Being stuck in lockdown can drain your energy, but there are simple signs that you can look out for so you can actively manage your wellbeing during this time.
As we are sent indoors for a second wave of lockdown, it’s more important than ever that you keep your mental health top-of-mind.
While we had a taste of normality seeing family and friends at cafes and bars, the return to lockdown rules means that we need to consider the support networks we have around us in a different context. Without these people around you to pick up on changes in how you are coping, it is important that you are vigilant in checking-in on yourself.
Below are six things you can personally check-in on a weekly basis. You can track them on this easy-to-use template so over time you can determine when and how you can take action for your wellbeing.
Set an alarm on your phone, or a reminder in your calendar, so at a set time each week you can quickly do a check-in on a scale from 0 (‘not at all’) to 10 (‘extremely’) of how stressed, anxious or down you are feeling.
It is normal for these scores to go up and down each day and throughout the week but if you notice the scores are increasing and remaining very high, then it’s time to prioritise your mental health.
Take a moment to notice any tension in your body like tight shoulders, chest, or jaw. Other signs that you might be feeling stressed include dryness of the mouth, difficulty breathing, and a racing heart.
Have there been changes in your sleep pattern? If you are constantly struggling to get to sleep, waking in the night or waking earlier than usual, and finding it difficult to get back to sleep, these are signs your mind is unable to switch off and relax.
Are you always worrying about the worst-case scenarios? Wondering if things will ever get better or if you will be able to cope?
Focusing on the ‘what if’ scenarios is not useful and it is best to try to limit this as much as possible.
Every day brings challenges but it’s how we deal with them which shows how we’re coping.
If you find yourself frequently snapping at those you love, finding it extremely difficult to focus, or always depending on things like alcohol or food to cope, it is time to prioritise your mental wellbeing.
6. Check-in buddy
Choose a check-in buddy. This may be your partner, housemate, or even a friend or colleague you’re keeping in touch with via video messaging. Be honest about how you are coping.
Remember that you are in physical isolation, not social isolation. When we’re at home, we may need to be creative about adapting the strategies we normally use. For example, if socialising helps your mood, schedule a virtual coffee. If going to the gym helps you reduce stress, try an online workout. If taking time out helps, find a quiet place, take a few deep breaths or listen to music. Whatever helps to settle your mind.
7. Visit Serotonin
Making YOU Happy is the way to our heart- it’s what we do, what drives us, and what we will continue to do! This new challenge won’t stop us from continuing to support you and our community as a whole. You don't need to be buying anything if you can't, you can just visit to say hi and boost your Serotonin with a chitchat or reach out to us via DM if you are outside our 5km radius, we will always make time to have a chat with you, we're here for you and you're the reason for us to get up everyday!
What to do if you are not coping
If you take the steps above and notice that you are not coping, you can:
1. Make a self-care plan
Draft a plan of action and enlist a supportive person to help you stick to it.
2. Do activities to help reduce your anxiety
Try to do some physical activity or get some fresh air each day, based on the current rules you can still get out for daily exercise. Even just an hour of exercise a week has been proven to lower depression and anxiety.
Try to do something that gives you a sense of pleasure and/or achievement each day. This could include eating a nice meal, reading a book, joking with friends, listening to music, tidying up around home, or work tasks.
Notice when you are thinking in unhelpful ways. Ask yourself, ‘is there another, more helpful way I could think about this situation?'
3. Get professional help when you need it
If you are feeling very anxious or sad for more than two weeks, it is time to get professional help. There are a range of free and low-cost online programs that you can access from home and complete anonymously or with the support of a health professional