It's all going to be okay

As the end of lockdown is in sight people can once again begin to plan for the future. After depressing daily news stories and regular government updates for nearly a year it’s good to have something to look forward to. But following the dreadful statistics have been dire warnings of a looming mental health crisis and many therapists have been preparing for a tsunami of psychological issues post-pandemic. So what can we expect as a nation mental health-wise?

New research conducted throughout the pandemic by clinical psychologist, Richard Bentall has shown that the nation’s mental health may not be as bad as predicted. The results of this study of over 2,000 people has shown that approximately 60% of the population has been highly resilient and shown no evidence of psychiatric distress and that 10% have actually thrived during this period. This is largely because collective trauma has a much lower impact on people than individual trauma.

Developing resilience (or coping skills) doesn’t mean that there won’t be bad days, or that you’ll be strong and positive every single day. You might have a string of bad days, but resilience is the ability to gather yourself together and find a way to go on. This will look different depending on your personal situation and if you have lost a loved one or are suffering financially it will clearly be more difficult.

Resilience doesn’t mean burying or denying your emotions. You might have noticed that your stress levels have fluctuated over the last few months; the tension of March and April easing over the summer and then ramping up again from September and into 2021. Even without the external stimuli of the news updates your own life may include situations that are stress provoking, or alternatively are enriching and rewarding.

If you’re facing multiple stressors, have experienced traumatic events during lockdown, or have a history of depression or mental health issues you’re more likely to struggle, at least in the short term. Be aware of that and be gentle with yourself and work within your capacity. While some factors that influence our resilience are out of our control, there’s a lot that we can do to boost our coping skills.

Our social support networks have been and will continue to vital during this time. Establishing and cultivating friendships and communities is also invaluable. You can improve your resilience and minimise your stress levels by reaching out to loved ones or engaging in hobbies or activities that bring you joy.

If you’re noticing that you’re continually feeling stressed and on edge it’s okay to get help. This might be talking to a friend, speaking to your doctor or seeking a therapist. Short-term help might involve learning techniques to manage your stress levels and increase your resilience. And remember, everything is probably going to be okay in the long run.

Need some help and want to have a chat? You can either schedule a call or send me an email.

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