How to take care of your mental health in a second wave.

We’ve got this. As a second lockdown is upon us, let’s learn from experience and be proactive with our self-care. For better or worse, we’ve done this before. We’ve learned what didn’t work for us and what did ease that emotional stress. ‘There is no health without mental health. Now is the time for us to of course pay attention to Covid guidelines, but really focus and prioritise our mental health,’ says Dr Shimi Kang, a mental health expert and clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia.

We are all uncertain about what the next months may throw at us and this can make us spin out of control. Yet, there is plenty online, both surprising and expected, that may help you better manage your anxiety. ‘Self-care techniques and general lifestyle changes can help manage the symptoms of many mental health problems,’ says mental health charity Mind. ‘They may also help prevent some problems from developing or getting worse.’

Here are eight websites to help you stay buoyant in the months ahead when everything feels so very up in the air.

Workouts streamed live and on-demand: Peloton

Feel sluggish and emotionally exhausted? It has been well-documented how the endorphins, serotonin and norepinephrine released when you exercise makes you feel better and help you process emotions. Peloton, the at-home fitness subscription, flourished during lockdown and developed a cult-like status. The Peloton bike is a high-end indoor bike rigged with a Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen that streams live spinning classes that the rider can compete with other participants on the leader board. It’s mega, cult-like, some say but it’s also hog-whimperingly expensive with an upfront cost of £1,750. However, you can still get involved with Peloton without the bike; stream running, yoga, strength training and meditation classes and benefit from a month free trial of Peloton classes.

YouTube Art Class: Makoccino

Control the controllable and be in the moment. There’s so much out there that we can’t control, focus on artistic activities that you can do. For as long as we can remember, art therapy has been a recognised mental health practise to treat those who have experienced trauma, anxiety or depression. Practising art can help reduce stress and boost self-esteem. Buy an adult colouring book which can be therapeutic or look to artist Makoccino’s YouTube channel for short video tutorials on how to get creative with paint.

Healthy Cooking: Mindful Chef

Coronavirus has transformed the way many of us buy our food. We may feel reluctant to leave home unnecessarily or to stand in long supermarket queues. You know that cooking can be relaxing and that eating healthily will boost your spirits but when it all feels too much, menu planning and sourcing ingredients can overwhelm you. Recipe box sales surged under lockdown with farm-to-fork recipe box brand Mindful Chef seeing revenues soar by 300 per cent during the first lockdown period. The subscription service provides a weekly box containing two to five healthy recipes with pre-measured ingredients and recipe cards. The company believes in reducing sugar and refined carbs so you won’t find pasta, bread or white rice in their recipes.

Reliable News: WHO website

Checking news headlines every few minutes heightens the levels of anxiety and stress. Work out how to wean yourself off today’s overwhelming news by taking an online detox. Turn off notifications, apps and news outlets on your phone and at a specific time each day, seek out only one trusted news source such as the WHO (World Health Organisation). Want to read more? If you must explore other avenues, focus on the positive and hopeful stories about acts of kindness or about those who have recovered from troubled times. Celebrating the good can boost wellbeing.

Meditation online: Headspace

During the coronavirus, meditation apps spiked as users relied on online mindfulness meditations to help them focus on the here and now, rather than worrying about an uncertain future. Headspace is one of the longest-running and most popular meditation apps. It was founded in 2010 and now has over one million members meditate with them every week. To help those impacted by Covid-19, the Headspace app has set up a section called Weathering the Storm, which is free for everyone. It includes meditations, sleep, and movement exercises to help you out, however you’re feeling.

Videos to battle anxiety: NHS Every Mind Matters

‘If you’re feeling anxious, there’s a good chance you’re thinking things are more dangerous than they really are,’ explains Professor Paul Salkovskis, consultant clinical psychologist. The NHS Every mind Matters website offers tips and videos to help you deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control. Try the self-care Mind quiz which has been tailored for the coronavirus outbreak. Based on your answers, the site will give you six simple ideas to deal with your own challenges and coronavirus worries.

Craft Online: TikTok

You may not associate TikTok with self-care but wellness on the video-sharing social network has boomed over lockdown. Aside of practising choreographed dancing, Gen Z has been discovering craft inspirations from TikTok to help their lockdown anxiety. ‘I wouldn’t have considered making rugs if I hadn’t seen a 15 second TikTok showing how easy it is to start,’ says Ana Lesko who has since received tens of thousands of views on TikTok for her rug making. The trend for crafting, old-fashioned hobbies and making sustainable clothing has boomed over lockdown on TikTok. Sustainability is a hot topic on TikTok with the hashtag #sustainable having over 301 million views.

De-clutter digital course: Marie Kondo

Tidy space, tidy mind. Kondo has just launched a new 10-episode digital tidying course teaching her folding techniques and storage solutions. ‘We’re all mired in vague unarticulated anxiety right now,’ says the Japanese consultant. ‘And tidying provides you with a strong foundation to ask questions of yourself: What’s important to me right now? How do I want to live?’ As work and home spaces become blurred, it takes ruthless prioritising and tidying to make the space work. Rethink the use of your home in the pandemic as less clutter will create headspace and a sense of calm.

By Annabel Jack
October 2020


9 Aromatherapy Products To Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety
6 Apothecary Beauty Brands
Six Beauty Brands That Are Giving Back

Annabel Jack

Contributing Editor

Annabel is a regular contributor to The GWG, with a taste for finest in food, fashion and interiors.