How to boost your mental health after a year of Covid fatigue

27 Apr 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

With 12 months of dealing with a global pandemic now under our belts, you may, understandably, be feeling somewhat emotionally spent.

And there’s no doubt about it – our emotional wellbeing has collectively taken a massive hit over the last year, so you’ll be forgiven if you’re still learning to cope.

From suddenly being unable to see friends and family, to learning how to study your degree in a whole new way, everyone’s been affected in some way or another.

And, let’s be honest, we’re all pretty tired now. Am I right?

We’ve followed the rules, clapped for our national heroes and done our best to keep our chins up. But in the midst of all this, we’ve also lost jobs, saw chances to seek new adventures slide down the drain and, unfortunately, for some, have also tragically lost family members.

So, after all of this, how do we pick ourselves up after a whole year of Covid fatigue and keep going?

Here, I’ve highlighted some ways we can tackle that mental exhaustion and (hopefully) ride out the last few months of this pandemic with a positive headspace.

Cut out the stress

Cutting down stress can be a difficult task when you’re in a negative frame of mind but it’s absolutely worth giving it a go.

The key is to create your own mantra and train your brain to put the positives above the negatives. But you can start by making things a little easier on yourself.

For example, if there are things that are stressing you out, but don’t necessarily revolve around paying your bills or passing your degree, why are you still worrying about them? Cut them out; there’s no better time to keep things simple.

I’m talking toxic friendships, volunteer jobs that aren’t working out or even that daily call to your family (if it’s too much, take it down to once a week – they’ll understand).

Stress is a key driver of anxiety and depression, so don’t make things harder than they need to be.

Stop scrolling in your free time

When you’re spending a lot of time on your own, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doom-scrolling.

But the problem is that the act of spending hours just scrolling through social feeds on your phone has been linked to negative thoughts and anxiety, thanks to the depressing nature of the current news landscape and how people are conversing online.

It’s tempting to keep checking the news and social sites to keep up with the latest news, especially at a time when the future seems so out-of-reach. Trust me, though, even a few hours away from the screen will have you feeling more relaxed than you’ve been in months.

Most nights, I’ll put my phone away and pick up a book to get lost in a new world, and, suddenly, it’s almost like the pandemic isn’t happening at all.

Talk to someone you trust

Never underestimate the power of talking to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Getting those worries off your chest can make the world of difference to your outlook – and you might even find that you’re not alone.

If you’re not keen to talk to a friend, though, there are plenty of people and organisations out there who will be more than happy to lend a comforting ear.

In fact, the crew at the Common Room have pulled together a whole list of resources, so you can pick the right path for you.

Keep checking in with yourself

Lockdown will ease (I promise!) but that doesn’t mean your mental health will necessarily flip a switch, so you feel okay again.

Understandably, there will be a transitional time where some people could really struggle. For example, if you’re currently dealing with heightened anxiety, you may find the idea of hugging someone terrifying – even if we’ve been given the green light to get back up in each other’s space.

There will also be situations we haven’t had to deal with for a while, such as being around drunk people in bars or socialising with big groups of friends in a way that we haven’t for so long.

So, it’s important here to do things at your own pace and keep checking in with yourself. Do you feel confident that you’re ready to head back out full steam ahead? If not, let people know that you need a bit of space while you prepare yourself for the real world again.

For more tips and advice on how to look after your health and wellbeing through Covid, click here.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.