This past year has been crazy, none of us expected it to go the way it has and many of us were hoping that we would be able to enter a new year without the current pandemic still being here. But, we’re still going through it and see ourselves in a lockdown yet again, so much has happened in this past year, a lot of struggles, a lot of grief and just in all a lot of tragedy. It’s definitely been one of the times that we wish we could forget but never truly will. As these lockdowns are still very much here for the foreseeable it’s important to discuss important topics in regards to mental health, the stress it brings, no routines, homeschooling, the fear and the feeling of uncertainty.
We are all most likely all going through something like that at the moment, whether we’re trying to get used to having to homeschool and changing up routines, or the fact we’re just worried for the future and we fear that. Or whether our anxiety and depression have got the best of us, we’re all going to have down days throughout this pandemic. A lot of us are suffering right now and it’s important that we all try to take some time out of our days to really be there for ourselves, to take a time out and do some self-care. It doesn’t have to be loads of time, it can be going into another room and having a breather, we all deserve a little time to just breathe right now.
Depression, anxiety and stress
These three are definitely something we’re all going through right now, they’re the most common emotional responses any of us are feeling right now. With the current situation, we’re all feeling very anxious constantly and have that ongoing fear of what is to come. Not everyone is suffering from these in particular, but they’re the most commonly discussed ones. A lot of us are suffering from depression and constantly feeling down and unmotivated towards life and many of us feeling very stressed. Trying to pull yourself through the lockdown when you’re suffering takes a lot of emotional energy and can slowly burn you out, it’s important to check-in with your emotions, realise what might actually be triggering you to feel that way. Find out what exactly is making you depressed, whether there is anything you can do to help yourself and the same goes for stress. Find out if it’s is the stress of homeschooling, loss of job, finances etc.
The fear could stem from being worried you might catch the virus and then give it to people you love, but if we stick to the guidelines this is more than likely not going to happen. But, if you do have it and live with your parents or a friend or a partner, then just keep your distance as much as you can and do not go out until the recommended time is up for you. Anxiety might even stem from the fact that we kind of have this new way of normality now, this new way of living because we’re so used to it that when things do go back to normal, we might feel worried or scared because we don’t really know what that is anymore. Because things have changed so drastically.
Coping with anxiety, depression and stress
Control what can be controlled: We often get into this habit of when something goes bad we want to be able to change it straight away, but this is something we don’t really have control over. The only thing we can do is follow the guidelines and try and keep safe. This situation is out of our control and it’s important we start to realise that. Feeling that lack of control can then cause you feelings of fear and anxiety which can then lead to depression and with all that comes a bunch of stress. Learning in turn that we can’t actually control the situation will help us a lot because it means we won’t be putting constant pressure on ourselves to be able to do something about it.
Routine/distraction: Something that can really help when it comes to feelings of anxiousness and feeling depressed or stressed is to be able to set up a routine for yourself. Something to keep you motivated and to do every day to make you feel better. Whether that’s going to bed at a certain time, waking up at a certain time, having a specific morning routine or a night routine and just sticking to that. Having a to-do list to keep your mind off things and slowly going through it. Not giving yourself too much to do but giving yourself enough to keep you busy for the day if that’s what you want. Or scheduling in sometime in the day to be able to take a break for a bit and do something you enjoy. Having that one thing that keeps you distracted will make you feel better in the long run.
Pace yourself: It’s important to realise what kind of pace you need to go at, some of us put constant amounts of pressure on ourselves and we push ourselves too much. But, with lockdown and feeling depressed, stressed or anxious it’s vital to just take a step back and flow down for a little while. But, also finding ways you can make yourself feel more prepared for when things do go back to normal. Pacing yourself is really important as it allows you to stay in check with yourself and realise when things are getting too much for you.
Have some ‘me time’: When we’re going through feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, it’s important we schedule in some time for ourselves to be able to have some ‘me time’. The truth is it can simply be just taking five minutes to just sit down and do some deep breathes, or to have that time where you can go off and have a bath or shower and relax. For some of us who are very busy or perhaps have a lot of things that take up our daily lives, it can be difficult to be able to find the time. But, just remember that you don’t have to take a huge chunk out of your day, you can just take time to breathe or just do something that will make you smile and feel more relaxed.
For a blog about work-related stress, click here.
Grief is something that a lot of people have definitely experienced through this lockdown, it has been so hard for a lot of people in regards to losing loved ones. With attendances at funerals being still quite limited, it’s very tough. Having to grieve is one of the hardest processes to go through, but it’s important that you don’t lose touch with others around you, that you keep talking and you reach out to them if you need to talk or a professional if you need help with the grieving process.
It can be very hard having to adjust to that specific loss and having to adapt to life after it, there has been so much heartbreak in this past year and so many people have lost those they care about. The grieving process really takes it out of you and can be very hard on not only the person going through it but the people around them. It’s not an easy ride and it’s important to understand that if you’re supporting someone who is grieving that it’s difficult, but you have to learn to be there for them and be supportive as best you can.
How to cope with grief
Feel: When we go through grief, we often make ourselves feel bad for crying or actually just feeling our feelings in general. It may be that you find it useful to actually be able to talk to someone about your feelings, or you might find it better to be able to write down how you’re feeling. Whichever suits you best, but it’s one of the things that we need to accept, we need to let ourselves feel and if we need to cry, then do that. Because, if we keep those feelings bottled up it will make us feel so much worse and just fill us with frustration. Don’t feel like you have to try and put on a fake smile and be cheery, you’re going through a lot and people around you will understand that.
Realise grieving takes time: There is no time limit when it comes to grieving, it can take you years or months. It just won’t feel as intense overtime for you, grieving is so hard and there should be no exact time to when grieving should be done. Everything takes time and grieving is one of them, you have to pull yourself through the grieving process and then actually try and pick yourself up after that because that causes so much stress on your body as it is. Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve, or how long it should take. Only you can determine that and it’s important that you do it at your own pace.
Do something that is going to make you feel good: Even though you’re going through a lot, you should always be able to do something that might make you feel better for a little while. Having that little distraction can help try and take your mind off things for a little bit. Whether it’s having a nice bubble bath, watching your favourite film, colouring, painting, DIY, having a clear-out, journaling, listening to music, talking to a friend or family member, playing a video game things like that. Whatever it is you enjoy that you can do, to help you be able to feel a bit more like yourself and be able to take your mind off things.
- For more on activities and self-care during lockdown, click here.
- For more on keyworkers and coping with work, click here.
- For more information on grief, click here.
- For a blog about the importance of self-care, click here.
- For more on separation anxiety, click here.
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If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.
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