flower remedy, and hypnotherapy – all which work well for several purposes and symptoms. You can try any and see which works best for you.
“Some people feel better by using one or more of the therapies and have been found to be effective in relaxing and sleeping well.
You will find herbal remedies in health shops. And the chemists will be able to advice you accordingly.
Pharmacist Matt Courtney-Smith also suggested essential oils like CBD oils. He mentioned that this year has recorded higher effectiveness of essential oils which suggests that people are strongly benefiting from it. Oils like Vitality Calm Support have Californian poppy, 5-HTP and magnesium which are substances that help nourish the body and make it calmer.