This period we are living in is for lack of a more technical word, weird. In years to come, this pandemic will be studied and discussed in classrooms of the future. It is history in the making.
There is no template, quick fix or instant answer on how to get through this, so be kind to yourself, don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling bad. It’s appropriate to feel worried. Although at the moment, every day, feels pretty much the same, your moods and emotions are not and there is always tomorrow. Expect to have days when you don’t feel at your best; it will pass.
As the Covid-19 pandemic crisis continues and the lockdown is eased but not over, and without a clear end date, this poses continued uncertainty for our minds. Uncertainty is not something our human brains enjoy.
We all know and mostly accept that we must stay indoors (except for shopping for essentials going out for exercise or meeting up with one friend), and we know this is necessary for ‘keeping the R number until 1’ (reducing the infection rate). What is also true is that the steps required to do this and save lives, is also keeping the mood of the world down. Simply put, being in stages of lockdown, in a constant state of anxiety, with deaths constantly being counted around the world daily, lots still closed and economies being on the brink of collapse could have very real consequences for our wellbeing/mental health.
As a result, much positive mental health advice has appeared on social media and online for young people – More often than not, it has a kind of jolly, aspirational feel that might not be of much help if you already feel unmotivated, unhappy or anxious.
Taking positive action (like the allowed walks or bike rides, indoor exercise a la Joe Wicks) can definitely help, but you may not feel up to a solution that involves a yoga mat, headstands, 10k runs, learning Mandarin or other floaty stuff so here’s some practical and shorter term solutions to coping with this strange world we are in at the moment.
What can YOU do!
Eating regular meals each day keeps energy levels/blood sugars up and leaves you less likely to get irritated and “hangry”. Mealtimes can also be the time to spend time with the people you live with and stay connected. Talk to your family. Experiment with your sandwich fillings, you don’t have to be preparing for the next Bake-off series. Staying hydrated is also key to feeling ok both physically and mentally. Hydration does not involve energy drinks or such like. These steal your life force and after an initial artificial lift, they will leave you feeling slumpy again. You are not an athlete…..energy drinks were originally developed for athletes.
Staying connected via the wonder of social media has its benefits, but don’t overdo it and choose what you are looking at. Don’t spend time trawling through conspiracy theories about covid 19. This will only serve to unsettle you and potentially make you angry and suspicious. Also remember that posts and pics on social media do not always reflect reality. Equally do not try and amuse yourself by becoming a keyboard warrior -judging others never makes you feel warm and happy inside. Life online has become further magnified by lockdown as it is one of the only connections young people have at the moment. But remember, this will end and you will be seeing people in true life so don’t type/comment anything that you might potentially regret.
Doing something, doing anything is a good thing on the days you want to pull the duvet over your head, and really that’s the thing to focus on – what you can do, what you can control not what you can’t. If watching back-to-back episodes of Friends is going to make you feel better right now – fab – get watching! If building a new place on Minecraft gives you a sense of achievement, do it. The key to these activities is balance. Hours and hours on any gaming platform or device is not advisable!
Sometimes, it may help us to feel better by turning our focus outwards, away from our own worries and on to the needs of others and do some small act of kindness such as making a telephone call to an elderly relative or to someone you know that lives alone.
Tiredness, lack of motivation and general offness (another technical term) will happen and if a duvet day is necessary to cope with these feelings, there is no reason to feel bad about taking one. And if you feel better tomorrow, get up and shower and maybe put on your trainers– you perhaps won’t do a Major Tom, but you might be able to manage a walk round the block.
It’s tempting to cope with boredom to sleep all day. As said before, if you spend the odd day in bed, it’s no biggy but if you are finding yourself turning into a badger, fox or hedgehog, turning night today then it’s advisable to sort this out for many reasons. Night shifts are notoriously bad for your overall wellbeing. And you are not a night shift worker or a badger.
-There are various webchat and online services if you do feel overwhelmed with your thoughts and feelings.