Lockdown stress is something we’ve learned to live with. People in the UK are in their third national lockdown. However, it doesn’t mean that things are getting easier with time. On the contrary, more and more people report extreme anxiety, discomfort and frustration. The truth is that lockdown will never become a habit we can simply adopt. It is a considerable disruption of our lifestyles, social circles, and routines. It wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t find it stressful.
However, there’s more than one type of stress that we experience in prolonged self-isolation. If we’re going to learn how to handle lockdown anxiety, we need to recognise our triggers. Whether you are struggling with a particular situation or whether you are trying to help friends manage their cabin fever, it’s time to talk candidly and openly about the mental toll of lockdown.
Zoom is self-awareness torture
If you’ve been working at home during lockdown, you’re probably familiar with Zoom video calls, or any other video conferencing tools. Video calls are a practical replacement to face-to-face interactions, except that you find yourself spending a lot of time staring at your own face. According to a study, the majority of people will report face flaws and deformation after looking at a mirror for only 1 minute. With most video calls lasting between 30 and 60 minutes, it’s easy to see how it can affect our self-esteem. Do I really look like that? Cosmetic clinics have recorded a surge in demand after the first lockdown. Yet, before you plan your first appointment, you want to spend time watching informative videos about cosmetic surgery. This could avoid many ill-founded decisions and fears! Besides, it can also help you understand whether a cosmetic approach is right for you.
Alone with my thoughts
Lockdown encourages introspection. But with more time on our hands, we can rapidly fall into a trap of negativity. Finding more time to think is not always a good thing, especially if you are already struggling with loneliness. If you know a friend who lives alone, now’s a great time to reach out and offer a listening ear. Sometimes, all one needs is to let off steam before it gets out of control. The combination of social isolation and lockdown restrictions can increase the risk of depression. Therefore, it’s crucial to build a solid network of friends with whom you can interact regularly.
The inevitable cabin fever
Psychologist Sue Firth describes cabin fever as the feeling that’s associated with being stuck inside the same place for an extended period of time. You can feel yourself going stir crazy as you experience a variety of emotions in response to the situation. Irritability, uncontrollable cravings, anger, lethargy, and impatience are some of the most common symptoms. Cabin fever is a mixture of claustrophobic sensations and tiredness of the same environment. There are many coping strategies, such as moving furniture around, redecorating, or embracing new entertaining hobbies. It’s not something you can ignore, as in the long term it can create a terrain for severe mental health issues.
For a lot of people, 2020 feels like a year that’s been lost to the pandemic. It can be disheartening to start the new year in lockdown, as you worry about the pandemic stealing another year from you. However, if we are going to move forward and put lockdown anxiety behind us, we need to acknowledge our emotions and fears. Learning to cope is the first step to heal ourselves.