Hello everyone and Happy New Year!
Well… this week, and please excuse my language here, has been a bit of a kick in the metaphorical bollocks for us all hasn’t it?
We had the first vaccine news late last year, then we had another vaccine announced as ready to go, and then we finally had the end of 2020.
It seemed, on the surface, that things were on the up. It seemed the end was in sight, but then, we started to see the actual damage this new strain of COVID is doing. The case and death numbers in the UK currently are horrifying, the NHS is at bursting point, and now we are all back in another national lockdown.
You will all have your opinions on whether you think it’s right that we are in this lockdown or not, and you are more than entitled to them, but that is not what I want to discuss in this column. The way I see it is, people are dying, lots of people are dying because of COVID, and we all have to do our bit to help stop that as much as possible.
However, while abiding by the lockdown rules will help stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, it does bring about a whole different raft of issues and risks, especially to people’s mental and physical health. What I want to discuss with you today is how, I think, we can all help each other through this because let’s not beat around the bush, this is going to be tough, and I truly believe that together, helping each other out, is the only way we will get through it.
Firstly, we’ve been here before, twice, and we’ve got through this before, twice, so let’s take solace in those facts. It doesn’t matter how tough this gets or how hard you may be finding it, you’ve got through this before and you can get through it again.
Secondly, take the learnings from the previous two lockdowns and put them into practice this time around. Everyone is different. What works for one person to get through lockdown won’t work for another. I’m sure you worked out what worked for you the last two times we did this, so revert to that and do it again, how does that old saying go… if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
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On this point I want to add, I saw so many people on social media through the last two lockdowns telling people how they should go about their days and how they should act and behave to get through the lockdown, and I think that can be really harmful. Yes, by all means give pieces of advice around what’s working for you and how you’re coping, but don’t tell people what they should do, or even worse, judge someone for dealing with things in a different way than you.
For example, I’m an early riser and a sucker for a routine, so my alarm is set for 7am every morning. I come downstairs, I have a black coffee in the same mug and then I train. After I’ve trained, I have my breakfast and then I go about my day, whatever the rest of it may entail, usually some studying, some more training, some reading and almost certainly some sort of live sport on the TV!
For some of you reading this, that will sound like your idea of hell, and that’s absolutely fine. We are all different and unique, so of course, we will all have different and unique ways to get through this. Please don’t judge someone for dealing with it differently to you.
However, I am about to contradict myself. Having just said we shouldn’t tell each other what to do and how to deal with lockdown, I will make two suggestions to you all.
My first suggestion is this, get outside and exercise. It doesn’t matter what it is, a walk, a run, a cycle even. If you rather, some sort of home workout is a great option. There are loads of excellent workouts online for free. All you have to do is Google or search for them on Instagram. They’re all there just waiting for you, and perfect to do in your living room, kitchen, garden or wherever at home! It doesn’t matter if you have no equipment at home either (I know a lot of us don’t) you can get an incredible sweat and burn from just bodyweight exercises!
The reason I suggest this is two-fold. Firstly, there are the obvious physical health benefits of exercising, but I also firmly believe that there are huge benefits to your mental health. Your mental health is also the reason I recommend doing your exercise outside. I know I always feel a lot better mentally and a lot less anxious when I’ve managed to get outside and not just be inside, in the house all day.
Your mental health is what my second suggestion is centred around. We should all be reaching out to each other and just checking in on one another throughout this. It’s so easy to feel isolated, alienated or alone through lockdown, and one simple message from a friend or family member can make all the difference.
Even those people you’re sure will be doing ok, check up on them, you never know what people are going through or the battles they are fighting in their own head every day. Just a simple ‘Hello mate, how are you?’ message to someone could really make all the difference.
“It’s really ok to ask for help” @Charlie_Beckett talking about the importance of asking for help when struggling ??— LooseHeadz (@LooseHeadz) October 18, 2020
It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to talk.#TackleTheStigma ?? pic.twitter.com/OwbJsprzzW
Finally, if you are struggling mentally with this, that’s absolutely fine, I think we all are, I know for a fact I am but please know you are not struggling alone. Please don’t sit in your room and think you can’t reach out and ask for help.
You can call great charities such as Samaritans and others such as Looseheadz and Noggin Sport who you can DM on Instagram, and they are always willing to chat to you and help. I have put their details at the bottom of the column.
Also, I can’t promise to have any great words of wisdom for anyone, but my DMs are also always open on Instagram and Twitter to anyone who fancies a chat and feels like they have no-one else to talk to.
It may not feel like it, but I’m telling you, we are on the home straight. This last push will be the hardest, but I know we can get through it, and when we have, I can’t wait to give you all a massive hug and drink far too many pints at the pub.
Until then, please, be kind, look out for each other, and let’s get through this together.
Samaritans: 116 123