Posted 27.10.2020

Mental Health Awareness Week: Sally's Lockdown Story

Continuing with the Mental Health Awareness week posts here is my little slice of life in lockdown!

As someone who has struggled with anxiety previously (which thankfully is much better under control), throw in a curveball like Coronavirus and that brings a whole new set of challenges. My initial reaction was fear. I was instantly afraid of someone I know getting ill or dying. I had constant worry and real difficulty with sleeping and maintaining any kind of routine, and when I saw the initial panic buying of toilet roll I started to worry if I should panic buy some too!

But as we get further into lockdown the routine has become more settled. The worry has become a bit less and my sleep has improved. I am lucky to have a good set up at home. I have a spare room with a desk, natural light, lovely stationery and a couple of succulents (should I be watering them??)! I don't have kids (to all of you that are doing the home schooling / keeping head above water with little ones in the house – you are all doing amazing!).

I have a furloughed husband who is putting in the hours on his Xbox and doing more than his fair share of the chores. I speak to my parents more than usual and have even introduced them to FaceTime! I miss simple things like seeing friends, going out for food and wandering around HomeSense (It's my happy place!). Birthday season is upon us, but on hold for now - but the party we have when this is over will be epic!

I haven't learnt a new language, or ran 5k, or even baked banana bread during lockdown. Some days I have showered, put clean pyjamas on and binged on box sets (Ozark, Bosch and American Horror Story are my current faves – any other suggestions welcome). Other days I have spent pottering in the garden; playing swing ball (not very well), tending to my plants (no idea what I'm doing but I enjoy it), feeding and listening to the birds (Anyone else noticed more garden birds around during lockdown?), and I have walked the streets around my home and said hello to strangers more than ever before.

My sleep is better now too; I switch off my phone and iPad at least an hour before I go to bed and take time to switch off from the screens and unwind. I also use a sleep mask to block out any light and help me get a good nights sleep.

I have continued working from home, using Teams to keep in touch with colleagues. I have continued my studying too and I am still on track with my assignments. This was tough at the start because my lovely study space was taken over with all things work related, but I have made sure I separate work time and study time, whilst also having some free time. I am also finding time to relax and switch off; for those of us working from home the lines between home and work can become very blurred so it is even more important to ensure you switch off, walk away, close the spare room door, turn off the notifications and don't think about work when you've finished for the day (it will still be there tomorrow).

This is borrowed, but I thought it was great: "We are not all in the same boat, but we are all facing the same storm". I don't know about you but some days I feel like I'm in an inflatable dinghy with no oars and a slow puncture but other days I feel like I'm in Roman Abramovich's super yacht!

Hang in there, talk to someone if you need support with anything, wear your pyjamas with pride and don't forget to take care of yourself 😊.

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