Mental Health in Lockdown: How To Pick Yourself Back Up

So, how is everyone doing?

Now we are 7/8 weeks into lockdown it is all starting to feel a bit more normal... well for me it is. I have got used to not being able to see my friends in the evenings, I am back to work and I am growing to like not having to go out every weekend to be social. But I do understand how some people are having an incredibly hard time adjusting to this new way of life and are isolated a lot more stricter than I am. I can truly say I would have been in the exact same boat if I wasn't at work and if I hadn't have made some changes to myself and my health when lockdown began...

I just want to say I completely understand we all live different lives and have different struggles. And I do know that "mental health" can be a really tricky subject to talk about simply because everyone is affected differently by different things. This is just my story on my mental health, and how I have helped myself through lockdown so please know that I am just here to story tell & give advice that may help you too - and know I am always a friend if you need me.

My Mental Health:

When lockdown began I had to isolate strictly for 3 weeks, this was my choice as my work didn't close but I knew it was something I had to do to keep my family safe as my step-dad is high risk. But boy let me tell you those 3 weeks were the most mentally draining, confusing, frustrating weeks I think I have ever had.

My mental health issues stem from a number of things, and shows up in a number of different ways but the most common feeling is anxiety, and what makes it worse is I am one of these people who obsessively overthink. Therefore, good old lockdown gave me plenty of reasons to feel anxious and plenty of time to overthink - lucky me.

Before lockdown I was constantly busy. You truly couldn't keep me still, I would be driving around with my bestfriend, down the pub with the girls, or at my boyfriends house all the time. But this was all because I felt like I needed distractions from my feelings and I couldn't bare my own company because that's when the anxiety and overthinking starts. So for me, the first struggle with lockdown was being forced to spend all this time by myself.

As I said the first 3 weeks were horrendous. My mood was extremely low constantly due to allowing myself to dwell on things that didn't even matter. I think I thought about every single possibility, every single mistake I've ever made, how many people liked me / didn't like me, the guilt for not doing anything and just wasting my time in bed - you name it, I dwelled on it. To the point where I would just feel like every single day was a battle, I wasn't being productive, I didn't want to talk and I just lost myself. I began to think that maybe this was just who I was - I had avoided this side of me for so long because I was constantly busy before lockdown. If I am being completely 100% with you I have felt this way a number of times in my life when things have been bad and you truly just want to give up.

3 weeks of isolation and I hit a wall & kinda of exploded - all my emotions flooded out of me and that's when I knew I needed to stop. Okay, it wasn't as easy as just "stopping" but I had a realisation. I am the only person who can make me happy, and the only person who can pick me up right now. I started to think about all the things I wanted in my life and how I wasn't going to have any of it if I carried on with the negative thoughts and dwelling on things out of my control. I needed to be the person to pick myself up this time and face my issues head on.

How I picked myself back up:

When I chose to not fight against myself anymore was when I started to truly understand who I am and what I want. These past 4 weeks haven't been easy AT ALL, I've struggled on days where I haven't felt productive enough and I have had to completely change my way of thinking. But looking at the bigger picture, I have only made 3 (pretty insignificant) changes that have made me so much happier.

Changing how I use social media - out of sight, out of mind.

I will forever be a social media junkie. I love being nosey, seeing into other peoples lives (especially strangers lol) and really enjoy how connected you can feel with others online. However, those first 3 weeks of lockdown I was truly consumed by social media - especially twitter and instagram.

Having to constantly scroll past the highlights of other peoples lives whilst I was moping around my house in my pjs, a messy bun and eating a share bag of crisps was seriously taking its toll on how I felt about myself and my life. Everyday was the same, an absolute rollercoaster of emotions that I noticed seems to dip every time I set foot on instagram as I then had a visual reason to not be happy about how I was living. And when it comes to twitter, I noticed how I was relating to how others were feeling which was generally very negative about this whole situation.

These negative thoughts were just consuming me, and as I said earlier I am an over thinker so these feelings would dwell and seem to drag over days & days. Thats when I deleted it. I let myself have a good week without twitter and instagram and I noticed such a shift in my mood. As I wasn't comparing myself visually to others, or reading their opinions constantly I just felt so much more at ease - the overthinking subsided and I felt like I had a clear head for the first time in ages.

