OVER 30% of people in Britain feel that their mental health is significantly worse than it was five years ago according to new research.
The survey, carried out by mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS in January 2020, found that a significant number of people in Britain were facing severe mental health challenges, before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Furthermore, 36% of Britons say that their mental health has continued to decline unchecked for many years.
The findings come at a time when people are confronted with news bulletins about rapidly rising death tolls and there are rising concerns about the indefinite nature of social distancing and self-isolation policies, especially for young people and the elderly.
Mental health campaigners say the current lockdown has the potential to leave millions of Britons battling with severe mental health consequences as a result of loneliness and lack of support, as the health of friends and family members declines around them.
Anxiety and depression
And they say anxiety and depression play a significant role in weakening the immune system, which is a serious point of concern as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the launch of Stress Awareness Month on April 1 at what is undoubtedly a stressful time in the country Gerard Barnes, CEO of mental health treatment specialists Smart TMS said: “Stress Awareness Month arguably could not have come at a more appropriate time this year.
Effects of severe stress
“Millions of people across the UK are currently dealing with the effects of severe stress brought about by extended periods of lockdown, loneliness, and the prospect of losing their jobs and livelihoods, not to mention the potential of losing close friends and family to COVID-19.
“The month represents an opportunity for the country to focus on the importance of maintaining our mental wellbeing and observing stress-reducing practices, to ensure that we are able to cope with the fallout of Coronavirus and the resulting mental health impact.”
Key tips to help you protect your mental wellbeing in the midst of circumstances surrounding COVID-19:
Here are some tips from Smart TMS mental health treatment practitioners, which will help you to identify and follow the necessary precautions to protect one’s mental and physical wellbeing given the circumstances surrounding the spread of COVID-19:
Embrace technology to stay connected
Staying in touch with your loved ones through social media, video calling or messaging is more valuable than ever.
Not being in close proximity to people can have a significantly negative impact on your mood and energy levels, and it is therefore imperative that you maintain regular contact with loved ones to make it easier to deal with these stressful and lonely times.
While it is tougher than normal to stay active at the moment as a result of the Coronavirus lockdown, remaining active and engaging in regular exercise is vital for reducing stress levels.
Whilst it is impossible to go to a gym and inadvisable to exercise in a public space, the government has also announced that outdoor exercise is permissible once a day, given that you maintain appropriate distance from others.
There are also a wide variety of follow-along exercises on platforms such as YouTube and Instagram for those of all fitness levels.
Exercise is one of the best ways to fight symptoms of mental health problems, and people who are less physically active are more at risk of anxiety and depression.
Maintain a good routine
Having a solid, reliable routine works wonders for mental wellbeing and stress reduction, as it provides you with a method of identifying goals and tasks you want to complete, and prioritising the things you care about the most.
For those in self-isolation and working from home, being unable to engage in regular outdoor activities or even losing your commute to work can really disrupt one’s routine, sleeping patterns and productivity.
Making sure you maintain a good sleeping schedule, and writing down tasks you want to accomplish during the day, for example, will keep you feeling productive and satisfied.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Make sure to think about your diet carefully – this is vital to both your physical and mental health.
If your regular routine changes or you are less active than usual, your mood and energy levels are almost certain to be affected.
Be sure to eat healthily and drink enough water to ensure your body is in its best condition; this will help you to maintain a healthy immune system, and will also support your cognitive function, helping you to make better decisions, think clearly and feel better.