Coping With The Lockdown

Words Agnes Aui | Photo Christian Lue

It’s been roughly over a year since the Novel-Coronavirus struck the world. Today, all we hear throughout the news have been about COVID-19, a mutation in the virus and multiple lockdowns worldwide, where citizens were forced to stay at home and experience a vast change in daily activities. Countries like Argentina, Canada, Fiji, France, Ghana, India, Italy, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, Scotland, United States, Vietnam and more have all undergone at least one nationwide lockdown, some even more than that. 

When undergoing multiple lockdowns, it’s easy to become impatient and even depressed. According to Healthline, depression symptoms are three times higher during COVID-19 lockdowns where experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a traumatic event that causes physical, emotional, and psychological distress – and not just for patients of the virus. 

Since the lockdowns began, many have changed their way of life to adapt to what we call “the new normal”. BBC has released a video that shows how various people of different lifestyles adapt to the recent January 2021 lockdown in the United Kingdom. From circus performers and Master students to finance assistants and cafe owners, we get an inside look at how they’re coping with the lockdown. Most of them resort to staying as active as they can, getting small walks and hikes or even training indoors, instead of sitting put at the couch or work desk. According to the Michigan Department of Psychiatry, physical activity and exercise can be effective treatment strategies for symptoms of both depression and anxiety. They also encourage physical activity and exercise every day, which can bring short and long-term benefits for mood, sleep, and physical health. 

In terms of mental health, many websites have released various articles on how to take care of it while staying at home, with tips and tricks, alongside hotline numbers to contact should you need someone to talk to. In February this year, Guardian released an article with selected advice from professors and clinical psychologists. Many of these pieces of advice include learning to change how we see the situation rather than how we can change the environment. Tips, like giving yourself small goals, being kind to yourself, thinking about what you can do rather than what you cannot, and using this time to explore your creativity and live in the moment, are great ways to keep yourself busy during the lockdown. 

The United Kingdom’s Mental Health Foundation also released an article on how to identify your feelings during the pandemic, and most importantly during and when being released from a lockdown. It expresses importance to two main feelings: fear and anxiety, which are “common emotional responses” to this situation. They then list some tips in order to overcome fear and anxiety, like controlling what can be controlled, pacing yourself, building up tolerance, varying your routine and more. 

What makes the lockdown even harder is not only isolation but sadly, external factors like work. Some employees experience difficulty when it comes to work, according to an article by Malay Mail. Despite being allowed to work at home, some employers expect employees to work past the usual working hours, and may even disturb them during weekends. It’s a difficult position for many, as they need the job during this time yet sticking with it further deteriorates their mental health. Due to the difficult situation, one can either turn to legal actions or perhaps try to push the stress and anxiety away with distractions and boundaries that are set by the employee themselves. As mentioned above by the United Kingdom’s Mental Health Foundation, this falls under controlling what you can control, which more often than not, is changing how we see the situation, rather than the situation itself. 

Ultimately, different people have different ways of coping with the lockdown. What works for some of us may not necessarily work for other people. But the most important thing about going through lockdowns and this entire pandemic, is learning to be kind to the people around us. This is because we’re all struggling with our own battles and no matter what we’re going through, our feelings are valid as this pandemic is something completely new for most of us. What’s vital is that we try our best to be there for the people we care for and have people be there for us when we need someone. 

And if you’re reading this and need encouragement, I just want to say that you’re doing a great job so far. Keep pushing through because we will make it out of this pandemic alive and well!

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