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Are you ok?

Worcestershire VA

We’re three weeks into Lockdown 3 and I thought it would be a good idea to check in on my mental health.  As there is nothing like being told when you can and can’t leave the house and who you can and can’t see, to knock your positivity off balance.

Like most people I’ve had good days, ok days and difficult days.  The good days generally happen when I’ve been for my allocated walk or run and bumped into someone I know and had a chat from a distance or we’ve had a lovely day and I’ve been able to get outside and make the most of it.  Or I’ve had a good networking session or virtual pub session or managed to meet up with one other person for a run.  Mainly I can deduce that the good days have revolved around company, exercise and the weather.

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OK days have been those when I’ve only managed to get out for a short time to exercise outside as I’ve been busy with work, or the weather has been awful.  The rest of the time, I’ve felt confined to the house and probably found an online exercise class to do or read a book or magazine.  I can deduce that ok days happen when social contact is limited and outside exercise is short or is confined to inside.

The difficult days have been where I’ve felt tired and my exercise hasn’t made me feel as good as it normally does, or I’ve spent too much time on Social Media and negative posts have got to me or I’ve realised the enormity of the pandemic and the situation the world is in. 

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I think it’s important that we all take the time to check in on ourselves, especially when real contact with friends and family is restricted.  If we don’t take the time to check we’re ok, then it is possible that no-one will and before we know it, we’re not ok and we end up hiding from the world and when we are eventually allowed a normal life again, we’ll be too anxious to embrace it.

So what should we do to try and keep our mental health healthy?  The NHS state that we should:

Connect with others – not that easy at the moment but we can arrange a walk with one other person and make the most of video technology to meet virtually with groups of friends/family.

Be physically active – walking is the most accessible and free activity we can do and it’s a boost to just see other people out walking too, it makes me feel part of a community, as well as helping to boost my physical health.

Learn new skills – I’ve heard about lots of people getting into knitting and sewing, I personally am enjoying spending more time cooking and I can’t wait to start growing vegetables again in the Spring.

Give to others – this doesn’t have to be money, it can be your time by volunteering, which is listed as a reason to leave the house during lockdown.

Pay attention to the present moment  – try not to think too far ahead, as that can create feelings of stress, particularly when we don’t have a lot of control over the future at the moment.  Paying attention to the present is more likely to improve our mental health.

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So we can all do things to improve our mental health during this stressful time and it’s important that we are in tune with how we’re feeling, as the pandemic has caused so much damage to physical health, we need to minimise it’s effect on our mental health as much as possible.

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