My name is Gary Inglis. I am a second year Community Education student and Dundee University and over the next few weeks I will be sharing my thoughts on a range of topics and issues as part of my 3 month long placement with Front Lounge.
Lockdown has been one of the most challenging times ever. Cancelled holidays; not being able to attend important family events; not being able to hang out with your mates – these have all contributed to making it the challenge that it was, and continues to be.
Whether it’s not being able to make sense of the rules in the supermarkets, or wearing masks, or just generally not being able to cope, lockdown and the uncertainty it has created has played havoc with people’s mental health and wellbeing.
Despite the general easing of lockdown restrictions the future is still uncertain, with the very real prospect of another nationwide lockdown looming large on the horizon. To prepare for any future lockdown I give you my top three tips that helped get me through the first nationwide full lockdown we experienced between March – July this year:
Tip #1: Get into a routine
I will be the first to admit, when lockdown first started, I had no clue of what was going on. The news only tells you so much, and I could only focus on two main things: my family and friends. Getting into a routine simply means, make sure that you have targets for the day so that you keep busy. This will help boost your endorphins, and it will also keep your mind active. My routine was getting up at 9am, making sure I eat some sort of healthy, well portioned breakfast, and spending time catching up with family and friends over social media, making sure I did a few hours of exercise, which involved walking all over Dundee, and making sure that I had set time aside to do any work from uni that needed to be done.
Tip #2: Take time for yourself
As simple as this may sound, doing nothing is also important. While earlier there was a mention of making sure to stay in a routine, it is important to note that sometimes there will be days when you just do not feel up to doing anything…. and that is okay. Be realistic with yourself, and do not compare yourself to others. If you do not feel like talking to anybody, then do not, if you want to spend hours on the couch watching television, do it. However do not get overly familiar with doing nothing. Yes, it is okay to take time out, but do not make it all you do because this can and often does lead to a downward spiral.
Tip #3: Look after your mental health
This is something that needs to be stressed: do not suffer in silence. Lockdown has been very challenging for us all, but there are people out there with no family or friends to hand, and this has been a very difficult time for them. If you are struggling with any sort of feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, then contact your local GP, and try and arrange something where you can talk to a mental health specialist. Also, practice self-care. Do not stay up until all hours of the night, try and focus on pleasant memories, and keep in mind that lockdown will not last forever. Also, be creative: listen to music, sing, back, do a collage… Take time to learn an instrument, colour in, read: all these things keep your mind active. When you are being active and keeping somewhat busy, it will help your mind also.