The last year has been like no other, and as we observe the anniversary of the first lockdown we need to take a minute and try to understand how Covid has impacted our mental health.
Like many others our work has moved online, with most staff working from home, this has seen a blurring of the line between work and home life with some of us juggling work, home schooling, and childcare responsibility. For others, the pandemic has brough financial struggle due to redundancy or being placed on furlough, all of which may take a heavy toll on our mental health.
Many of us are emotionally exhausted, the year in some ways has whizzed by but yet we are all experiencing a weird ‘ground hog’ day as the days seem to repeat endlessly. It’s also hard to feel a sense of achievement, we stop and question, what exactly have I actually accomplished? We follow the rules to stay home but we still watch the constant news cycles of doom and feel a sense of futility.
So what do we do?
Well firstly give yourself permission to feel, and know that whatever that feeling is; sadness, loneliness, fear, anxiety it’s okay. Whatever your emotions are, they are valid and you aren’t alone. Don’t beat yourself, it really is okay to not feel okay.
People way more qualified than me will tell you to ‘de-escalate the sympathetic nervous system and engage the parasympathetic nervous system’ but me I favour the following; a good cry, odd thing to suggest but it helps me release any pent up emotions, or a good belly laugh, not a little giggle but a proper loud guffaw. I’m told I have an odd sense of humour but the family film The Willoughby’s makes me cry with laughter, if you haven’t seen it, give it a go. Or try dancing like no one’s watching – ‘Dancing on sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves (showing my age) puts a spring in my step and if you belt out the words, I wouldn’t call the noise I make singing, but that helps too.