Whilst the thought of endless free time and working from the sofa in your cosies sounds appealing initially, the prolonged lockdown of the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has been proven to cause negative effects on the well-being of UK citizens. Those with pre-existing health problems, mental health issues and particularly those living in toxic relationships with abusive spouses or family members are amongst those who are deemed most vulnerable to the unfortunate effects of the pandemic.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement of a lockdown in the UK on 23 March, a new study conducted by Online for National Statistics (ONS) found that a whopping 71.7% are worried about the future, 64.3% are experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety, and 27.6% are feeling lonely.
The study also found that 26% reported that their mental health has been made worse and 25.9% reported a strain on personal relationships due to COVID-19.
As the obvious concerns regarding the health implications of the virus take centre stage in the political and social agenda, mental health and well being is pushed aside. But as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, are we experiencing a pandemic of ill mental health?
Self-care is very important in ensuring that you are mentally stable and able to take care of our loved ones. The metaphor of the ‘aeroplane oxygen mask analogy’ demonstrates just how important putting yourself first is at times. “Put on your own mask before helping someone else” – the advice given during an aeroplane safety demonstration and good advice for life. If you need to help a vulnerable person put their mask on, you must put your own on first, otherwise, you could lose consciousness and both of you would be in danger. The same can be said with regards to wellbeing. If you are suffering from your own well being, caring for others becomes difficult and in these unprecedented times, we have been made aware of just how important the health of our family and friends is.
Worries and anxiety about loved ones have skyrocketed since the coronavirus pandemic. Online for National Statistics (ONS) discovered that a huge 82.1% are very worried about their friends and family, which compares with a mere 2.2% of those who aren’t at all worried. These additional stresses can too have an impact on well being and mental health. So how do we deal with it?
Tanya said: “As the prime minister eases social distancing measures, we can expect to see an improvement in the wellbeing and mental health of people.” However, in the meantime, there are ways in which you can protect your mental health and well being.
As cliche as it sounds, at times like this, we need to appreciate the advantages, and with one being the beautiful sunshine, we must literally look on the bright side! There are many positives to be taken from the global situation, including families spending more time together, noticing and appreciating the simple things in life and the overall unity of communities across the globe.
“In any moment of your life, living with a grateful heart is key to living a fulfilled life,” says Tanya. She recommends keeping a gratitude diary on your bedside cabinet and noting three things you are grateful for before going to sleep every night.
Exercise has been proven to better mental health through the release of endorphins and “happy hormones” as Tanya calls them. Getting your body moving in any way possible is helpful. Whether that be running, cycling, swimming, simply going for a walk or the following work out routines online. Tanya personally suggests PE Joe Wicks and “cranking up your favourite tunes and having a dance around the house” to get your heart rate up and your endorphins flowing. You know what to do…
If you or any loved ones are suffering from any of these, helplines are there to help you such as Samaritans on 116 123, SANEline on 0300 304 7000 and CALM 0800 58 58 58. Alternatively, if you are uncomfortable talking on the phone, listening services also operate by email. Remember, bad times never last.