Wednesday, 15 April 2020

5 unexpected things helping my mental health during the lockdown

When the lockdown was first announced, my anxiety, already quite bad, shot through the roof. I had built a much better space for myself mentally whilst away for my birthday, only for it all to come crashing down soon after we got home as the news reached horrifying heights. I honestly didn't know how I'd be able to cope with the prospect of a lockdown. In brief, a lot of the time I work from home alone whilst my boyfriend does both early and late shifts, and often our precious two days off are the silver lining I look forward to. My boyfriend is a key worker so is still going to work as normal. Both loneliness and low moods can culminate in my anxiety and depression worsening. Despite being all too familiar with solitude, and it being something I prefer over a social work enivornment, I was still concerned about how I would cope. 

Soon after the first week of lockdown, I was taken aback by how much my general mood seemed to be improving, and that actually, I seemed to be coping a lot better than most people I was talking to. This seemed both strange and bizarre, and I couldn't understand it. When I set eyes upon this really insightful article that I related to on many levels, I felt relief that I wasn't the only one with mental health struggles who seemed to be doing surprisingly OK. With a vow made to myself to tackle more honest topics on the blog again, I've decided to focus on 5 things that I've found to be of great help to my mental health and general wellbeing during the lockdown and this unsettling, unknown time.

5 unexpected things helping my mental health during the lockdown 

Focusing on what I CAN do, not what I CAN'T 
I'm personally finding it neither productive nor helpful hearing everyone talk about what they're missing out on and can't wait to do once the lockdown is over. Even though it's understandable, personally it only gets me frustrated and resentful and I don't want to be simmering with resentment, so instead I'm choosing NOT to imagine all the wonderful things I could be doing, and instead putting all my energy into what I can do during the current moment. Luckily I have a major new chapter and career focus in my life that I've just started, so have been pouring my heart and soul into that. It's been a massive game-changer in taking my mind off things. I've heard of people making lists of places they want to visit/travel/explore when this is all over, writing down anything they want to do, placing them in a jar and keep that jar for when the future looks brighter. Even though right now those things won't help me, everyone's different and it's all about doing things that will help you day by day, block by block.

Switching off from the toxicity on social media 
Speaking to a friend recently, we discussed how much hypocrisy and martyrdom there is online at the moment. We both agreed it has had a detrimental effect on our mental health, making us feel guilty and ashamed for merely going shopping for essential food items and for daily exercise (which we are currently allowed to do in the UK, so long as you observe Government guidelines and social distance.) I'm 100% for people making valid points, spreading awareness and standing up for what they believe in, especially when it comes to calling out shameless individuals flouting rules and making the lockdown shadow even further over the summer, but what pisses me off is the amount of triggering tweets people seem to throw out without a second thought for someone else's mental health. The lack of thought to those already fighting battles with their mental health astounds me, especially when I see the amount of individuals retweeting purely for shock value and scare-mongering purposes. I'd really urge anyone to consider and think twice before sharing such content right now. Unfortunately I seem to be following a few people that have retweeted content that has affected me quite badly, and it's definitely made me question just why I happen to be following them in the first place. The toxicity on social media has reached violent heights in my eyes, every time I go on twitter I instantly feel sick. Now I limit my time and try to avoid the news, having a look only to keep informed as and when. Logging off, switching off and unfollowing, muting, whatever - make sure life online isn't ruining yours.

Making mental mind blocks 
Like everyone else, I have so many places that mean so much to me that I can't frequent right now. But as mentioned above, it isn't helping me to think of any of them. I don't know quite how, but I've managed to mentally block a lot of them out of my mind. Those places no longer exist for me, until further notice. I limit myself to the odd fleeting thought of something I enjoy, and will enjoy in the future, and that's enough. I prefer to focus on what I can do, day by day. It's baffling to me how I've managed to keep such control and mentally file the places I love away into some faraway filing cabinet, but it's helping me so much in the here and now. I try not to look through photos on my phone of all the places I've been to that are all off limits, but when I do I try not to get nostalgic and just (for example if I'm editing a picture for Instagram) keep matter of fact about things and not think too deeply about it all. My boyfriend and I are great creatures of habit and visit a few places weekly, and have done ever since we first dated. But right now routine has been broken, and will stay broken until things get back to normal. Like I said, I'm choosing to focus on taking things one day at a time.

When the lockdown was first announced I wanted answers - how long will it stay like this? When will things get back to normal? How many weeks or months will lockdown remain in place for? I wasted time scrolling through people's opinions online. Funnily enough, everyone was an expert in predicting when lockdown would be over. Realistically nobody has answers and any crystal ball currently looks cloudy. None of us know. So I've stopped putting time constraints on the current situation and am just going to wait and see what happens. False hope is a faithless potion to the remedy we all want to magic before our eyes. Answers are unavailable right now, so I'm intending to take it day by day until there's a brighter outcome.


