The Coronavirus crisis has forced a lot of people to come face to face with their own mental health issues. Lockdowns, social distancing, lack of contact with friends, loss of work, furlough schemes, fear of falling sick, confusion and uncertainty about what is safe for you, your children, your parents, your family, is enough to drive anyone to despair. But we urge you, DON’T PANIC!
Each and every one of us is dealing with our own unique and individual set of circumstances, but together we can rise to the challenge. Even if ‘together’ nowadays may mean a zoom call or a socially distanced chat with Ben, Jamie or Danny behind the desk in reception at your local Attic Self Storage facility.
The first thing to accept is that feeling down, blue, panicky, empty, uncertain, anxious, angry, confused, or just totally and utterly numb, is a perfectly normal way to react to the strange and disturbing times that we are all living through.
We humans tend to thrive most when we have regular contact and interaction with one another. The fact that Covid-19 is forcing us all to stay 2 metres* away from everyone else, including our dearest loved ones, is enough to test the wellbeing and resilience of the most balanced individuals in our society.
*Attic can provide clean and safe storage units from 1 metre upwards, depending on how far apart you want to keep your wipe-clean boxes.
It’s healthy to try and stay in touch with your friends, family and the wider wwworld by using the amazing array of technology that lies at all our fingertips: phone, text, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or good old-fashioned pen, paper and carrier pigeon.
Talking about your feelings – good or bad – is a great way to process and deal with them. And when you open up to people, even if it’s a complete stranger in the queue at the Post Office, you’ll often find that they can empathise and understand where you’re coming from because they’ve been there too.
We have so much more in common with one another than things that separate us.
This Too Shall Pass
Whether you’re feeling up, energised and confident or down, exhausted and depressed, the thing to remind yourself is that our emotions, like clouds in the sky, are continually forming, shifting and metamorphosing as the circumstances of our lives change. The only constant is change, as they say.
If you’re feeling on top of the world today, you could well be feeling down in the dumps in a month’s time. Especially if Tier 2 becomes Tier 3 and London ends up in another lockdown.
If you’ve hit rock bottom at the moment, just hold on, because sure enough, the situation you’re in and the mood you’re feeling will undoubtedly change to something more positive if you just have faith in yourself. You, I and humanity in general are a lot more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.
Pains & Gains
It may be a fallacy, but it seems logical somehow that the more emotional pain you feel at the low points in your life, the more capacity you’ll develop to burst with joy when the good times come around.
You remember good times? Before 2020 got started with all its nonsense. Good times like family get togethers, birthday parties, playing footsie with a kitten, starting a family, getting a new job, or decluttering your spare room by shifting all your old gymkhana cups, netball medals, and winner’s shields into your very own trophy cabinet (not included) at Attic Self Storage in East, North, West or Central London.
It’s Good To Talk
We’re not necessarily talking about anything that involves long NHS waiting lists or spending money to go private. You can start by talking to your nearest and dearest. If you don’t have friends or family that you can chat through your issues with, don’t bottle things up (or hit the bottle). There are plenty of helplines and advice services available if you are having a serious crisis:
You can remain anonymous with most of these services and receive practical advice about coping strategies, drop in services and how to start a conversation with your local mental health service. As always, the first port of call if your mood is getting out of hand, or you find yourself unable to get out of bed, is to book an appointment (or online consultation) with your local GP.
The truth is Covid-19 has changed the world in fundamental ways. It’s not surprising that the experts are warning that the country is facing a mental health crisis – more and more people are living in fear, suffering from enforced social isolation and shrinking support networks. Depression, suicide, and anti-depressant usage are all on the increase.
BUT people are learning to be kinder and more honest about how the lockdown, tiered or otherwise, has affected their ability to live a normal life, whatever ‘normal’ actually means.
Help Yourself To A Better You
Take care of yourself. A recent tweet from Everyday Mindfulness summed it up:
“Give yourself a break. Life isn’t easy, especially now. It’s okay to be human, to feel all the emotions that come with difficult moments, like these. Breathe and let go of the judgements and high expectations and just be as you are”.
Don’t overdo the social media either. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole with FaceBook, YouTube and (if you’re under 30) TikTok. Switch off your phone, walk away from online confrontations, don’t spend every single night buried up to the eyeballs in Netflix, Popcorn and pizza.
Try reading a decent book, getting a dog and taking it for a long walk down by the river, or inviting your household or support bubble together for a game of Twister, a month long Monopoly challenge (“build build build more hotels!”) or an intense, thought-provoking discussion about the meaning of life, love and UFOs.
Mother Nature’s Natural Medicine
Shooting zombies in virtual reality or scoring goals against Brazil on PlayStation may provide some temporary stress relief but getting off your backside and getting out into nature is a great way of calming the mind and nurturing the soul. Just like our own moods, the leaves are constantly changing colour at this time of year – from green to russet and on through burgundy to brown. It’s all ‘seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ out there at the moment.
Attic’s Top Ten Tips For Tip Top Mental Health
1/Talking. 2/Walking. 3/Reading. 4/Writing. 5/Exercising. 6/Swimming. 7/Dancing. 8/Painting/Drawing. 9/Laughing. 10/Singing.
Oh, and we forgot to mention Volunteering. If you want to improve your own feelings of validity, viability and worthfulness, try doing something for someone you don’t know. Volunteering, even if it’s just making weekly befriender calls for your local Mental Health Trust, is good for everyone. It’s a great way to take yourself out of yourself and into a whole new world of experience and community support. It’s hard to ruminate too much on your own problems when you’re refereeing a muddy rugby game between two teams of super competitive 13-year-olds.
Of course, the motivation behind writing this blog isn’t all about pure altruism. We have a vested interested in seeing the people of London survive and thrive in the coming months and years. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a capital city of mentally healthy humans to improve Attic’s chances of continuing to run a successful self storage business.
Please take care of yourselves everybody. We’re here if there’s any advice we can offer. We’ll leave you with one of those galvanizing three-word slogans that seem to be so popular these days:
Be passionate! Be compassionate! Be kind!