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How’s lockdown going? Answering the unanswerable

A little while back, we asked you guys to describe 2020 in one word. And the results are in…

Amongst all the bollocks, shit, and other four letter words we probably shouldn’t share here, the overwhelming message from the replies was that no one is experiencing the same lockdown. 

Sure, we’re all struggling through a global pandemic, but the pressures, challenges and stresses that each of us is facing are different – whether you’re a student navigating uni or a parent who is juggling work and childcare, perhaps you’re an NHS nurse on the frontline, live alone and are struggling with isolation, or you’re fed up of scrolling through job boards. 2020 was tough, and so far, well, 2021 doesn’t seem any easier. 

It’s all been a bit of a rollercoaster. Here’s some of the things you guys were feeling, alongside some tips and tricks to help you manage your mental wellbeing right now. And don’t forget, however you’re feeling, CALM is here. You can chat to CALM’s helpline and webchat everyday from 5pm to midnight.

Feeling: Like you want to scream into your cereal bowl

Some mornings you might wake up wanting to scream into the abyss, and that’s okay. Covid anger is REAL. 

Whether it’s rocking up to the supermarket to find lockdown panic-buyers have snapped up the last of the bog roll, frustration at government U-turns, or difficulty balancing home-schooling with going out to work, it’s been a frustrating time. It’s understandable some of us are feeling hot-headed, but it’s good to try and cool off these emotions before they boil over. 

Rather than beating yourself up, instead look at ways you can process and channel them. Take a brisk walk, shout into a pillow, listen to some metal and mosh in your kitchen, take up an online boxercise class – whatever puts you back in control of your headspace. You can read more about anger and how to manage it here. 

Feeling: Like you’re going nowhere

Anyone else feel like things have got a bit Groundhog Day? Life as we know it has been put on pause and it’s fine to feel weird about it. 

Our lives are normally punctuated by holidays, hangovers from good nights out, and celebrations, but currently the most exciting event in our calendars is taking the bins out. We set ourselves timelines for the things we want to achieve or look forward to and put ourselves under pressure to progress or accomplish certain things. Nowadays, just getting dressed in actual clothes, finding the motivation to exercise, or cook a nutritious meal can feel like an achievement, but hey, that’s okay. 

It’s frustrating that plans have been cancelled and goal posts have been moved, but we’re in it together – scroll through some  “my plans vs 2020” memes if you need a pick-me-up today. Give yourself permission to take your foot off the gas, take one day at a time and remember, this is temporary. 

Feeling: Lonely 

Whether you’ve been flying solo since March, or you live with friends or family, there’s no shame in feeling lonely. 

After the first lockdown, the Mental Health Foundation found that almost a quarter of the UK felt lonely because of coronavirus. Now, two lockdowns later, the little things like walking past someone without one of you having to cross the road, or the endless stream of video calls, are starting to take their toll. Spending this much time in our own company, or with a select few, is a new experience for many of us, leaving us craving spontaneous catch ups and time with people you don’t live with. 

When there’s not much going on, it can be hard to make conversation on video calls, so if you’re finding it difficult to fill the silence, why not give a less chatty activity a go instead? Try an online game, or invite your mates to a watch party, anything that avoids those tumbleweed moments that can make us feel worse. Above all, stay connected, even if that means a quick text to share how you’re feeling and check in with others. You can find more information on loneliness and social isolation and how to deal with it here.

Feeling: Worried about life after covid 

We get it if you willingly said see ya later to the hustle and bustle and are happy in your homely bubble. 

While many miss the buzz of a loud football stadium, cramming into small sweaty gig venues, or water cooler office gossip, some have been glad of the excuse to recharge their batteries. Three lockdowns have offered some respite from environments or activities that can make us feel stressed or anxious. 

If your home has become a safe hideaway during this chaotic time, the thought of stepping back into normality can feel daunting. We’ve become accustomed to lockdown life, quieter spaces and seeing less faces, so it’s normal to lose a little confidence in things we’ve not done in a while. 

When the time comes to jump back on a busy tube, or head back to a crowded gym, don’t be too hard on yourself and try to ease back into it slowly if possible. Who knows, maybe you’ll appreciate the hustle and bustle more when it returns. You can read more about anxiety here. 

Feeling: Worried about my job/home/financial situation

Let’s be honest, this pandemic and lockdown have created some really difficult situations. From losing your job or losing a loved one, to struggling to make ends meet, or being stuck in a home where you don’t feel safe or loved or comfortable, if you’re struggling because of the circumstances you’re in, the pandemic can feel a whole lot more intense. 

The best way to start to deal with the stresses is to talk to someone, that could be a trusted friend or family member, a GP or medical professional, an advisory service like Citizens Advice, or a helpline like CALM. When things feel overwhelming, it can be really difficult to see a way forward, talking to someone can help you find a way. You can also read more about the stuff that’s getting you down over on our Get Help Guides – there’s tips and info on everything from work stress to depression and anxiety. 

Feeling: Not sure how you’re feeling

With lengthy ramblings about restrictions and not being able to sit and mull things over with your mates at the local, it can be hard to get your head around everything. Even with a roadmap out of all this, the route can still feel confusing. There’s uncertainty around when things will return to ‘normal’ (and what does normal even mean?) and a lot of apprehension over the thought of being locked down again if things don’t go to plan. All of this can leave us feeling a bit…baffled. 

If you’re see-sawing between emotions at the moment, you’re not alone. Some days optimism comes easy, other days the Covid blues take over, and sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to feel, well, anything. Trying to make sense of things can be overwhelming, so try to give yourself a break from busy thoughts by distracting yourself with your favourite series, doing something you enjoy, or just turning off the news every now and then. Remember, these are weird times, so it’s completely normal if you feel a bit weird too. 

No matter how you’re feeling, CALM is here 

There’s no right or wrong way to feel during this strange time, but if you’re struggling, CALM is here to help. It’s normal to have bad days, but if you’re feeling anxious, stressed or low for long periods of time, you might be struggling with your mental wellbeing. If things are feeling a bit too much, call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or contact us through our webchat. Our trained helpline workers are available from 5pm to midnight everyday to provide practical support and advice, whatever you’re going through.

And if you’re bored during lockdown, why not make a Spotify playlist full of feel-good bangers? We chatted with a bunch of musicians about music and mental wellbeing. Take a read here. 

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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