Coronavirus and Mental Health – 5 Top Tips for Lockdown
The ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 has affected and continues to affect all our lives. The UK’s third lockdown, which started January 5 2021, will mean that once again we won’t be able to spend as much time with all of those we care about most. While we’re all aware that these changes are designed to help protect ourselves and those around us – they can, of course, lead to feelings of frustration, stress, anxiety and loneliness.
However, it’s important to know that these feelings are normal. So, we’ve put together this guide to help bring awareness to the research being conducted regarding COVID-19 and mental health, what the experts have to say and some top tips for looking after your mental health while on lockdown.
Blue Monday And Lockdown
This week the UK endured ‘Blue Monday’. Blue Monday is supposedly the saddest day of the year. Psychologist and Life coach, Dr Cliff Arnall, conceived the idea in 2005. His research identified the third Monday of January to be the most depressing due to a combination of bad weather, long nights and the low following the festive high the holidays bring. This year may have seemed that much worse given that the UK is currently in Lockdown. With the depression in adults doubling since the start of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever before to understand and look after our mental health.
What Research has Revealed Regarding Mental Health, Coronavirus and Lockdown
An ongoing UK-wide long term study by The Mental Health Foundation is looking at how the pandemic is affecting people’s mental health. The Mental Health Foundation’s Wave 7 report (late August 2020) found that ‘Generally, two-thirds (64%) of the people feel that they are coping with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related stress very well or fairly well’. However, it was also revealed that ‘almost half (45%) of the UK population had felt anxious or worried in the previous two weeks’ and ‘nearly one in five people (18%) reported feeling lonely in the previous two weeks.’
What the Experts Have to Say About Mental Health, Coronavirus and Lockdown
While it’s widely understood and recognised by the experts that the pandemic has affected people’s mental health – the scale and the magnitude is not. This is what the Director-General of the World Health Organization has to say:
“We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching.” – Director-General of the World Health Organization.
5 Tips for Looking After Your Mental Health During Lockdown
With so many changes occurring – It’s easy to become overwhelmed at times, especially during a pandemic. The following tips are designed by the NHS to help you look after your mental health.
- Stay Connected – although we may not be able to spend time with friends and family in person, it’s important to still maintain healthy relationships. You can stay connected to those you trust via the phone, social media, text messaging, online chat rooms and email. A few platforms that can help you connect include; skype, zoom, Whatsapp,, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Talk About Your Worries – speaking to those you trust about your worries and concerns can help deal with your emotions. If you’re unable to speak to friends or family, there are plenty of online and over the phone support lines.
- Look After Your Body – staying physically healthy can have an impact on your mental well being. Small changes to your diet to ensure that you’re eating a balanced and nutritional diet as well as routinely exercising can lead to an all-round healthier lifestyle. For information on how to live well, click here.
- Take Time to Relax – relaxing can help you process your emotions. For information and relation techniques, click here.
- Get Good Sleep – sleep can have a big impact on how we feel. Getting enough good quality sleep is important – so try to establish and maintain your regular sleeping pattern.
For more information from the NHS regarding mental health and the coronavirus, click here.
Activities to Help You Make the Most of Lockdown
Lockdown can bring on feelings of boredom and restlessness. Planning activities and staying busy can help give structure to your day as well as a sense of achievement. To help you make the most of lockdown – we’ve created a lockdown activities suggestion guide. To access, click the button below.
Mental Health Tips for Your Future Travels
While lockdown can be tough, we all look forward to the day we can once again enjoy the sun, sea and sand! However, it’s just as important to look after your mental health when travelling as it is when you’re at home. So, for when holidays are possible, here are some top tips:
- Keep taking your regular medication – travelling can be exciting, you may even feel as though your mental health has improved. It is, however, essential that you continue to take your regular medication as your doctor as prescribed. You even can set a daily alarm on your phone as a reminder.
- Rest and rehydrate – Travelling can be exhausting. Your physical health can impact your mental health. So, to reduce stress levels while you’re away – make sure you have plenty of rest and stay hydrated.
- Keep connected – Just as it is important to maintain healthy relationships when you’re at home it is important to do so while you’re away. Speaking to those you trust can help reduce stress and process and emotions and anxiety brought on by a change in routine and by travelling.
- Avoid excess alcohol and illicit drugs – these both have the potential to negatively interact with prescribed medication – so to ensure you can make the most of your trip – it’s best to avoid.
“Our mantra, as ever, is to declare everything. Your medical history should not be seen as a barrier to travel.” – Chris Rolland, AllClear CEO
For more information and further statistics from AllClear regarding mental health, click here.
So, if you are living with mental illness, you must declare it when taking out travel insurance. There are specialist medical travel insurance providers, such as AllClear that offer mental health travel insurance which includes enhanced COVID-19 Cover. To find out how AllClear can help you, click here.
What Are the Mental Health Helplines for Coronavirus?
If you have been living with mental health or know someone who has and is feeling isolated – The NHS Volunteers Service can provide a telephone ‘check-in and chat’. Call 0808 196 3646 (8 am to 8 pm) or visit the website.
The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.