How to Handle Your Mental Health Post-Lockdown
Lockdown has been a stressful time for many of us, with mental health helplines being swamped with hundreds of calls. Health anxiety, depression and loneliness has sunk in during our time away from the rest of the world. We may now face each day with worries we didn’t have six months ago; are we safe to leave the house, how do we reconnect with friends and family and why are we feeling down all the time?
As lockdown eases and we are given more freedoms, many of us want to start bouncing back to normal. This might mean heading back to the office, seeing people in our bubble or just enjoying some time in shopping centres or outside. But with the new mental health issues like depression and anxiety we have gained during the lockdown, doing the tasks isn’t as easy as it seems.
Please keep reading to learn more about how you can handle your mental health post-lockdown. With these top tips and some expert guidance from a therapist, you can start seeing your future with a better, brighter mindset.
Socialise with Others
Lockdown has meant we couldn’t see our friends and family at all. But as restrictions ease, we can socialise to some extent with each other in our homes and out in the world. One of the best ways you can keep depression at bay is by socialising with those that we love. It has been proven that laughing can release endorphins (the ‘happy hormone’) and make a lasting impact on our mood. Hanging with people who bring a smile to your face is a sure way to boost your happiness for the rest of the day.
However, people suffering from depression and anxiety may find it hard to leave the house. You don’t have to jump in the deep end right away, but start small with phone calls and Zoom chats with friends and family. As your anxiety over leaving the house dissipates, and your depression lessens, you can build your way up to a meal out with friends or a visit to your parent’s house.
Don’t Forget Exercise
Some people love to exercise, and some people hate it. But whether or not you dread the weight rack, exercising is a great way to boost your mood in the long run. Working out releases endorphins into our body which leave a lasting impact on our mood. People experience a boost in happiness post-workout, but you can make this long-lasting by sticking to a regime.
When facing depression, all you may want to do is stay in bed and shut yourself away from the world. Try and give yourself ten minutes a few times a week to work out in your home and feel the benefits start to work. Start pushing yourself to workout and block the thoughts and feelings depression tries to force on you. Once you are in the groove of a routine, you can feel the symptoms of depression lessening and your happiness becoming much more lasting.
Take Time for You
It might seem weird to say this after months in lockdown, but ensuring you have some ‘you time’ is vital for handling your mental health post-lockdown. Perhaps you were isolated in your home with friends and family and needed a break from everyone. Spending 24 hours a day with people can be intense sometimes, and no one should be offended if you need to go for a walk or lock yourself in your room for a few hours. Even if you live alone, now that lockdown is easing people are making plans every day eager to make up for lost time with friends and family. This may be too intense and sudden for you, so take your time before promising to see everybody one day after another. Start with those closest to you maybe once a week or fortnight and build up your social time from there.
During your ‘you time’ make sure you are doing activities which can benefit your mental health. Starting a journal is a great way to keep track of your mental health and see what triggers good or bad days. Colour code your emotions on a chart and get a whole week or month view of your mental health on one page. Reading, writing and watching TV are also great ways to relax and unwind, pushing your depression or anxiety to the back of your mind. Make sure you are setting time aside for your needs and hobbies rather than agreeing to the demands of others.
People are scared to leave their home after being on lockdown for so long. Although we may feel trapped and claustrophobic in our own home, the idea of going into a world where everything is still uncertain can be scary. If you want to beat your mental health issues and start to feel control over your thoughts and feelings again, then seeking counselling support is ideal. Therapy is a great way to learn more about your mental health, the roots of why you are facing depression or anxiety, and how you can control and dampen the symptoms.
Fear of leaving your home shouldn’t prevent you from seeking this support. Online therapy is an excellent alternative for those who want to gain expert advice without going out into a world they don’t trust yet. Similarly, if you are high risk, online therapy assures both your mental and physical health is safe. As a therapist, my online counselling is a great way to connect with clients without losing any of the benefits of therapy. The relationship and rapport we build as well as the nature of my advice and support don’t differ from face-to-face treatment. Take a look at my website for more information on online therapy and the benefits it could have for you.
Check out my website to learn more about my services as a therapist in the North West and how I can support you. No matter your mental health needs, my extensive experience allows me to help you see a brighter future. No one should suffer mental health issues alone, and with my level-head, compassionate ear and knowledgeable advice, you will soon gain an understanding of your mental health and how best to protect it.