Hi, I’m Paula, a co-ordinator at Lancashire Mind and a blogger in my spare time.
Here are my mental health top tips for the upcoming lockdown road map and how we can adapt to change throughout 2021.
So, here we go…
- It’s going to be difficult soon to distinguish between your lockdown feelings/ thoughts/ emotions and your ‘unlock’ ones. Take the time now to reflect and record how you’ve felt the last few months, good and bad. This will help you to identify new feelings/ thoughts and emotions as things begin to change.
- Remember that this will affect each one of us differently and we will also show this differently too. So, despite what others ‘appear’ to do, take each day a step at a time and stay focused on you.
- Be prepared for little triggers to happen. Driving on the motorway for the first time could bring on a fluster or feelings of worry, shopping for non-essentials could bring on feelings of guilt and even seeing people you couldn’t before may bring on a mourning for lost time. This is all normal and should be reflected on, not pushed away.
- Others may behave badly and not stick to new rules. Keep focused on yourself if you see this happen and remember the things you can control.
- Limit your media and news digestion. With change happening, it will be easy to feel a little anxious and to make you want to go back to habits you may have had last year.
- Anything you’ve learnt about yourself or any skill/ good habit/ hobby etc shouldn’t end when the country starts to bloom again. Continuing with these thoughts/ reflections and actions will create an invisible lifeline of continuity and will help you feel grounded as things around you change.
- Decide today how you will handle these countrywide changes. Mindset is key here as the roadmap will no doubt have bumps, milestones, detours and tyre punctures. It’s in your power now to figure out how you will respond, should dates/ allowances and rules change.
- The subject of mental health does not end after the roadmap ends. Mental health, like physical health, can be good and poor throughout our lives, so keep it a priority for yourself now and don’t expect yourself or those around you to feel ‘normal’ as soon as things start to look better ahead.
- Forgive yourself. You may have thought or behaved in ways you’re not proud of. We are a society fixated on perfection and high expectation, but the reality is, trauma and stress such as this pandemic will have caused us to witness ourselves, and others, behaving in ways we perhaps shouldn’t. But its important to use any of this roadmap as momentum for finding a bit of forgiveness for this. To be human is to be imperfect.
- And finally, an exercise for you to do today. Make vows for your mental wellbeing by answering these questions:
- How will I use this lockdown experience for good in the future?
- How will I live/ think/ behave differently?
- Who will I help/ serve/ support differently and how?
- How can I continue to have gratitude and celebrate myself for how far I have come?
- If dates and rules don’t change the way I expect, what things can I plan to keep my positive mindset?
Make these vows to keep this good stuff in your life and to celebrate your own strength and growth. And when you perhaps experience a less positive day, revisit these answers.
So those are my top ten tips for mental health during this ‘unlocking’ of lockdown. I hope there may be some ideas that you could utilise or recommend to those around you.
For more ideas, resources and tools, make sure to follow our Lancashire Mind Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts. We also have LinkedIn too.
There’s plenty more blog content on this page too.
We are all experiencing this unique way of life, so if you like what you see, do share with friends, family and colleagues, in the hopes of supporting as many people as possible with their mental health and wellbeing.
We’ve come this far and we can get through this, together.
Many thanks for reading,
Take care of yourself,