Being selective in who I give my time & energy to 
One key thing I've realised during lockdown is to make note of who is draining my energy and who is replenishing it. A few messages I've received have really got me down when otherwise I've been feeling as bright as is possible to feel in the moment. Naturally we're all going to be talking about what's going on - how can we not? - but taking my wellbeing into account I don't want to speak to someone who is constantly reminding me of all the worry and fear I'm already trying so hard to keep under control. Likewise when people are putting content up online that's positive I find it sad when others can't seem to resist mentioning what's going on - especially when the post has literally nothing to do with all the upset. Let's allow those that want to create a positive and safe space online away from all this horror to do so. We all need a distraction right now, and I'm personally enjoying seeing colourful photos of spring blooms and pretty dresses. Same goes for all the rainbows drawn on roads and encouraging teddy bears in windows. We all need some joy to run with right now.


Realising I can't control the situation 
I can't control the uncontrollable, simple as that. Before the lockdown, whenever we had a day out planned I'd always freak out at the possibility of something derailing it. I like to know we can definitely do something, what time we're leaving, etc. etc. Any change of plan left me bitterly disappointed and panicked. But since this has happened I've realised there's something peaceful about not having to make structured plans. My boyfriend and I have just enjoyed a week off together, originally we'd planned a fun-filled time with lots of busy days out. Obviously this didn't happen but we were both surprised by the really enjoyable week we both had regardless. We read a lot, took peaceful walks, watched some amazing Spike Lee movies (my favourite director and one of my heroes), some amazing Harrison Ford movies (Graham's favourite actor and one of his heroes), ate some lovely food and enjoyed a pizza delivery. We clinked wine and beer bottles and had cake to celebrate Graham's birthday on Saturday. The week whizzed past because we made the best of it, and I'm so glad we did. If the lockdown has taught me anything it's that sometimes you just have to get on with things and make the best of what you've got.

There are lots of other little things helping my mental health during the lockdown right now, but these are the key points I wanted to make. Please remember to take care of your mental health and do what's right for you during this difficult time, while of course adhering to the guidelines too to keep everyone safe! I know everyone's situation is different and that we all have our struggles and worries right now. Sending everyone reading this lots of love and light! ♥︎


What's helping you stay positive during the lockdown? 

Similar posts you might enjoy:

35 comments:

  1. Well done for writing with such honesty & perception, & love the photos too!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It made me feel better visiting the insightful article you linked and realising there are so very many of us sharing these feelings. Even more uplifting than that is how beautiful the photos you have posted here are.
    The photos of you wearing that gorgeous dress and holding the rainbow of balloons with the castle and calm water in the background are beautiful!
    I also love the photos of the flower, of the row of beach houses in a rainbow of colours, and of the chalk rainbow on the sidewalk, and I love the positivity in your writing.
    All the best! xx <3

    my blog
    my YouTube
    my Twitter

    ReplyDelete
  3. For me switching off from the main medias and tv is the key for this time. Wise words and beautiful pictures!

    jointyicroissanty

    ReplyDelete
  4. These are all great suggestions for maintaining your mental balance while on lockdown Sophie; I hope you're doing okay! Being selective with who/what you give your time and energy to is a brilliant point :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's great that you're doing well during these pressing times! I think staying home and enjoying the situation rather than stressing about it helps a lot for me!

    https://sundaydahlias.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a fun pic! it's great you are doing well and adjusting the the new normal! the kids and I are finding it hard but I'm sure we will settle down and get used to it eventually :) they are just not too happy about the howl "I need to ignore you while I'm working from home" thing!

    Hope that you are having a good week :)

    Away From Blue

    ReplyDelete
  7. Glad to hear that you are doing well, the boys and I are settled into a routine so it is working for us for the time being!


    xoxo
    Lovely
    www.mynameislovely.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love this blog post - amazing tips and suggestions!

    Demi | http://demibang.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. So happy to hear you are doing fine darling So important to stay focus and your tips are great I agree with all of them I am so happy to see you are adapting and enjoying your peaceful time at home doing things you love Your images are so pretty All of them brings so much hope and the soft colours make our days more cheerful So amazing darling Take care stay strong Much love

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm grateful for FaceTime calls. Stay safe.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really enjoyed reading your post. I feel like I went through the same emotions you did. I have also tried to distance myself from social media, only going on twice a week. :)

    Perla Lifestyle Blog

    ReplyDelete
  12. These are great coping skills to apply to this current situation. It is not easy that is for sure. I think you are right all we can do is take it one day at time and indeed steer clear of Twitter. IG and Tik Tok are not so bad as they are image based but Twitter is very newsy...YT is OK as long as you don't click on the wrong video. Good Lord there are some people out there with really crazy ideas.

    And thank you for the kind words on my blog post.

    Allie of
    www.allienyc.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sophie, this is such a good post and such great advice - which so much of I can very strongly relate to and need to take heed of. I completely shared that initial panic and uncertainty. The change of routine and not being able to do the things I see as coping mechanisms completely threw me. But a couple of weeks in, I seem to have adjusted(ish) - much like you, the social work situation is something I am not a fan of! As you've said, it's so important to focus on what we CAN do, and appreciate those things more than we would normally. Really trying to take time and enjoy the peace and quiet without the creeping guilt of needing to be productive. Anyway, it'll certainly make the first outing post lockdown much more enjoyable! I also have to mention how gorge you look in that photo! It reminds me of an old school Jack Wills handbook - looking fab as always.

