The Headspace Guide to Managing Anxiety During Lockdown
Men’s health: What impact has confinement due to the pandemic had on our mental health? Is there a particular demographic that is more susceptible to feelings of anxiety or depression, or is it more prevalent?
Louise Troën: The pandemic has seen people from all walks of life be affected by mental health consequences, and like Covid 19, there is not a single group that is immune to it. We see the ramifications of the pandemic as a global and intersecting demographic problem.
It is so important that we treat everyone on our platform with kindness, respect and understanding that their mental health both pro, during and after the pandemic is a truly personal experience that often requires a personalized approach (which Headspace offers with its wealth of meditations and content).
We know that the silent mental health pandemic has seen unprecedented numbers of people struggle with stress, anxieties, and the consequences of isolation, time off, and lack of freedom and choice. For many, these feelings have been underlying and are surfacing now – and it’s important that we address this front so that we can deal with them effectively. We have seen a significant increase in product adherence from consumers and Headspace for Work as we all collectively focus on supporting our mind as well as our body.
For those who are navigating locked out for the second or third time, what tools and strategies can they use to deal with feelings of anxiety, stress and depression? Are there any apps you would recommend during this time?
At Headspace, we recommend that you focus on starting a meditation routine. It can take a few minutes each morning, day or night and we have a wealth of content for the right time of day. The key is consistency and space for something for you in everyday life. We have seen huge benefits and real transformation in our members who remain engaged in the practice, and it is scientifically proven that a few minutes a day makes a significant difference in the long run. The discipline of focusing on the breath and remaining present in control of the breath can provide relief when all external factors are out of our control.
We have some instant suggestions in the app when you need to focus, be energized, have a desire for hope, or content – so we can point you to the best content for your current state of mind.
Many have experienced the feeling of isolation that comes from confinement. Do you have any tips for staying connected during this time?
There is no doubt that the social isolation resulting from the lockdown has taken its toll on our mental health and the importance of regular social connection cannot be overstated. We know that loneliness has a strong connection to depression and our happiness.
depends on the relationships we cultivate and rely on with others. I would advise checking out the people around you and knowing that emotions and general morale are low and people will struggle from time to time. Although face-to-face interactions and touching are not possible, modern technology has made virtual catch-ups easier.
Unfortunately, many of the circumstances surrounding isolation escape us and this is where a tool like meditation comes in, to help us find a calming perspective. If you are looking for a place to sign up to start, our Facebook group community is a truly supportive and inclusive community from all over the world. We also have a group meditation exercise, so if you are feeling lonely, you can meditate with people all over the world for a feeling of oneness.
As we move on to working from home, many of us find ourselves working longer hours due to the feeling that we have to constantly be “plugged in.” Do you have any advice to fight against this and prioritize our mental health?
I’ve found that if we’re not careful, the lines between work and life start to blur. So I suggest approaching this carefully and thinking about how best to use your time. Saying no can be incredibly empowering, and remembering that slowing down can be your best ally in doing the best job.
For me, it’s important to create a routine or ensemble to make sure you get up from your desk regularly and get some fresh air or make a phone call while you walk. Schedule time to move your body, take time away from your desk to enjoy a nourishing lunch, and take a few conscious moments here and there to make sure you are present and don’t fall into the trap of being stuck at your desk. office all day.
I find it helpful to download the meditations and then put my phone in airplane mode. Wind reduction is a great feature to help us slow down after a day of plugging in.
For those struggling with their mental health and anxiety while in lockdown, how would you encourage them to strike up a conversation about it with their friends and family?
I’d like to think we’ve come a long way with these discussions, but please know that we still have a long way to go before these conversations between us are truly considered “normal”. If you are having trouble starting a conversation I suggest you write a letter or email and share it with someone you are comfortable with so they know what’s going on. happening in your life and let it go from there. Writing itself can be a therapeutic way to deal with anxiety and something I personally do to get my anxious thoughts out of my head.
Likewise, how can friends and colleagues effectively control their fellow students?
Letting them know that you are there for them and listening is absolutely essential. Really listen and start the conversation by asking questions. Reassure them that they should never feel alone and that they can talk to you about what’s going on. Encourage them to find ways to deal with their anxiety, offer a few suggestions, and be patient, as the person you are talking to might need some space before they feel ready to ask for help. Before joining Headspace, a friend of mine actually bought me a one-year subscription and it was a very thoughtful way to offer support.
For more information on Guided Meditation and Headspace Mindfulness, visit the website here.