This doesn't mean I won't ever download twitter or instagram again - don't get me wrong I now have them both back on my phone but I don't use them even 10% of what I used to. I really restrict myself to how long I spend scrolling. As well as this, if I see something that makes my mood immediately drop then that's when I know to come off the app straight away. I have learnt that I am so much happier not knowing what others think and not seeing what people are doing 24/7, I needed to take some time to focus on what I LIKE and what I am DOING. I also realised that I also don't need to share my life with everyone, as they say a private life is a happy life which has been my biggest lockdown lesson.

Getting outside - can I call myself a runner now?

So, another thing that lockdown has taught me is how much fitness and being outside can benefit your mental health. Before lockdown, I seriously hardly went outside. I know it sounds so unhealthy but I would walk the dogs with mum every now and again, but apart from that I would only go outside to walk to my car. No joke.

When I realised that my head was getting clearer due to not being on social media, I also noticed that I had a lot more spare time.. I decided one day that I wanted to see my best friend so I ran to hers - I was shocked that it was a full mile, and even more shocked that I didn't stop.

Thats when I got the running bug.

My neighbours probably wondered what had got into me, they probably felt like I never left the house normally and here I was leaving EVERYDAY for nearly an hour at a time. And I noticed such a change in my mental health straight away, by being alone and listening to music and really pushing myself even when I wanted to stop, it made me realise just how much I could push myself in everyday life. I was also setting myself little goals each time, e.g. running just a little longer, or a little faster. And the feeling once you do that is just amazing! Don't get me wrong, I am definitely no "runner" and I don't run far, but just having something else to do in my lockdown routine has really helped me not fall back into old habits.

Relating "running" to the law of attraction for a second - I know here I go again - but by doing something that makes you happy, and lifts your mood, you are releasing more positive frequencies out into the world. As I was so much happier when I came back from my runs, it made my evenings so much happier even though I was isolating and alone. And then my mornings were so much better and my days were so much more productive, so I truly think running has had this beneficial knock on effect for my mental health.

So, if you are thinking about starting running then DO IT you honestly have nothing to lose (apart from your breath lol).

YOU time - do things that make you happy.

My biggest lesson in lockdown is that I have realised that I am the only one living my life. What I do actually affects my emotions the most out of anyone, and I need to make myself happy because I want to be a happier person. Before lockdown I didn't have as much time to think about my actions, and I felt as though I needed to be busy and distracted, but in reality these past few weeks have taught me to enjoy my own company and do things that make me happy.

After lots of thinking I obviously took a break from social media, and started running but I didn't just stop there. Like I said previously, these positive changes made me happy which ultimately made my days better. And as soon as I realised the effect it had, I wanted to do more and more things to make myself feel happy...

Starting this blog has been one of the major things that I have wanted to do for quite possibly the past year, and due to COVID I have clearly had the time to make a start & it honestly has been the best thing I have done in a while. I also am taking more time out for myself; Sunday nights are my pamper nights but I spend a lot more time doing things that I like with no time limits e.g. taking loooong baths, fake tanning properly & not rushing it, I have taught myself how to do my acrylics. I also am spending more quality time with my friends and family (via FaceTime). None of us are distracted by the buzz of everyday life and we are having proper meaningful conversations and getting to know each other properly again. Lastly, I am actually putting together a vision board of everything I want from life so that I can continue manifesting my future, and it has actually been such an insight into what I want to achieve and accomplish from my life. It has also put new goals in place for me to strive for which is exciting.

Therefore, if you are struggling, really use this time in lockdown to focus on YOU and really focus on the things that make you happy - it honestly could be anything. By having happy thoughts and doing happy things you will ultimately have a happier day. And happier days turn into happier weeks.

It has taken me a very, very long time to understand that I am the only one in control of my happiness. And my biggest piece of advice to you is that you are the only person in control of your happiness. As soon as you start doing things for yourself, and removing bad habits and replacing them with good thoughts, activities and hobbies, you will see an immediate change on your mental health and your whole life.

I promise.

Love, Moll x

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