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Tips to manage your mental health during lockdown

View profile for Wasim Mohammed
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We are once again under a government imposed national lockdown due to the COVID19 virus. The challenges we all face remain the same as the previous lockdowns although, there is even more uncertainty now given the variant strain of the virus. This is also a winter lockdown – the reduced daylight hours and cold weather is far from helpful. It is important that we keep positive and try to manage our mental health during these difficult times.

I thought that it would be useful to produce a list of key tips to assist people during the lockdown in this “general, non-legal” blog.  I appreciate that many people will be tired of hearing about the “c” word and I must admit that I was reluctant to produce a piece on this but even if one person takes something away from this blog, it will be worth it.

Direct social contact is greatly reduced and so it is important to try and keep in contact and communication with each other.  We live in an e-world and there are some great social networking platforms that we can use to connect.  I myself tend to use WhatsApp video calls due to convenience.  A close friend recently, set herself the objective of reaching out to everyone individually on her telephone contact list just to say hello which I thought was an excellent idea (and which I may steal!).

Exercise can greatly reduce boredom and stress.  Leaving home to exercise is permitted so let’s make use of it.   I try and get out each day to go for a quick stroll or a walk around the block.  The fresh air actually does wonders. There is also so much content online for home workouts.  In the previous lockdown, I tried the YouTube exercise programs of Chloe Ting and I got into a healthy competition with my wife (which I lost!).  Not sure what I will do this time!  Choose an activity that works for you.  

It is important to try and keep occupied and focused.  Setting yourself mini goals and objectives can be helpful.  This may involve learning something new e.g. learning a new language (or in my case, learning how to bake the perfect red velvet cake!).  Maybe there is something you have been putting off that you can now attend to. Treat the lockdown and extra time you may have as an opportunity.  My garden fences need to be painted so that is something, I will be looking to do! 

The single most important tip is to reach out and find help if you are struggling with your mental wellbeing.  There are some incredible charities and free counselling services out there that are on hand to listen to you and help you.  The NHS runs a 24hour free service - see here. Thankfully, social attitudes towards mental health have changed over the years and there is (and should be) no stigma attached it.

The good news is that we have a vaccine now which has been rolled out and so I’m certain that things will get better.  It is important to keep positive and keep going no matter what difficulties we face and so I finish with a quote from the movie, Rocky Balboa (2006):  “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit.  It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done”

Author: Wasim Mohammed 

8 January 2021