How Another Lockdown Would Impact Mental Health
Another year, another lockdown? Unfortunately, the term lockdown is starting to act as a PTSD trigger for many people after the impacts of the last three waves. The first wave of lockdown saw a vast increase in people suffering from mental health issues. The second and third waves saw further increases each time it happened, so let's talk about it.
Since we have been living in a pandemic for two years now, it is essential to highlight the impact another lockdown would have. Lockdown one brought many reports of increased mental health, stress, and worry amongst the UK and the world. For example, a report after the first lockdown showed that 69% of UK adults expressed concern about the effect COVID-19 is having on their lives.
What Happened in Lockdown One?
It was a shock to the system for all of us. Everything that you knew in your daily life got removed—no more commuting to work or going to the gym. No more shopping, eating out or going to school, nothing. It is impossible to feel normal when you wake up one day, and the world stops.
But why did the loss of these factors cause such a downward spiral in mental health? Well, let's break it down.
The lack of routine in everyone's lives saw a rapid increase in lack of energy (38%), sleep disturbances (36%) and anxiety (43%). Believe it or not, not moving around a lot during the day can make you feel less energised. Moreover, people were only allowed outside to exercise for one hour every day, then back inside sitting down for the rest. Which, after weeks and months on end, becomes very demotivating.
After having three already, another lockdown would cause the most fatigue as everyone is getting tired of the whole situation as a nation. Furthermore, there's only so many times you can force people to stay locked inside until severe mental health implications arise. Unfortunately, it only took one lockdown to see this, and every time another lockdown starts, it worsens it even more.
Job and Financial Loss
The pandemic outbreak caused 114 million people to lose their jobs, with a further 33% worrying that they would be next. This factor alone caused extreme levels of stress and anxiety, as people with children to feed and rent to pay were losing their source of income.
On top of that, one in five people were experiencing suicidal thoughts. Again, this stemmed from levels of fear and stress. Another lockdown would relight this worry and stress, which would see anxiety and stress levels increase once again. Similarly, having felt like that in past lockdowns, another lockdown could trigger PTSD and bring back all the emotions they felt.
Loss of Coping Mechanisms
Any habitual routines that people created to help deal with stress were gone. So, how does one cope with that? Sure, some people met outdoors to exercise together, but they had vulnerable families who did not leave their homes for most.
Those who liked going to the gym resulted in in-home workouts where most people don't own gym equipment. Those who enjoyed meeting up for coffee had to settle who takeaway options as you couldn't sit inside anywhere. Additionally, it led to the postponing of sporting and leisure activities until further notice. Another lockdown could see more closures of your favourite cafes and lunch spots, as businesses can't survive. The permanent loss of your coping mechanism starts a whole host of mental struggles.
How can you ask people to live their everyday lives whilst taking away everything about the daily routine and everything they enjoy? Cases of depression and anxiety drop a significant amount once lockdown starts lifting, but another lockdown stops and starts this process. People start getting their lives back, and then when they begin to feel better, another lockdown comes along and sets them back to square one.
What Would Happen If Another Lockdown Started Now?
As stated, the first lockdown caused massive increases in mental health cases, which did not go away once the lockdown eased. It has been two years of jumping in and out of lockdowns. Each time an announcement for lockdown occurs, a more significant percentage of people go in with preexisting mental health issues. From previous lockdowns, they are still suffering as their progress stops.
Who Was Affected?
Arguably, every person on the planet has been affected by the pandemic. But with a focus on mental health, who has been affected the most? Studies show that children and young adults saw more impact from the pandemic than older adults and that many are still working through those effects.
Why Were Young Adults Affected The Most?
Two out of three students feel that they learn less due to closed schools, colleges, and universities. Classes resorted to online teaching for about a year, and even now, most universities still have 'blended' learning of a mix of face-to-face and online learning. This caused stress for many students as they paid to be at university and didn't feel they received their monies worth. In addition, libraries were closed with limited access to resources, but they still ended up with the same amount of debt in the end.
There is also the anxiety of many students now having a degree in a field with no jobs required due to COVID-19, so they feel like they have no future. Every time another lockdown starts, the number of students stressed for their future increases.
As a result of the pandemic, two out of three young people's mental health has been affected. For example, they have been affected by anxiety or depression. At the start of lockdown, one in March 2020, one in ten people reported feeling lonely. However, as of February 2021, reports changed to one in four during the third lockdown wave. This shows us that people suffer more every time the government enforces another lockdown.
Another year, Hopefully Not Another Lockdown.
The last two years have been hard on us all. Whilst the pandemic is not over yet, we hope to avoid another lockdown and keep moving forward. Rebuilding your mental health is challenging, but we want to show that you are not alone in your journey. We have a lot of support methods in place to help you heal from the stress of the pandemic.
In the unfortunate event, another lockdown occurs, we are here to support and guide you through those times too. But hopefully, it won't come to that for the fourth time.
It's a new year, so take charge of healing yourself and making the most out of 2022.
Written By Guest Writer
Is The Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Our Mental Health?
Yes, it is. The prominent psychological increase is stress or anxiety. Other impacts have been depression, loneliness, substance abuse and suicidal behaviour.
What Can I Do To Cope With The Effects Of COVID-19 Quarantine?
Physical activity and relaxation are great. WHO highly recommends one hundred fifty minutes of moderate exercise per week.
How Can I Cope With Change and Uncertainty During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Focus on the short term—Acknowledge how you are feeling. Recognise your achievements and find something that you enjoy to keep you busy.
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