As we slouch into a new year with lockdown 3.0, the mental health impact remains significant and shows no signs of abating.
Though the pandemic has certainly affected the mental health of all demographics, research from the UK’s Mental Health Organisation showed that young adults ages 18-24 are more likely to report stress from the pandemic than the population as a whole, with a frightening 22% stating that they’ve had suicidal thoughts or feelings in the last year compared to 10% of the overall UK population. This is a likely result of the triple whammy; curtailed education, diminished job prospects and reduced social contact.
So what can we do to support strength and unity in the next generation?
The innovators that the future of society relies upon for climate justice, global equality, and change?
Anxiety is the most common mental health concern globally. Often anxious thoughts stem from regret about the past and worry for the future. Our anxious thoughts steal the present moment from us as we are often too concerned with that we can’t control.
Here are five things you have control over right now;
The news you consume.
Who you interact with.
Your Social Media consumption.
While we wait for the Tories to address uncertainty around employment opportunities and education provision, most young adults turn to social media as a learning tool for contemporary issues.
Social Media can be an invaluable platform for keeping in touch with loved ones during lockdown restrictions. The human race is made up of social creatures who need the companionship of others to thrive. Social Media has become a replacement for real-world connections but does not trigger the same stress-alleviating hormones that in-person contact can.
Commonly, Social Media can affect your mental health in many ways. With the majority only sharing the highlights of their lives and not the low points dealt with off-camera, you may be comparing yourself to others and feeling insecure. Even if you know the images are manipulated they may cause a feeling of envy, dissatisfaction and inadequacy about your life and/or appearance possibly leading to body image issues. It is also common to experience self-absorption and unhealthy self-centeredness.
How to reduce your screen time during the lockdown.
We often talk about wanting to live in the moment and develop deeper relationships. We complain about how we have no time for hobbies or exercise — but no one is willing to put their bloody phone down.
- Put your devices in another room. Once you do so it may highlight exactly how dependant you are on your technology. You’ll likely feel an impulse to reach for your phone and check social media, but fight the urge and see how you feel, I dare you!
- Decide what you want to do instead. What would you rather do with your time? Come up with a list of things you want to do that you think you don’t have time for. When you put away the screens, do those things! It will reinforce the positivity of less screen time when you realize that you’re getting to do more of what you want.
- Move or remove apps. Which apps are the biggest time-absorbing voids for you? Is it Instagram, Facebook or Plants Vs Zombies? If you’re feeling brave, delete them.
- Ask for accountability. You could say that you want to spend 6-8 pm off of all devices and let everyone in the house know. I bet they’ll help you stick to your commitment!
- “Wherever you are, be all there.” This quote from Jim Elliot sums up what I want from life in general, and definitely with my screen usage. As a society, we need to get back in touch with the present, with reality.
Here are some useful resources for helping with mental health. If you are struggling right now then reach out for help, It can only get better one step at a time.
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Campaign Against Living Miserably. A charity providing a mental health helpline and webchat.
Men’s Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.