I imagine I can speak for a lot of us when I say the second lockdown has been significantly more anxiety provoking and isolating than the first, even with the glimmer of hope that is June 21st. The separation we feel from our normal social settings, one of those being college, has been incredibly hard for the majority of us – even those who generally like spending time alone. Perhaps this is because we have now passed the one year anniversary of our lives being significantly put on hold, or the sudden and urgent nature of the 3rd lockdown? Either way, it’s safe to say our threat systems are heightened and have been for a while, the sense of impending doom (not to be dramatic…) has caused most of us to be in a constant state of anxiety whether we realise it or not.
This is where our health and wellbeing become the most important things in our lives. We cannot move forward if we don’t look after ourselves. The worry and guilt we feel causes us to doubt our achievements or potential, which therefore puts us under more pressure, in a time already thoroughly seasoned with worry and anxiety. In order for this torturous cycle to end we must accept that what we are feeling is understandable, and we are absolutely not alone. Finding relaxing activities that distract us and cause us to look at the simple things in life really helps.
Going for walks and taking time out for ourselves. It may not make a huge difference at first, but it will have a profound effect in the long run. Although it can seem lonely and miserable at the moment, we must keep looking towards a brighter and abundant future and try our best to uplift and help one another. Whether we are reaching out to an old friend or going for a peaceful walk, it is vital that we invest in ourselves and our wellbeing during these abnormal times.
Many students have reported that being surrounded by nature and becoming more mindful helped them to combat their mental health struggles, as did baking, yoga and keeping in contact with their friends. These are just a few suggestions of activities that can positively help you process the current situation, but even just speaking to a trusted friend or adult can also help.
For many of us, the future itself seems somewhat incomprehensible as we have no idea where we will be a year from now, but maybe this is an opportunity for us to create a more nurturing and caring environment for ourselves and those around us once we reach 'normality' again. Taking a more gentle approach to our circumstances, choosing the kindest options for ourselves, no matter the situation, will be ultimately beneficial to us all as a whole.