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A nurse's tips to beat lockdown lows

Claire O’Neill, Head of Clinician Management at Vitality

Updated: 29th December 2020

Dealing with lockdown

Data from Vitality, as part of the annual Britain’s Healthiest Workplace survey, found that in 2019, rates of depression among UK workers had more than doubled in the past five years, with almost one in ten affected (8.5%), compared to just 4% in 2014.

For many, the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic will have led to heightened anxiety and caused some of us to revaluate our lives in the simplest terms, asking questions such as, are we happy with where we live, and who we live with? Are we happy with our jobs, or are we out of a job? What’s going to happen to our personal finances after the crisis?

These reflections, combined with the inability to see our friends and family at this difficult time, could lead to heightened levels of anxiety, stress, and loneliness, making it more important than ever to take steps to look after our mental wellbeing.

Vitality Head of Clinician Management, Claire O’Neill, believes there are some elements of lockdown we can use to our advantage and offers top tips for keeping positive during this time.

1) Get off your phone

During lockdown we have all become instantly contactable, with Zoom and Houseparty calls, or Microsoft Teams meetings, which can be overwhelming. When you’re not feeling great, try switching off your phone and taking a break from social media. This will give you time to concentrate on your needs and take your mind off what everyone else is doing. I’ve begun blocking off a half-day each week to escape from the endless calls and meetings and have some me-time.

2) Exercise is more important now than ever

It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you go, if you need to destress, getting out in the fresh air will be a huge help. We’ve all become much less mobile during the crisis, so it’s important to carve out time to make sure we’re getting enough exercise. A simple trick I’ve found during lockdown is to wear workout clothes during the day to encourage me to do some exercise or yoga when I get a spare moment.

3) Support your senses

It’s often the small things that make our days special, so indulge your senses and take your mind off the day-to-day. Burn a candle or some essential oils, put on some perfume, or add mint, rosemary or ginger to your water.

4) Know when to stop

You can’t pour water from an empty cup. I know from my own experiences as a nurse that you can suffer from burnout when you don’t take breaks from work or put enough time aside to rest. This principle can be applied to any job. If you take time to recuperate when you need it you’ll be better equipped to help others with what they need.

5) Find something positive in every day

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives at the moment. Try to read a positive article or watch an uplifting video every day. Just as doing exercise helps you work on your physical self, immersing yourself in positivity will help you work on your mental self. Personally, when I watch a motivational clip from Will Smith, I instantly feel better about the world.

6) Find the soundtrack to your life

Try searching for playlists based on a keyword or mood and you’ll find some new songs along the way. If I need to get work done, I’ll search for music that’ll help me focus, and if I need energy or positivity, I’ll find a happy one instead.

For more information on supporting mental health during lockdown, visit .

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