How to manage your mental health during the continuing coronavirus restrictions
15th December 2020 | By: A Young Champion at the Anna Freud Centre
One of our Young Champions gives some advice on how to keep managing your mental health during the continuing coronavirus restrictions this winter.
Coronavirus restrictions can be hard when you’re struggling to even get up each day, let alone attempt to keep up with all your work and manage your deteriorating mental health. This is especially the case if you see others who appear to be thriving, picking up new hobbies, learning new languages, and more.
But, in my experience, coping with the continuing restrictions is all about your attitude. You don’t have to be the most productive person on the planet, utilising every precious second of your time. If you can get up in the morning and go to bed at the end of the day, you’ve already accomplished something. Instead of beating yourself up for not being the ‘best version of yourself’ coming out of lockdown, just take it one day at a time - and try to do something each day to make yourself that little bit happier. Whether that is having a bath, or baking a cake, or even just cleaning your room. Whatever you do is valid.
Now that it's the winter and the days are cold and dark, it can be even easier to find yourself feeling miserable. I would recommend making the most out of the season and cuddling up with some cosy blankets, perhaps by the fireplace (if you have one!) or with some scented candles. Try watching some Christmas movies, with a cup of hot chocolate. Anything to warm you from the inside out. You could also consider decorating your house in preparation for the festivities. This can be a lovely activity to do by yourself, or with the rest of your family if they are at home. It can bring excitement to this time of year.
To boost your wellbeing, also try to make some sort of a routine so you don’t fall into the trap of all the days merging together. Plan in times where you can have a Zoom call with friends to catch up and play games together (my current favourite is ‘Among Us’), or a family movie night. Or do both! Try and experiment a little, maybe cooking some new meals that you’ve never had before. If you find yourself ‘falling down the rabbit hole’ a bit, and you can feel your mental illness taking over the reins, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. Talk to them about how you are feeling and, if you feel you need more help, maybe even contact your GP for additional support.
Another thing which really helps me with my mental health is music. I have found that it makes a difference, whether it’s listening to my favourite Spotify playlist when I am feeling a bit down or anxious, or singing karaoke to my favourite songs. The choice is yours, and it’s completely up to you to work out what music means to you. You might also choose to learn an instrument, just in a relaxed way, or simply branch out and listen to some new artists that you’d never heard of before.
From my perspective, these coronavirus restrictions don’t always need to be seen as something terrible. Even if you don’t plan on getting much done, having some time alone at home can be good to unwind and doing some self-care activities can help to reset or boost your mental health.
Our self-care page has over 90 self-care strategies that young people have said help them when they are feeling low or anxious. Our urgent help page features organisations and services that offer help and support for young people 24/7.