Managing anxiety during lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis
We'll be honest, when this Covid-19 malarkey first came to light at the beginning of 2020, we were pretty blasé about it. Fast forward almost a year, and we're trying our best to avoid the news: it's just too worrying. So while we're concentrating on keeping the kids busy with plenty of craft, some home baking and even the odd upcycling project or two, we're also mindful that we need to keep our anxiety in check. Lockdown 3.0 is taking its toll on many of us, so here are some tips for managing anxiety during lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis.
KEEP IN TOUCH
While we're missing meeting up with our family and mum mates (and putting the world to rights over a strong cup of coffee), we're still 'hanging out' with them as much as possible thanks to FaceTime, Zoom, hangout apps and good old fashioned phone calls. Check in on your loved ones as much as possible (especially your sister-in-law... lol).
None of us know how long this is going to go on for, and thinking through a week or two in advance is a good way of feeling more prepared.
Figure out what essential supplies you have to see you through, and what items you're going to need in the coming weeks. Next, come up with a game plan for running the supermarket gauntlet. If you are fully self-isolating then you need to first of all get in touch with your local Covid-19 support and community groups which will have tons of excellent resources and suggestions for you. The full list of the London-based groups can be found in our guide to dealing with self-isolation.
Speak to your employer to understand in full what your sick pay, furlough rights and benefits rights might be.
Check the Citizens Advice website for sound advice relating to coronavirus questions such as how lockdown should be worked, how to keep yourself as safe as possible, what to do if you share custody of your children, and where to get financial help if you need it.
It's okay not to feel okay, and talking about your worries will definitely help. A problem shared, and all that. If you don't have friends or family that you feel you can speak to, then do try one of these NHS-recommended helplines:
Anxiety UK: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 10pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm); www.anxietyuk.org.uk
Bipolar UK: 07591 375544 (leave a voicemail message and they will call back asap); www.bipolaruk.org.uk
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM),0800 585858 (for men aged 15 to 35, open daily 5pm until midnight); www.thecalmzone.net
Cruse Bereavement Care: 0808 808 1677 (Monday to Friday, 9am until 5pm); www.cruse.org.uk
Family Lives: 0808 800 2222 (Monday to Friday, 9am until 9pm, Saturday and Sunday, 10am until 3pm for advice on all aspects of parenting); www.familylives.org.uk
Mind: 0300 1233393 (Monday to Friday, 9am until 6pm); www.mind.org.uk
No Panic: 0844 967 4848 (daily 10am until 10pm); www.nopanic.org.uk
Papyrus: 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and 2pm to 10pm on weekends and bank holidays for young people with suicidal thoughts); www.papyrus-uk.org
Refuge: 0808 2000 247 (24 hours for advice on dealing with domestic abuse); www.refuge.org.uk
Samaritans: 116 123 (24 hours); www.samaritans.org.uk
The Silver Line: 0800 470 8090 (24 hours a day for older people); www.thesilverline.org.uk
Victim Support: 0808 168 9111 (24 hours); www.victimsupport.org
While it is paramount to stay within the parameters of official coronavirus guidance for keeping safe and socially distanced, helping others may just lift your own mood. Think of ways - bonus for the kids helping here - that you could support a member of your family, a friend, or even a stranger during these crazy times. Get the kids to write a letter to a grandparent, make some cookies for a neighbour (making sure to doorstep deliver only) or create some posters to stick in your window to thank your postman/woman, your refuse collectors and, of course, the NHS. We've got a whole guide to rainbow crafts to keep you busy with and to give you ideas for spreading some colour in your 'hood.
STOP GETTING YOUR NEWS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA!
We've all seen the scaremongering posts all over social media, and they help nobody. Stick to the facts from credible sources such as the NHS, World Health Organization and GOV.uk rather than Pauline down the road's Facebook page. Oh, and turn off 'breaking news' alerts from your phone: we all know it's not pretty out there, but dwelling on it too much is not good for anyone's peace of mind. Deal in facts not sensationalism.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Mental and physical wellbeing are absolutely key right now. Eat well, sleep well and exercise well. Download a mindfulness app to bring some inner peace to your day when you need it: there are some great apps that are perfect for the whole family to join in with.
Make sure you're keeping a safe distance of 2 metres when you do go out for exercise, but even if it's just a brisk walk around the block, do try and get out. Drink lots of water, keep alcohol and junk food to a minimum, and don't stay up all night binge watching Bridgerton!
You've got this, people. Much love and stay safe.
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