Young Healthwatch Westminster member, Rupert, gives his view and experience of the coronavirus outbreak
There has been a great deal of conversation regarding the importance of each of us taking care of our mental health during this global pandemic. And rightly so – this virus is deadly, highly contagious and can affect anybody of any age. There is concern for our own well-being, and that of our friends and family members too. Notwithstanding the virus itself, many of us face uncertainty over our jobs, businesses and general livelihoods.
With little (if anything) to do, we are confined to our homes for the foreseeable future. This means those anxieties mentioned, amongst many others, have the potential to chip away at our minds, and for those with pre-existing mental health problems – exacerbate them.
So, how do we do take care of ourselves? Well, you will be unsurprised to hear there is no single formula as various techniques work differently for each of us. Perhaps you already have your own methods of coping? However, by sharing how I am coping with the lockdown, hopefully you might be able to resonate with what I am saying and be encouraged to do something which benefits your health.
I speak as someone who has suffered terribly with anxiety and OCD for a number of years. However, in this period I have felt an immense sense of relaxation which I have not experienced in quite some time. Now, this is not to detract from how sinister this pandemic is, but rather I have found optimism and empowerment during such a difficult time for the world.
By using psychotherapy over previous months, I have learnt an incredible amount about myself. One of the things I have learnt is that I need a focus and long-term goals. Without this, I tend to stagnate and my mind tends to wonder. Therefore, I have been utilising my time so I can really get on top of things and work towards my goals. Perhaps you have a hobby or a skill that you wish to develop? Maybe you are looking for a new job/career? Now is the perfect time to work on those things.
Even if you do not have many hobbies or interests – that’s fine. Simply using this time to chill out, watch Netflix, and spend time with your family is still going to be beneficial to your long-term health. When you return back to work, you will do so re-charged and reinvigorated.
More generally, I believe that focusing on what makes you happy, whatever form that may take, is the best thing you can do for your mental health. So, I advise you to take a moment, sit back, and think about what makes you happy – then do it!
Are you young persona and you have a comment on this blog, or a question? We want to hear from you. To get in touch with Young Healthwatch Westminster, you can email Alex or message us on Instagram. You can also visit Healthwatch Central West London’s COVID-19 Coronavirus pages here