England is now three weeks into the third national lockdown of the Covid-19 pandemic, and while many are lucky enough to be able to work this time around, many others cannot, and many are finding it a struggle mentally. This lockdown in particular is difficult.
In the first lockdown last Spring, the days were longer, and it was warmer. People at least could spend time in the garden or local park, without freezing, and as such managed to get vital vitamin D.
In the second lockdown, in November and early December, there wasn't the restrictions on the clinically vulnerable, schools were open, and generally the weather was favourable.
But this time, in the darkness and cold of a January winter, it's different. For many the added stresses of financial reserves now running low add to the mental health struggles facing us all. And not only that, we now have more contagious variants of the virus, which means there is no current clear end to it all in sight. In addition the news that 100,000 people are confirmed as dying within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test in the UK, and grief becomes a major issue.
Our main hope is the vaccination programme. Please remember though, even after vaccination, you still have to follow the lockdown rules in place where you live.
For current restrictions where you live in the British Isles, click where you are:
So what can you do about it? In the autumn, an organisation called Believe Perform which is aimed at athletes and their mental health, published an excellent infographic on social media "A Mental Health Guide to Coping with Lockdown in the Winter":
We would be interested if you have used any of the measures on here, and also if you have any of your own measures that you are using to help you through this winter lockdown.
Share them with us, and we will add them to this blog post - anonymously if you wish. They may help others too.
One that I use to boost my mental health is to sit down upright but relaxed. Breathe in slowly for 4 seconds. Breathe out slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat for ten minutes (or as long as helps you). Do this daily.
In the meantime, if you are struggling, the following organisations are there to help you. Don't suffer in silence.
Telephone 116 123
Telephone 0300 123 3393
Telephone 0808 808 1677
Papyrus Suicide Prevention in Young People
Telephone 0800 068 4141
National Domestic Abuse helpline
Telephone 0808 2000 247
National Centre for Domestic Violence
Telephone 0207 186 8270
Respect - Men's advice line
Telephone 0808 801 0327 (Mon-Fri)
Telephone 0808 168 9111
NHS North West Boroughs Healthcare Foundation Trust 24/7 mental health crisis line for people of all ages in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington:
Call 01925 275 309 anytime.
Mental health advice for the self-employed (FSB / Mental Health at Work)
Download as a printable poster useful support numbers and web sites: