Life in a Lockdown: Thoughts on Mental Health

There has never been a better time to talk about mental health. Until pretty recently, if you’d said you had episodes of depression, mood swings, or your anxiety was triggered by certain subjects or images, you’d have been given the side-eye.

Now, these declarations are commonplace – even recommended and welcomed for their honesty in some companies. You only have to look to a decade ago, perhaps even five years ago, to see a less forgiving and understanding workplace when it comes to the discussion around mental health.

I find it difficult to pinpoint when the great watershed moments occurred that have allowed this openness to flourish, but regardless its welcomed.

Let’s be honest, what we’re all living through isn’t great for a lot of people’s mental health, but there are resources and techniques we can employ and habits we can form that can mitigate the impact of our current situation.

I think it’s worth splitting the ways to address mental health into soft solutions and hard solutions. Soft solutions are for feeling down, feeling a bit anxious, feeling lost. Hard solutions are for serious concerns about your ability to deal with everyday life, depression and worse.

The two are different. It’s not helpful to confuse the two, but it often happens.

Hard solutions

Professional medical help

In the mid-2000s, when I was in my mid-twenties, I had counselling and psychotherapy for anxiety and what was probably depression. I was scared by how it felt. I felt ashamed to admit that it was happening, at the time. But not anymore. I got help and it worked.

You might wonder what such a ‘confession’ is doing on the pages of LinkedIn and not another platform like Medium, or an annoying Twitter thread, but it seems relevant, and also people should know that I’m coming from a place of some experience rather than just positing ideas of what could work from an ivory tower of mental imperviousness.

Get help from medically qualified professionals, not wellbeing experts (although they are also important, and more on them later).

Medication

See a doctor and get a prescription. Pills don’t solve everything, but by God can they help.

More people take antidepressants than you think, and regulated carefully they can save and improve lives.

Yes there are books saying you don’t need them, and for some that might be true, but this is often harmful and dangerous advice.

Soft solutions

Mindfulness

Many people rail against the commodification of wellness, and rightly so. Feeling good should not be a privilege we have to pay to access. There are things we can all do, daily, for free, to maintain calm and perspective.

Whether you call it mindfulness, meditation or just being calm, a few moments out of your day can be invaluable. Deep breaths, clearing the mind. Too busy? Nonsense. You’ve got two minutes. Take them.

Communication

Seems obvious but yet still underdone. If you don’t have a partner or a trusted friend to listen to you, I never thought I’d say this, but chatbots can really help here (see beneath)

Resources

Liggy Webb. A wellbeing advocate, she has a tonne of info on her website around burnout, resilience and more. Here’s an example.

Matt Haig. Author and advocate of open discussion around mental health. My favourite quote of his: “you’ve survived 100% of your worst days”. Start with his book ‘Notes on a Nervous Planet’ and go from there. More here.

Rory Kinsella. VedicMeditation teacher and, full disclosure, one of my oldest friends. Check him out.

Woebot. A chatbot app. I know. Weird. Give it a go.

Quick wrap-up

Talk to friends and family. Be honest about your feelings. Stay safe. Celebrate the good things however small. Eat and sleep well.

Author – Jon Kennard:

Jon is a digital editor specialising in publishing written, audio and video content.

The best part of two decades’ experience in media, content and marketing. (Deep breath) From freelance copywriting for the web to digital content creation and online community management to product marketing for blue chip finance, Jon has built up a wealth of knowledge in businesses of all sizes and industries, digital and analogue. Areas of expertise include:Digital publishing, Social media, Podcasting, Video editing, Content curation and
Content marketing.

Connect with Jon on LinkedIn 

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