Updated: Mar 3
It's approaching a year since lockdown restrictions were first introduced and we have slowly adjusted to a routine of work, education, entertainment, exercise, shopping and social connection - all from home. Many of us would relish a change of scene right now. The UK has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions have made the world a much smaller place.
Those of us who have struggled with the limitations may be eager for the rules to be lifted. Perhaps you can't wait to meet up with family, friends and colleagues, dine out, date, shop in your local high street, attend university, be part of an audience, take classes, visit your library, play team sports, travel - whatever it may be.
But what if, over recent months, you've become accustomed to a lockdown lifestyle?
But what if the thought of mingling with others fills you with dread? What if, over recent months, you've become accustomed to a lockdown lifestyle? What if you've discovered that in many ways, a simpler, slower, smaller way of doing things actually rather suits you?
If the thought of returning to 'normal' is making you feel nervous - increased freedom of movement, returning to working outside the home and meeting people face-to-face - then allowing yourself a period of re-adjustment may be helpful. The same may apply if you're feeling anxious about safety.
It may be worth considering which aspects of lockdown have been of benefit to you and which of these you can realistically take forward.
We're not going to immediately return to how we were before the pandemic - there will still be restrictions in place. But if you're feeling any anxiety around the changes it may be worth considering which aspects of lockdown have been of benefit to you and which of these you can realistically take forward. Whether it's more you time, time with a significant other or immediate family, or time used for personal development. Perhaps you have preferred working from home or enjoyed having more time for interests and hobbies. Perhaps less time spent being busy with others has allowed you to be more yourself.
Perhaps less time spent being busy with others has allowed you to be more yourself.
Give a thought to how you may be able to take any helpful aspects of lockdown forward. You could make a list of what you have and haven't appreciated about lockdown to help you decide how you want life to be for you when restrictions begin to ease.
If you feel you are experiencing anxiety around this issue and are unable to manage, speak to your GP or you can self-
refer to NHS Talking Therapies online https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/free-therapy-or-counselling/
The mental health charity Mind may also be of help https://www.mind.org.uk/
Alternatively, you can seek an independent counsellor through BACP https://www.bacp.co.uk/search/Therapists
For help with urgent mental health issues, call 116 123 to talk to Samaritans or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for a reply within 24 hours. Or you can text SHOUT to 85258 to contact the Shout Crisis Text Line. If you're under 19, you can text YM to 85258 or call Childline on 0800 1111.
You may find the following links useful:
Updated: Mar 3
Are you wanting to see a counsellor and wondering how many sessions you will need? Will you be able to fit counselling into your schedule? Perhaps you're concerned that you will have to commit to a block of sessions. What if you have to pay for these in advance or to pay for absences? What if you're not sure that this is affordable for you right now?
These are all valid concerns, but they needn't deter you from seeking counselling help.
On making your initial enquiry, don't shy away from explaining your requirements. You can decide whether or not the counsellor's approach is right for you. And shop around - there's no need to settle for the first counsellor you find in your search.
Many counsellors offer a free or reduced-fee consultation, or first session. Short-term therapy as well as open-ended may be available and not all counsellors expect you to commit to a block of sessions. Appointments are usually weekly, but fortnightly sessions may be available, where appropriate. So, if this is your preference, make it known.
Money can be difficult to talk about, but if cost is a consideration, it's worth explaining your position from the start. If you're worrying about affording sessions once counselling begins this may affect your therapy. Remember: counsellors are used to discussing these issues and most will have a counselling agreement which will outline these matters for you.
So go ahead and take the first step to better emotional health - contact a counsellor. Remember, you can ask your GP about counselling and there are charities offering free or low-cost support. See the following link for more information: https://www.nhs.uk/.../stress.../mental-health-helplines/
Please note: Mary Pascall Counselling offers short-term and open-ended counselling and psychotherapy. For urgent help with mental health, see the following link: https://www.nhs.uk/.../where-to-get-urgent-help-for.../
Updated: Mar 3
Mid-way into the first month of the new year and many of us in the UK, and beyond, are wondering if 2020 is truly over.
Festivals, rites, traditions have been curtailed and subdued. No need for New Year's resolutions - climate change, Brexit, Black Lives Matter, the pandemic and its recurring lockdowns, division, isolation and loss have presented such overwhelming challenges that we question whether we have the capacity for more.
Let's not understate things - 2020 was a tough, sad, heart-wrenching year.
We have been challenged in ways we have not known previously. We have lost in ways we have not known previously. Let's not understate things - 2020 was a tough, sad, heart-wrenching year. So what can we do to take care of ourselves in the face of the uncertainty of 2021?
Pay attention: listen to your body and mind.
Maintain healthy habits and mutually supportive connections. If necessary and where possible, begin new ones.
Take a break from social media if it feels overwhelming.
Studying? What support is available during this time?
Parenting and home-schooling? Who can help? What can you put in place?
If you are concerned about your emotional/mental health, seek counselling support. Remember, online and telephone counselling is available during throughout lockdown.
For more information, take a look at he following links and take care.
Covid 19 guidelines