Image credit: Nice and Graphic

More than half of adults and over two thirds of young people said that their mental health has gotten worse during the period of lockdown restrictions. Now that lockdown measures are starting to ease, we are considering venturing outside, socialising and doing ‘normal’ activities again – but are we ready? We’ve compiled some useful tips for a gentle transition back outdoors while prioritising our mental and physical health. 

  1. Keep up your hobby If you’ve used the extra time at home to pick up a new hobby, don’t let it slip as your social calendar gets busy again. Allow yourself to enjoy new found activities – they can have a positive impact on our mental health as we learn to cope with the new normal.
  2. Continue to take precautions Don’t forget that the pandemic isn’t over. It’s important to remember that we still have to be careful even with a bit more freedom. The rules are changing all the time so keep yourself informed.
  3. It’s OK to say no We may not have been able to do everything we’d like to for a long time, but don’t overwhelm yourself by saying yes to every invite, or the chances are you’ll burnout.
  4. Book a haircut At long last our neglected barnets can get a spring clean of their own. Something as simple as a haircut can help us feel refreshed and ready to venture out again.
  5. Hang on to the ‘me’ time Time for yourself may have increased over the last year as other pressures on your diary have disappeared, but it may also have disappeared completely if you’ve had additional caring responsibilities. As we try to make sense of our new normal, try to make sure you give yourself what you need in order to look after others.
  6. Don’t ditch Joe Wicks Even a small amount of exercise can boost mood and is a well known way of managing common mental health problems, such as low mood and anxiety. if you’ve found that regular exercise has made an appearance in your lockdown routine, don’t give it up.
  7. Be honest For most of us, our lives have been turned upside down for the last year. If you’re feeling anxious about going back to ‘normal’, you are not alone. Be honest with how you are feeling about social interaction with those around and don’t be pressured into doing anything you don’t want to do.
  8. Take your time Your office may be opening again for the first time in a year and you might be feeling like you want to ease yourself into going back full time. Talk to your line manager about how you feel about returning to the office and what the plans and options are so you know what to expect. 
  9. Keep in touch Moving our lives onto Zoom may have meant you’ve been in touch with distant friends and relatives you don’t see that often. Consider the reconnections you’ve enjoyed and keep them up even when you can see people in the flesh once more.
  10. Budget Lockdown rules may have encouraged us to spend less than usual, but you may also be struggling financially as a result of the pandemic. Going out again gives us reasons to spend again so keep an eye on what you can afford. Turn2Us and Step Change have lots of resources to help you set your budget and assess your spending. 
  11. Use your commute If you’ve been working from home you might be enjoying the extra time you no longer spend on the train. If you’re going back to work, see if you can use your commute for doing some good for you – whether that’s reading a book, listening to a podcast, or maybe even doing some exercise along the way…
  12. Treat yourself Take pleasure from the little things you can enjoy again like meeting a friend for a coffee or browsing your favourite shop. We’ve all probably experienced some tough times over the last year so it’s alright to give yourself a treat.

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