As countries all over the world spend another weekend in lockdown, many of us are just beginning to come to terms with the idea that this will be our reality for the foreseeable future.
Just this morning (29 March), the government’s leading epidemiology adviser professor Neil Ferguson warned that the UK must stay in lockdown until June to curb the threat of coronavirus.
With so many of us adapting to spending time indoors over the coming months, it’s only natural that people have been brainstorming how best to spend this period. For some, this is the perfect time to write that book they’ve been putting off starting, while for others, lockdown is a great opportunity to take an online course and develop their skills. You might even have plans to spruce up your home or flex your baking muscles.
All of these ideas are, of course, fantastic. Being productive and focusing your mind on something other than the current situation is a great way to protect your mental health. But that doesn’t mean we all have to work on a ‘special project’ during our time in lockdown – especially if you’re dealing with heightened feelings of anxiety, as many of us are at the moment.
And that’s why Jameela Jamil’s words about how she’s spending her time in quarantine are so reassuring.
“It’s OK if you’re not creating right now,” she wrote. “It’s OK if you’re frozen/depressed/anxious/lost. I keep being asked how I’m staying creative. I’m not.
“I’m just looking for places to donate, reading the news, eating crisps or watching old box sets. It’s OK to just survive for a bit.”
Mental health advocate and author Matt Haig echoed Jamil’s sentiment in a tweet posted on Friday (27 March), explaining why even the smallest of actions are an achievement right now.
“The current era is crap enough without having to feel guilt that we aren’t learning Greek and painting watercolours of daffodils,” he wrote. “If you brushed your teeth today and got showered and ate something and spent ten minutes not looking at the news then well done it’s an achievement.”
If you’re struggling with your mental health at the moment, it’s important to remember that, whatever your lockdown looks like, it’s OK.
For more resources on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, including how to establish a sense of uncertainty and what to do when your thoughts are spiralling, take a look at our mental health content here.