Cancelled travel plans, indefinite isolation, panic over scarce resources, and information overload could be a recipe for unchecked anxiety and depression. Read our article below for some tips on managing low mood in lockdown.
Stick to a routine
Try to maintain as much structure in your day as possible. Your days might look very different to how they did before lockdown, however you should aim to wake up and go to bed at the same time, eat proper meals, shower as normal, and try to get some fresh air. While it’s a great opportunity to wear some comfy clothes, change out of your PJs every day. If you have certain days to do chores around the home, stick to these.
Sticking to a routine means there is less time for dark, intrusive thoughts to escalate and it’ll be easier to transition back to normal.
Avoid the news
The constant coverage of the pandemic can make it very easy to obsess over every new article. Social media is saturated with articles and posts, sometimes spreading misinformation or coming from untrustworthy sources.
You might find it helpful to choose some sources you know you can trust, and only check them for a limited amount of time each day. This way you can ensure you’re only getting the facts you need rather than speculation and, ultimately, fearmongering.
Look after your wellbeing
Make sure you are looking after yourself. Do what you can to get enough sleep, try to get some fresh air, and eat well.
You should also make sure you are getting enough natural sunlight. You might want to consider going for a daily walk of about 10-15 minutes. This ensure you are getting fresh air and natural sunlight, which will increase serotonin and Vitamin D levels in the body.
Consider your environment
If your surroundings are unorganised and unclean, it may have an effect on your mental health. Keep your home clean and tidy, as this will help to reduce feelings of unease and even claustrophobia.
You may also want to set up boundaries or ‘mental zones’ for your daily activities. For example, if you are working from home, set up a space with a desk and an appropriate chair to work from, rather than the sofa. Don’t eat in bed. Loosening these boundaries can make the day feel very long and can interrupt your routine.
Have something to look forward to each day
If possible, try to find something you enjoy doing that you can do each day. Starting a daily journal, taking a walk, calling a friend or relative, or even doing some art can help you to keep busy.
Ask for support
It’s not a sign of weakness to reach out to people and ask for support. Call or message friends and family. You never know, they might be feeling the same way you do.
If you don’t feel comfortable calling someone you know, you can call one of the many helplines in the UK:
Samaritans. To talk about anything that is upsetting you, you can contact Samaritans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 116 123 (free from any phone), or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call the Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm every day).
SANEline. If you're experiencing a mental health problem or supporting someone else, you can call SANEline on 0300 304 7000 (4.30pm–10.30pm every day).
The Mix. If you're under 25, you can call The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (Sunday-Friday 2pm–11pm), request support by email using this form on The Mix website or use their crisis text messenger service.
Papyrus HOPELINEUK. If you're under 35 and struggling with suicidal feelings, or concerned about a young person who might be struggling, you can call Papyrus HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141 (weekdays 10am-10pm, weekends 2pm-10pm and bank holidays 2pm–10pm), email email@example.com or text 07786 209 697.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). If you identify as male, you can call the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm–midnight every day) or use their webchat service.
Nightline. If you're a student, you can look on the Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
Switchboard. If you identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you can call Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 (10am–10pm every day), email firstname.lastname@example.org or use their webchat service. Phone operators all identify as LGBT+.
C.A.L.L. If you live in Wales, you can call the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) on 0800 132 737 (open 24/7) or you can text 'help' followed by a question to 81066.
Helplines Partnership. For more options, visit the Helplines Partnership website for a directory of UK helplines. Mind's Infoline can also help you find services that can support you. If you're outside the UK, the Befrienders Worldwide website has a tool to search by country for emotional support helplines around the world.