As lockdown starts to lift we wanted to check in with everyone and pass on some thoughts/ bits of advice. We’ve put this post together if you’re anxious or have been struggling with the idea of ‘what’s next?’
First off, how are we all doing? It’s good to take some time to reflect on the last few months. You’re still here, that’s the most important thing. Regardless of what you did or learned about yourself, you are resilient. And you got this far. It’s been a really weird, tough few months so take a sec to appreciate that you’re still going.
You’re all probably bored of us saying ‘good sleep, a little exercise every day, and eating healthily (when you can) will help you’. Taking care of these basic needs can allow you to focus on your mental and emotional health. So try and get into a decent sleeping pattern, get some veggies in you and do some gentle exercise if and when you’re able to.
Getting back into a new routine is gonna help you a lot. Write lists of what you need to do in your day and what you’ll do if you feel up to it/ have the time. Don’t overload yourself. Slowly build more things into your day and push yourself (safely) out of your comfort zone when you can. The more you do this, the more you’re expanding your comfort zone and the more you’ll feel happy doing. Having some structure will encourage you to get stuff done, but also will help you to rest and take time for yourself too.
Just as it took time to get used to lockdown, it will take a little time to find our way with this new “normal” and to reconnect with your life. It’s like looking at a map of a road you’ve walked a hundred times and navigating a new route around it. Whether that’s being able to see people but not hug them, or adapting to new workplace/ school practices to keep everyone safe. It may even be dealing with life after a loss during lockdown. Life will look different now so take it steady. Take it day by day, and hour by hour if you need to. It’s hard but the more you are patient with yourself the more you’ll help yourself get through this period.
Going out into the world might feel overwhelming and like a sensory overload. For the first few times you’re going out you could take headphones so you can listen to a podcast or some chill music to take your mind off things. Or call a family member or friend so you’re talking to someone through it.
We have a whole section on our website of Things To Try that contains lot’s of, well uh.. things to try! Have a look and see if there’s anything that will help distract you and take your mind off things, especially if you’re feeling anxious or sad.
Be comfortable with your interactions with people and try not to feel pressured by others that might not be following guidelines. You can’t control their behaviour (especially around if they are socially distancing or wearing a mask) but you can control yours. If someone does something that stresses you out- speak to someone you trust and then move on. Try not to dwell on others and just focus on what you’re doing. The risks to your health are reduced when you follow the guidelines. Focus on keeping yourself safe. And it’s not weird or rude if you’re sticking to rules. Do what you’re comfortable with.
That being said, don’t judge others or yourself too harshly right now. We’re all facing such uncertainty and everyone makes mistakes. We’re hard-wired for survival so be mindful because everyone’s trying to get through this in their own way. Coming out of lockdown is kinda like starting school right now. You don’t know what to expect and you feel nervous. Everyone’s in the same boat so be open to change if you can and focus on how you can feel at ease.
Speak to people- whether it’s your teachers, work colleagues, family members, friends, even helplines! Communicate your worries and ask questions if you’re not sure about anything. It’ll make you feel connected and supported. You’re not a burden and it’s OK to voice concerns and get some help. Have a vent, have a laugh- whatever you need!
Do what you can. Do what you have to but don’t over do it and stress yourself out. Self- care is so crucial right now so throw yourself into using your coping techniques (exercise, bubble baths, meditation, listening to music!) Make sure you’re still taking time for yourself and showing yourself some love.
Another HATW saying you’ve probably heard from us a lot- you got this! We all do. We’re in this together and you’re not alone.
If you’ve had a really tough time mental health-wise then please do as much self-care as you can, take things at your own pace and reach out for support from people who care about you. Or even get in touch with a helpline for advice or a safe place to vent, or your GP for professional help.