Whilst COVID restrictions gradually ease and the 21st of June approaches, it is important that we still care for our mental health. More social gatherings and time away from home can be quite daunting given that we were once encouraged to stay home, away from the threat of coronavirus.
Since March 2020, the UK has consistently been in and out of lockdown. Throughout this period, MIND issued a report stating that more than half of adults and two thirds of young people said that their mental health has worsened during these restrictions. It’s important that we take steps to care for our mental health when adjusting to changes to these. But how can we do this?
Create a plan: Arrange with friends or relatives what exactly you are going to do, starting with small things such as meeting up outside first. Doing this helps you to gradually build yourself back up without becoming too overwhelmed. Arrange to meet up with friends a few days in advance so that you have time to prepare.
Go at your own pace: Don’t push yourself too hard. Instead, gradually allow yourself to transition back to normal life. Allocate personal time for self care and ‘alone time’ – this could be a day or an evening to yourself. This lets you recover from any pressure and stress.
Challenge yourself: Whilst it is still important to go at your own pace, it is also important to challenge yourself. Set small challenges such as ‘going to the shop’ and do this consistently to build up confidence.
Keep up any hobbies you may have developed during lockdown: With everything starting up again, we shouldn’t lose ourselves and the things that provided comfort throughout lockdown! Keep time for hobbies – this will also give you a sense of achievement.
Maintain COVID safety: In order to keep yourself and everyone around you feeling safe, remember to practice COVID safety precautions. Washing hands, face masks and social distancing can reduce anxiety about catching coronavirus. This can also make your peers feel safer.
At first it might be hard to feel confident with everything opening back up again – but we must persist and keep up the resilience that we have shown throughout the pandemic.