Improving mental health after lockdown

During lockdown, we were all made aware of the mental health risks of social isolation, staying indoors and mass worry about health.

However, since lockdown has finished, and we are all back in reality – how do we take care of our mental health now that everything is back to normal?

Whatever you are feeling is OK. There is no right or wrong way to react. Coronavirus has impacted all of our lives and it’s natural that these uncertain and challenging times are continuing to affect people’s mental health and wellbeing.

Even positive change can lead to anxiety, and it can take time to readjust to things we have not done for a while. Feelings of anxiety are likely to pass with time as we get used to the “new normal” but it’s important to do what we can to take care of our mental health. It’s important to be kind to yourself and take things at your own pace. We’ve all faced challenges over the past two years and it’s OK if you still need time to readjust. If you’re finding things tough, try to talk about how you are feeling with others. You’re not alone.

There are lots of things that can help you to manage these feelings and make it easier to adjust.

Here are our top tips for taking care of your mental health now that things have changed.

Pay attention to how you are feeling.

Acknowledging your feelings and taking time to understand and accept them can be very beneficial in processing the emotion and moving forward from it. Once you are aware of how you are feeling, it will be easier to open up to someone to talk about your emotions.

Make time for yourself.

Do something that you enjoy, that makes you feel good! It may be something like playing sports or taking your favourite book to a park for 30 minutes in the sun. Even taking a five-minute break with a cup of tea will help you relax and recharge.

Keep to a routine.

If you’re worried about the future, planning your day might help you feel more grounded. Prioritize eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising – a small walk outside at lunchtime is a good place to start.

Try a relaxation exercise.

Sometimes something as basic as regulated breathing may help us feel more at ease. Muscle relaxation techniques can also help alleviate tension and anxiety. Find a quiet place and try out some relaxing mindfulness exercises. They are simple to remember and may be utilised when out and about. Our 6-week Mindfulness course teaches the learner what mindfulness is, the importance of mindfulness in relationships, the neuroscience of self-compassion, and an understanding of how to apply mindfulness in your life.

Take a break from the news and social media.

If you find it difficult to turn off, prioritising other activities might help. Turn off your alerts or leave your phone in a different room for a few hours. If your profession requires a lot of screen time, stepping away from your gadgets after work may help you relax.

Talk about how you’re feeling.

Talking might help us put things into perspective and feel less alone. It might be difficult to reach out, but speaking with a trusted friend, coworker, or family member is something we would encourage you to do in any way you can. Why not drop-in during one of our weekly Breathe Café sessions to access resources on mental health and wellbeing, signposting to mental health services and our network of volunteers who are there to listen.

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