Anxiety in lockdown

Anxiety in lockdown

1 May 2020

So far, we have introduced you to the 5 ways to wellbeing and our Chair, Helen, has given you a brilliant flavour of her take on them over the last two weeks.  

But some of us might be feeling that it is just too hard to even know where to start. If that sounds like you, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by coronavirus, the lockdown and all it is entailing, then this week’s article is for you. 

It’s nearly impossible not to be affected by ‘lockdown comparison’. Whether you’re aware of someone else’s seemingly seamless home school projects, seeing others’ sewing or home growing projects, it’s hard not to compare. If you add into the mix a dose of anxiety, whether it’s longstanding or a new feature in your life, then you can be forgiven for feeling a bit downhearted. 

Certainly, it has been researched that more of us are feeling anxious than ever before and there is good reason to. The social isolation of lockdown, the fear of the virus itself, the complete change of routine and being cut off from ‘normal life’ is enough to make even the most resilient of us unsettled. Interestingly though, some of us with existing anxiety are paradoxically feeling improved levels of wellbeing due to the reduction in the pressure of going out and the lack of crowds in social spaces. 

For most of us, any unsettled and anxious feelings will be manageable, not persistent and not intrude too much on our sleep. However, for some, you might be finding your wellbeing is quite markedly affected, with persistent anxiety and very poor sleep. If this is you or someone you know, then we want to let you know that there is help there for you. Have a look at the latest MindSpace online activities to get involved in if you are able. Or try the new 24hour NHS helpline or call your GP and book an online or telephone appointment. 

Wherever you find yourself on the scale of mental wellbeing, we know from science that the five ways to wellbeing can really help. Even if you’re really struggling. Starting small can make a meaningful and positive difference to you.  

So, let’s use ‘move’ rather than ‘be active’ this week. If you can get outside, then go for a short walk or pull up some weeds in the garden. Even a bit of housework can get your body moving. Why not give our online yoga a try on a Wednesday morning?  

Taking notice might be opening the curtains for the first time in a while or opening a window and feeling the warmth of the sun or hearing the patter of the rain. Giving doesn’t have to be big – try a small compliment by leaving a post-it note for the delivery person or refuse collectors. 

Learning something new doesn’t have to be a new language or black belt in martial arts etc. Pick up the local paper or an old magazine and it will give your brain something different to focus on and new information to process. Just reading this article will have had a positive impact, we hope.  

In the meantime, stay safe and keep going. This will pass and we will be here on the other side for you all.

Dr Cassie Petrie, Trustee

This was one of a series of MindSpace articles published in The Stamford Mercury during the Coronavirus lockdown.

NHS 24/7 Mental Health Helpline 
If you’re feeling low, anxious or stressed and you think that talking to another person may help you cope you can call the mental health helpline in Lincolnshire which is open 24/7: Telephone 0800 001 4331.