This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and with everything that’s going on for us at the moment I thought I would write a little something that some of you might be able to relate to.
Everything has changed, all the things that we knew are different, who ever thought the schools would close, exams wouldn’t be sat and that we wouldn’t be able to leave our house freely when we wanted to? Covid-19 has changed our every day lives. I know it has certainly changed mine...
The first few weeks of lockdown I was so anxious, no one in my household left the house for three weeks. Worry and panic just took over and with that came irrational thoughts. I decided to try and cut myself off from the media a little bit as constant updates were making me feel worse. I removed all my social media as seeing things all the time was just getting too much and I felt like I just wanted to concentrate on my own household and my own family.
As we have got further on in this journey, I’ve realised that some days are going to be better than others. If you have a day that all you need to do is stay in bed then that’s fine, have a duvet day, eat ice cream, cry if you want, but make sure that you get up the next day and start afresh. You have to allow yourself some time to let your brain psychologically repair, dealing with so many emotions and being in a situation that none of us could have predicted causes all kinds of stresses on both our physical and mental health. Finding things to give you a bit of headspace or what works for you to relax and reflect, is something that we all need to learn to do. For me it’s having a bath, lots of bubbles and a good book. Cooking is also something that helps me relax and I’ve spent a lot of time baking and making 3 course meals as it’s been keeping me calm, and it's something the family enjoys too!
Working from home and being in the same environment most of the time is a challenge aswell. I’m used to be all over Edinburgh, doing two jobs and a night class, so I am finding it a real struggle being at home so much. For those of you who have kids as well, you will understand how challenging it is trying to home school them, feed them constantly and even just get through a day.
Children however are adaptable and some have taken to home schooling very well, while others just haven't. Children with additional support needs especially will be finding this period of change hard as routine is something that’s hugely securing for them. In our house, we take one day at a time and I try my best to work everything around so it suits and helps every child in the best possible way. Most of the time I succeed, and when I don't that's okay too.
All I wanted to say here is, we are all doing our very best! So far it has basically been the equivalent of a school term summer holiday time at home, and no matter how we have felt, how many times we have cried, we are all doing it! Things will get better and we will get some kind of normality back but right now this is our normal. I never thought I would be suffering so badly with anxiety but this situation has caused me so much, so learning how to deal with my own mental health has been a journey in itself. And I have realised I need to do my every day in a way that helps me too and takes care of me.
Everyone is affected by mental health so please try not to ever feel ashamed or embarrassed to tell people. The stigma needs to stop and we need to be kinder to each other and to ourselves. This Mental Health Awareness Week, take some time to be kind to yourself and your family. Be appreciative of what we have got right now and when those days of anxiety and uncertainty become too much, do something that makes you feel better. Don't feel bad if you've not been a super human that day, now more than ever, everything is a little tougher on our mental wellbeing.
Stay safe and stay at home
Remember to reach out if you need someone to speak to, our support page has contact information for local organisations that might be able to help!