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Joe Wicks just nailed why this stage of the coronavirus pandemic is so tough on our mental health

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Lauren Geall
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Joe Wicks

In a video posted to his Instagram, The Body Coach trainer Joe Wicks explained he is “struggling” with his mental health after Boris Johnson’s latest announcement – and it’s seriously relatable.

When the UK first went into lockdown on 23 March, Joe Wicks quickly became a symbol of optimism for people up and down the country.

With his can-do attitude, high energy narration and determination to get families across the country exercising together, Wicks’ daily “P.E. with Joe” videos were a beacon of light for people up and down the country.

As Stylist’s Hollie Richardson previously wrote: “The Wicks aren’t going to cure coronavirus, and they’re not risking their lives on the front line like NHS and keyworkers. But they offered hope and positivity on a mass scale at a time when it’s so easy to feel overwhelmed with darkness.”

With all this being said, Joe Wicks is perhaps the last person you’d expect to be struggling to stay optimistic. And that’s exactly what makes his latest Instagram video so incredibly important. 

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In the video, which was titled “Struggling with my mental health. You are not alone,” Wicks explained how he’s been feeling low since Boris Johnson’s most recent announcement, and that the new restrictions have left him struggling to stay optimistic.

“This is such a tough time – emotionally, spiritually, mentally – and I think it’s important to talk about it,” he explained. “I’m finding it hard to be optimistic, I’m finding it confusing, I feel like I don’t understand and I can’t comprehend where the end is.”

Wicks continued: “That feeling of powerlessness and confusion is quite a hard feeling to deal with because normally we’re in control of things and we can change and affect things quite quickly and change the way we feel, but with [the new restrictions] the realisation that this isn’t just going to go away tomorrow is really getting me down.”

Reflecting on how the disconnection from friends and family has been a real struggle for him, Wicks went on to explain how important it is to open up about how we’re feeling because this is “something we’ve never experienced”.

“I understand why [the restrictions are in place] but that doesn’t make it any easier,” he said. “I think it’s so important to talk about how you’re feeling and have that open dialogue about how it’s affecting you – don’t bottle it up and feel like you’re on your own, because it is difficult.

“This is something we’ve never experienced, and it’s like you take a step forward and then you take a step back.”

Wicks also said that thinking about “all the people that are going to be affected” as a result of the pandemic brings him down, which in turn makes it hard for him to get excited about his work.

“I’m personally getting sensitive about other people as well, like knowing that small businesses are going to go under and restaurants are struggling and when I start to think about all the people that are going to be affected that feeling, that energy – it brings me down so much.

“I find it very hard to get excited about anything. I’m finding it hard to film workouts or do anything because it’s so difficult to be optimistic.”

Seeing Wicks speak out about how his mental is incredibly important because it demonstrates how even the most optimistic of people can be struggling behind the scenes. 

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As we mark the six month anniversary since the UK first went into lockdown, it’s understandable that so many of us are feeling down and struggling to stay positive, especially with the threat of a second wave and the new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

Now more than ever, we need to speak openly about how we’re feeling – not only to take some of the weight off of our shoulders, but to show the people around us that they’re not alone in how they’re feeling.

In choosing to highlight his experience and demonstrate how anyone can struggle with their mental health, Joe Wicks is providing people across the country with the chance to feel less alone – and we think that’s incredible.

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