    //teandtwosugars.blogspot.com xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello beautiful angel. When it comes to MH and how there are a lot of people finding themselves coping/feeling better than ever, it somewhat doesn't really amaze me. I feel like having this lockdown has taken so much pressure off everyone. We're essentially on the "same" "playing field". There's no more competition or FOMO. Those societal pressures have been replaced by a "new normal". I know my MH has improved a lot. That said I am also an introvert so staying indoors is like breathing air for me. I definitely feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders - though another has replaced it but it is far less heavy than the former. I did have a moment where my anxiety spiked over having to go out for work. It was more a concern for those around me than myself. Even now, I don't really care what happens to me, I'm more worried about who I could spread this to. This is something we don't have control over. And I'm sorry to say it looks like it is going to be around for a while. I watched somewhere how we won't be free from this until a vaccine is created; which is something that will take a minimum of 12 months to create. I don't know what the next few months look like in terms of our lifestyles but I do know that we need to keep practicing being safe. Social distancing, staying at home it really does help and we all need to do our part in this. Not just essential workers - everyone has a role to play. If all you have to do is stay home then stay home! Let's keep those who are on the frontlines safe. They also have people who love and care about them too.

    Hope you and Graham are doing well and staying safe Sophie. Praying for nothing but love, light and health to you both during this time. I'm always here if you need to vent! <3
    Sxx
    daringcoco.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I try to not read informations Because it make me more sad and stresfull. Your tips are very good. I repeat that the all people are in the same situations. And i thing about that now i have time to books and films :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Such a lovely written article. Thank you for some great inspiration

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks for sharing this article.
    Great to hear that you are doing well!
    We should all take advantage of this period of time to make it fulfilling!

    https://www.inxsky.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. This was very interesting for reading. I made similar things, I focus on what I can, not can't, start enjoy small thing more than ever before, unfollow so many people on social media and spent minimum time there and now I'm month and half lockdown and enjoy every free day.

    New Post - https://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com/2020/04/vichy-mineral-89-booster-lumene-nordic_20.html

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think it is a great things that you put limits and barriers to protect your mental health. It is good to know yourself as you do and know your triggers, but also where is your "safe mind space" where you can retreat to in order to unwind and just relax! Good tips!

    https://www.cereines.com/

    ReplyDelete
  20. totally love these tips
    i've been limiting my time on social media too and it helps a lot
    xoxo
    style frontier

    ReplyDelete
  21. Love this! Just found your blog and can't wait to read more!

    - Carson Bohdi
    carsonbohdi.blogspot.ca

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've been having a lot of the same feelings lately too, taking time away from the news and social media has helped me so much over the past few weeks. These tips are all really great! Thanks for sharing! I hope you're doing well! Stay safe and healthy! :)

    melissakacar.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. My anxiety skyrocketed when the lockdown began, with media outlets and social media only perpetuating it further. Limiting time on both has helped my mental health. Love the tips you shared, thank you for the honesty. Stay safe beauty!

    Tx. // Tajinder Kaur

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm also trying to follow these tips of yours because from time to time it can get tough.
    Hope you're doing well!

    www.fashionradi.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you for a very thoughtful and honest post. It helps a lot, as I've been concerned about the effects of lockdown on my anxiety. It is so realistic to accept that there is nothing we can do to control what is going on, and it helps enormously. Hope you and your family stay safe.

    Lindifique

    ReplyDelete
  26. Most wonderful post and thank you for raising awareness to such an
    important cause! We need to be reading more articles like this.
    I hope you are feeling well and have a most lovely day under the cuircumstances :)

    https://www.ecoislogical.com/

    Nathalie

    ReplyDelete
  27. great post dear, thanks for sharing in such difficult times,
    have a great week,
    S

    ReplyDelete
  28. These are such a great and helpful tips. Unfollow some people and move form toxic news is something that I also did and really helps me.

    New Post - https://bibliothequedeparfums.com/2020/05/01/bibliotheque-de-parfums/

    ReplyDelete
  29. i like your purple dress!
    best human hair wigs luxhairshop
    great post!thank you for your share!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Really great and useful tips🧡💙 Regards!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I sometime go off social media just for my sanity and I tell you, it helps.... Sometimes all we need is a break so as to revitalize ourself and come back better

    Glowyshoe's blog

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you so much for writing this post.
    It was very similar to me, I spent my birthday in March in Dubai and then the lockdown happened and I had to fly home and got panic/anxiety. Wish I had your blog post earlier. I wasn't dealing the best way with it.

    Keep up the great work, best greetings x Eva
    https://nicovabeauty.com/

    ReplyDelete
  33. I also had some time away from social media, things became a little much for a while, I just wanted to switch off from what was happening but it was impossible, especially on twitter with all the 'he said she said' that is rife on there.

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a wonderful place!
    hope you enjoyed it,
    have a great weekend!
    S

    ReplyDelete