THE CORONAVIRUS pandemic is impacting all of our lives and a second national lockdown means more time at home and less time with friends and family.
This can have a huge impact on the way we feel and can be detrimental to our mental health.
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The first nationwide lockdown was a shock to the system for many people, we had to stay inside and many people were unable to visit their loved ones or go to work.
On top of this many people battled the virus or lost loved ones to the bug.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, director of health protection at Public Health England (PHE), today said that the spring lockdown caused a rise in mental distress, with reports up eight per cent compared with the same period in previous years.
PHE has just launched its Every Mind Matters campaign which stated that more than 30 per cent of adults reported mental distress – suggesting they might need treatment.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme she highlighted that it's important people get help if they are experiencing mental health issues.
If left untreated, mental health problems can spiral out of control and can leave those affected feeling helpless.
That is why The Sun previously launched the You're Not Alone campaign – to remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there's nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.
According to mental health charity Mind, anxiety is when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future.
While it is a natural human response to situations such as a second national lockdown – there are ways you can ease it.
1. You feel isolated
Going into a second lockdown is a huge worry for the nation and it's easy to bottle up those feelings and many people might feel that they are on their own when it comes to feeling of anxiety.
Talking to a family member, friend or someone you trust could be the key to easing your feeling of anxiety.
LloydsPharmacy Pharmacist Anshu Kaura said that many people will be experiencing changes to their every day lives which have been ingrained in them for years.
She said creating a routine during lockdown is key and said this could include making sure you make time to talk to friends and family.
Mind also states: "Talking to someone you trust about what's making you anxious could be a relief.
"It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care can help in itself.
"If you aren't able to open up to someone close to you, the Samaritans and Anxiety UK both run helplines that you can call to talk to someone."
2. No motivation
A study conducted by Pharmacy2U recently found that eight per cent of adults say they feel stressed several times a day and two-thirds are experiencing anxiety.
Phil Day, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmacy2U said that daily activities such as walking to the supermarket could bring on feelings of anxiety – with many people now being advised to stay at home.
He said: "It is possible to address these feelings by adopting some simple changes that can ensure our lives are less stressful.
"For instance, increasing your level of physical activity can restore your mind to a more relaxed state."
Mind states that exercise is also important for your mental well-being and that incorporating this into your daily routine can help ease anxiety.
While gyms are closed in the second lockdown, you are able to go outside for activity and there are plenty of resources available online to help keep you motivated during this time.
3. Struggling with food
Pharmacist, Sultan Dajani said that what we eat can have an impact on our mood and the way we feel.
He said: "When we aren’t feeling quite ourselves, we may be more inclined to reach for comfort food or high sugar food like chocolate.
"This may make us feel better for a nano second but will unlikely help us in the long term.
"Having a healthy balanced diet with lots of vegetable and fish will ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to help boost your mood."
4. Poor sleep
We all know that sleep can have an impact on how we feel and it's possible that you're struggling to sleep due to anxiety caused by the second lockdown.
During the first lockdown many people experienced vivid dreams that left them feel exhausted.
Anshu says too little sleep can cause anxiety.
“In order to get a good night’s sleep it is important that you take part in a relaxing activity before bed. This could be reading, listening to relaxing music or practising meditation.
“Too little sleep can also contribute to being more irritable and anxious. It’s important to try and get a good routine in place through regular sleeping patterns, avoiding too much caffeine before bed and exercising regularly".
5. Mask anxiety
The pandemic has meant that we have all had to wear masks on public transport and in shops.
Some people are exempt but Mind states that there are things you can do if seeing someone wearing a mask makes you feel anxious.
It states that you should try and shift your focus away from someone's face when communicating with them.
"Try switching the way your body is facing so that you're side-by-side with the person you're talking to, and both looking in the same direction."
If wearing a mask makes you feel uncomfortable it also states that you should try and think of it as a fashion accessory.
It states: "Search for a mask or face covering with a design or pattern that expresses who you are. You could use a scarf or bandana. Or try to find a selection of colours that you can match in with your outfits.
"Choose a transparent mask or see-through face covering, so it doesn't obscure your face."
6. You're bottling it up
While many of our diaries have once again been cleared due to the second lockdown, experts say that writing down your feelings could help quell anxiety and help you get your feelings out without becoming overwhelmed.
Mind states: "It might help to make a note of what happens when you get anxious or have a panic attack. This could help you spot patterns in what triggers these experiences for you, or notice early signs that they are beginning to happen.
"You could also make a note of what's going well. Living with anxiety can mean you think a lot about things that worry you or are hard to do.
"It's important to be kind to yourself and notice the good things too."
As well as the above six tips, Mind also suggests that alternative therapies could help anxiety.
It states that yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, herbal treatments, Bach flower remedies, and hypnotherapy are all types of complementary therapy that you could try, and see if they work for you.
"Some people find that one or more of these methods can help them to relax, or sleep better.
"Many chemists and health shops stock different remedies and should be able to offer advice."
LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Matt Courtney-Smith also recommended natural remedies such as CBD oils.
He said: "We have seen this trend go from strength to strength this year, suggesting that the products could be helping customers during this time."
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