As restrictions come back into force, and a second lockdown is on the cards, we reached out to Happiful readers to find out how they are feeling in the wake of the latest Covid-19 announcements
It was something that many of us were beginning to suspect would be the case, but when PM Boris Johnson made a speech on 22 September outlining the changes in the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it brought back a wave of emotions.
For some, there may have been anger and frustration, for others anxiety and confusion.
But whatever you may be feeling, one thing’s for sure, you’re not alone. We reached out to the Happiful community to get a sense of how our readers were responding to the latest news. From the things that they’re worried about, to the practical tips that have already been helping them through the challenges we’ve faced in 2020, there is comfort to be found and lessons to be learned in sharing.
Elaine Batho: Boris’ briefing brought back forgotten emotions
At the beginning of lockdown, I felt safer to be at home. I just got on with it as there was nothing I could do about the situation, I accepted it. But as the restrictions eased I found it tough. I remember distinctly, one day out walking I stroked a passing dog, I realised that it was the first living thing I had touched in 10 weeks.
Watching Boris' briefing brought back a lot of the long-forgotten emotions of the first lockdown. I’ve observed myself being far needier of others, and I've noticed my emotions are more heightened too.
To help, I have a list of daily non-negotiables that I follow, which keep me feeling well, such as meditation, drinking plenty of water and exercising as a few examples. I increase or decrease these rituals as needed.
I've also been using (and sharing with my clients my CALM formula over the past few months. CALM is a mental tool to learn to stay calm in the chaos. It takes a bit of practice but it really does work on any challenging situation, especially lockdown. It focuses on these four principles:
- Control what you can control, let go of what you can't.
- Accept the situation and adapt to it. Holding on resisting will make the situation far more uncomfortable.
- Learn. Ask yourself what is this situation teaching me? How can I grow from this experience?
- Mindset is everything. Choose to think in ways that are helpful not hindering you. Such as appreciation over annoyance as an example.
Kate Tynan: It’s important to remember to take time for yourself
The news that we might go into another lockdown is obviously not great, and it has made me very worried for my mental and physical health. We have just recovered from Covid-19 as a family, and having to stay indoors and not leave the house for 14 days has been really, really hard.
I am self-employed and run a wedding cake company, Little Button Bakery. My business sector has basically been told the likelihood of any work for the next six months is slim, with weddings now being restricted to just 15 guests. I personally have not had a wedding since March, and all of my bookings have now postponed or cancelled to next March, with the likelihood that cancellations will come even further than that. It is certainly a very worrying time. As long as my children are able to stay in school, I will hopefully be able to pivot the business.
I am also 42 years old so, hormonally, I think I am beginning to go through some pre-menopausal changes. I have had some recent battles with feeling low and depressed even before Covid-19 but, initially, it definitely made things worse. A sense of feeling useless and not knowing which way to turn. Worrying about my family, Covid-19, my business, and money.
I think the most important thing in all of this, is to remember to take a bit of time for yourself every day. I've tried to go for a walk, get out on my bike, listen to a podcast, read a book, do some exercise – basically anything to take my focus away from negatives and try to 'just be'. Also, I've started making lists. I find when everything is inside my brain, it feels like I am just going round and round in circles and it makes me more stressed, but if I write it down, it's out of my head and I can come back to it later knowing it won't be forgotten in the whirlwind of my mind.
Bryony Nicholas: I’m struggling for something to look forward to
I was very cautious when things started opening up again and went back to 'normal' quite slowly – so I feel like I had only just started to get back to doing things like going to a restaurant and now it's not safe again. Deflated and frustrated definitely sums it up.
I feel like I can't plan anything for the future in case it can't go ahead and I find myself struggling for something to look forward to. I am extremely lucky to be able to work from home, and I work as a mental health practitioner so I know my job is fairly secure, and I'm grateful for that. But also, the job is really hard and I'm feeling the burnout now. I also don't live with my partner and so every time he goes home I think this may be the last time I see him in weeks.
At the same time, I realise these restrictions are necessary but also maybe wouldn't have been necessary if the government had just been competent in the first place.
Mandy Edwards: We need to have patience
New rules need to happen as its spreading again due to complacency. I don't think a full lockdown will happen. If everyone just does what they need to do and is considerate and respectful, there should be no need for lockdown. I think patience and faith are required. There are plenty of things people can occupy themselves with. Do online courses, join networking zooms, read books, create their own social groups online. There is so much at people's fingertips.
Tom Bourlet: We’ll be better prepared second time around
I see a second lockdown as inevitable, and a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’. The first lockdown was really difficult as it was such a shock – not being able to see relatives or friends and being closed in all day – but I think we’ll all be much more used to it on the second time around.
We’ve all adopted new technologies and have zoom set up on our laptops, while we’ve also learned how to work remotely. My company, Stag Company management, were contemplating bringing back members of the team over the next few weeks, but this has completely changed our plans, with it looking realistic our whole team will be working from home for the foreseeable future.
I sprained my ankle pretty badly, so I haven’t been able to leave the house in the past two weeks, so it will be gutting if I don’t get to enjoy anything by the time I’m recovered, but I’m relieved that I moved house in June to a house with a garden from a flat, so I don’t feel as trapped as before.
Hayley Grainger: I've learnt a lot of reilience skills
As someone diagnosed with depression, anxiety and anorexia, I have a real mix of emotions.
There are many positives that will support my mental health: the knowledge that the Government are taking the necessary precautions, knowing that I have survived the first lockdown and learnt a lot of resilience skills along the way, as well as feeling safe in my own 'bubble'.
However, the impact of lockdown has had a detrimental impact on my recovery from anorexia. Prior to lockdown, I was receiving intensive day support 8 AM until 3 PM where I was having meal support and therapeutic sessions with other clients.
Due to the restrictions (and no fault to anyone), the service was forced to close and phone appointments were scheduled instead. This unfortunately led to me revert back to anorexic behaviours. I was able to exercise (as freely as restrictions could allow), eat less (as I had no one checking in on me), and listen to the controlling manipulations of my eating disorder. It also became a time of constant anxiety as I was worried that I would be unable to get hold of my 'safe foods'.
Consequently, I was unable to maintain the expected weekly weight gain which led to me being discharged from the service with the only other option being an inpatient stay.
I am now awaiting the availability of a bed. With the looming knowledge of a further lockdown, I am even more terrified about the prospect of a hospital admission as (rightfully so) I will not be allowed any visitors.
The idea of lockdown is a scary concept but I understand that it is necessary to support the vulnerable and those at great risk.
Find out more about the latest Covid-19 rules by visiting the Government website.