With the Covid-19 lockdown still being a very present force in all of our lives, it is essential to take a look at the struggles that this enforced isolation puts on us. Researchers and experts have stated that strict public health measures like lockdowns are necessary to protect the general population, yet it causes untold strain on the mental health of everyone who adheres appropriately to them.
The Effects of Lockdown
The first and most obvious effect of the lockdown on mental health is the destruction of routine and schedule. For many people who live alone, especially, their only form of socialization pre-Covid would have been through work or other activities outside of the home. This stress becomes further compounded for those who are separated from close family members for possibly the first time in their lives.
A high-profile example is Jessica Plummer. The former Eastenders star and I’m A Celebrity campmate and her daughter Noa had to self-isolate in a cottage near the filming set at Gwrych Castle in the two weeks leading up to the launch and were parted again when the show went live.
This enforced separation of mother and daughter is not unique to Jessica. Many parents who work abroad need to stay away from their children for fear of potentially spreading Covid-19 and maintaining the mental health of both the children and adults involved is critical to foster a healthy environment.
Ways of Coping
The best way to start coping with separation anxiety is by using the technology and options we have available to us. While strict isolation policies prevent us from seeing our loved ones in person, the prevalence of online video calling allows us to have a window across any distance that can help ease that burden.
Having the ability to have video conversations with friends and family is one thing, but taking dedicated time to check in with everyone is just as important. Maintaining regular contact with others, daily or as often as possible, brings a semblance of the social interaction that we have grown used to throughout our lives. It is easy to get wrapped up in our own experiences during the lockdown, but something as simple as a text message or email to a friend can often make the difference to someone’s mental health.
Unfortunately for Jessica and her campmates, all form of contact beyond the Castle walls is banned, meaning an emotional three weeks of separation from her daughter, a tough test of endurance for anyone.
Picture Your Happy Place
There’s much we can learn from Jessica’s fellow campmate, DJ Jordan North, a shining example of facing fear and anxiety who became a national treasure when he bravely took charge of his emotions and mindset in his three terrifying trials
By thinking of a place which holds happy, safe memories, he was able to recall and focus on a special experience to distract his mind from the daunting trial at hand and picture himself in his ‘Happy Place’.
Practice this simple tip whenever you feel anxiety arise and although the feeling may not entirely disappear (Jordan was scared nevertheless!) its magnitude will soon diminish.
Hope for the Future
Sometimes it can be tough to see, but there will eventually be an end to lockdowns and forced isolation and keeping that in mind is especially important for children and young people who believe their future has been derailed due to the virus.
Make sure to encourage your friends and family to always continue building towards their future, and to use this lockdown time as productively as possible. We are only as alone as we choose to be, and while the physical separation is necessary for now, it is not permanent.