For those living with anxiety, depression or other mental health difficulties, the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown brings added challenges.
Our normal strategies for looking after our wellbeing, such as regular contact with family and friends, routine, keeping busy or exercise may have been restricted or disrupted.
Worry can become heightened if you have an underlying diagnosis, are already going through medical treatment, are away from your friends, aren’t out to the people you live with or live alone. On top of that, many of us are experiencing uncertainty about finances, job security, health or the safety of loved ones.
In a recent survey by LGBT Foundation, more than one in three of people (37%) reported that they were concerned that this crisis was worsening their mental wellbeing. This survey is still open, please share your experiences.
Mental health and wellbeing are important for everyone, and are particularly under pressure right now.
There are many methods to help you support your wellbeing. Here are seven ways that we have found helpful here at Stonewall.
1. Eat well.
2. Get active.
These ideas for exercise during lockdown from Sport England are fun, adaptable to all levels and useful at time when many of us are unable to get out as much as we would like.
Be aware of your breathing. Mindful techniques and meditation can help you feel centred and reduce worry. You can watch an introduction to mindfulness, read about the habits of mindful people, or simply reflect on the benefits of a good walk.
4. Learn new skills.
Even if you can’t travel far at the moment, you can still expand your mind. FutureLearn has free online courses that cover everything from topics of interest to job-specific skills. This is a chance to dedicate time to yourself and to focus on the things which will nourish you.
Stay in contact with others socially, as well as to give and get support. You can also find groups on What’s in my area and on Meetup. Many of these groups are running online services, social activities and meetings during lockdown. Many of us look forward to feeling part of a community at Pride events over the summer. While physical events won’t be taking place this year, digital Prides are. Follow Stonewall on social media for the latest information to help you celebrate Pride.
6. Help others.
This can provide a sense of pride and connection. Volunteer opportunities can often be found on specific organisations’ websites and spaces such as Do.it.org. There are volunteer opportunities for LGBT-specific organisations too or ways to help as part of a COVID-19 mutual aid group in your local area. Choose an organisation you feel passionately about, get involved and give back.
7. Seek support from professionals.
These organisations are here to help you and ready to listen, however you are feeling. If you still have questions, please get in touch with the Information Service. We’re here to help with any issues affecting LGBT people or their families. Whatever your situation, you’re not on your own. We’ll do what we can to help or point you in the right direction of someone who can.