As many of us may have been aware, it was recently Mental Health Awareness Week. The lockdown hasn’t been easy for any of us and it has got me thinking and reflecting on how it has certainly affected my mental health.
It has definitely taken some getting used to – the lockdown and associated measures – and it has been a difficult time for many of us. For those of us who have lost loved ones, it has been even more agonising. For all those who have lost people to this epidemic, you are in our thoughts. We know that this must be an upsetting time. Even for those of us who haven’t lost loved ones during this period, there is still much that is capable of causing great anxiety. Many of us are trying to adjust to working from home or being furloughed. The loss of human contact and otherwise normal interactions with our friends and colleagues a rude shock to the system. For so many, worries about our financial and job security may be ever present on our minds. Every one of us, I suspect, is finding it difficult on some level, particularly the necessary limitation of movement and inability to see our loved ones.
Looking at things from a slightly different perspective though, perhaps there are reasons to be hopeful and optimistic about some of the unforeseen consequences of the lockdown. Maybe it has helped us to recognise the interdependence we have, not only on our friends and family, but also with and within society as a whole. Perchance it has encouraged us to get to know our neighbours a little better and to help revitalise our local community spirits. It is even possible that it will help us to prioritise what is important to us and to encourage us to always give our loved ones the best gift of all – our time and attention. Many of us may be thinking more about the environment – reconsidering the way we travel, re-evaluating our ways and seeking more environmentally friendly alternatives to reduce waste and pollution, affording us the luxury and opportunity to enjoy and protect the environment that is all around us.
If through all the reflection and thoughtfulness provoked by the current situation, we are able to share more quality time and a better environment with our loves ones, to change our ways and pursue healthier lifestyles, then I think there is definitely a reason to smile; and a smile will almost always certainly improve our mental health.