How Lockdown Affected Our Mental Health
Covid-19 has faced us with the obvious challenge of avoiding a deadly virus. But what’s less obvious is that the act of avoiding also been incredibly harmful.
Mostly, it is our mental health that has suffered from paranoia and lockdown measures. Being stuck inside, especially for those living on their own, is a tremendous challenge. Whilst smoking and drinking in a social setting have certainly decreased, some of this escapism has been manifested in our own home – alone.
Smoking and drinking, for many people, has risen during the lockdown. Tobacco-free pouches and other methods have been rising in use to help combat this, but it’s difficult for many, who do not have people or activities to break up habits of addiction.
More time, less distraction
For example, spending more time at home means having more time to eat. Hovering about a fridge all day with no gym open to burn off the calories is going to get the better of many people. Whilst some have found lockdown to be a quiet reset, where they can focus on themselves, the sheer longevity of it has shown how dependent we are on social, physical and mental activity. Perhaps distractions were a good all along, and only an issue when in abundance.
Anxiety and other mental health issues have been proven to be 3 times higher during the lockdown. Whilst this, hopefully, is just a temporary environmentally-driven pressure that will soon be relieved, it’s giving way to addition; addiction to those who didn’t previously suffer with it. Building bad habits is exceedingly easy when being locked inside all day, every day, and it’s hard to break them without meaningful occupation.
How we can fight this
Of course, lockdowns are going to end at some point, even if hangovers exist for many years, such as limited travel.
One way people can help combat negative mental health developments is to get as much exercise outside as humanly (and legally!) possible. A long morning walk in the fresh air can set you up for an entirely different kind of day than otherwise. Furthermore, just seeing the faces of your community as you pass by can give you a sense of connection and comradery – that we’re all in this together.
Additionally, therapy has now been democratised to the online world. There are many downloadable apps that can facilitate conversations with professionals, which is super handy in a time where offices are closed.
Even just communicating with friends and family more can be very helpful. Video calls are a better way to communicate, as you share a visual smile, and has become vital to keeping people ticking over socially. In fact, Skype quizzes, table games and video games have replaced a night out downtown with friends – which is as good as it gets!
Finally, it’s important for people to feel like they have a place in society. So, if you’re used to working but Covid-19 has got in the way, finding an online job (or volunteering – or any meaningful activity) could do wonders for keeping you busy. Telephone-based jobs are increasingly common from home, otherwise, there are platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr for freelancing. This may also be a time to offer your services for free if you’re learning a new skill, and help make a difference.