In light of the dramatic changes to our lives responding to the covid-19 pandemic, we are asking people across the globe to share their stories in a series of selfie videos. Helping both us and our clients keep tabs on the rapid pace of change and consumer response.
Our sixth instalment explores how the crisis is impacting our mental health under a variety of lockdown style restrictions are in place across Europe.
The current UK Government guidelines state that people are allowed out of their homes for 60 minutes a day to ensure they are getting regular exercise and continuing to be active. But it’s not just our physical health that we need to be mindful of, we also need to think about our own mental health and wellbeing. A recent survey from Statista shows that from Asia to the US and Europe between 21-32% of us are worried about our mental health as a result of the crisis. Across the globe, a variety of restrictions in place have and will continue to have an impact on our mental health now and well after this crisis is over.
It’s human nature to feel anxious during times of uncertainty, and for many it’s these feelings of fear and anxiety that are being heightened during one of the greatest times of instability the world has ever faced. And with these new times people have more to worry about than ever before. Understandably, people are concerned about the ones closest to them, with 75% of the UK worried about their family’s health, but there’s also a sense that people are taking on worries that are much larger than themselves, even if they’re completely out of their control. Also a lack of typical daily activities to help distract from these concerns is causing further distress. For some, the need to balance work and their personal lives can feel overwhelming, especially when previous moments of alone time, such as going to a class at the gym or reading the newspaper on the train, are no longer a safe option.
Conversely for others, one big consequence of the recent lockdown restrictions is increased feelings of loneliness and helplessness, especially amongst older generations or those living alone. Be it seeing colleagues at work, taking grandchildren to the playground or just passing neighbours on the street, the multiple moments of personal interaction that were perhaps previously considered trivial, have dramatically diminished. And whilst multiple apps are helping fill this gap, many people are struggling with the isolation that comes with this period of lockdown.
As expected, this lockdown period has also resulted in a huge amount of disruption for many people, with lifelong plans being unpredictably put on hold. People planning to move home may now find themselves in indefinite periods of limbo, those with new jobs may now be unemployed and parents are now faced with the relentless task of being parents, teachers and professionals, without the necessary emotional and practical resources available to support them. Similarly, in a time where our lives are documented for all to see, there’s a fear that we might not be ‘living the lockdown correctly’. For many people, they’re able to use this time to learn a new skill or truly take a break, whilst for others the new version of their day is stressful and straining, and just getting through it feels like a massive feat in itself.
Though this time is unsettling, many people are using it as a time to discover new and interesting ways to guide them through it and ease these heightened feelings of concern. Whilst it’s hard to escape news coverage, people are choosing to limit their news exposure, engaging in holistic and mindfulness tactics that they previously would not have used and making being proactive a priority when it might not have been before.
And with these new feelings of adversity come even stronger moments of togetherness, gratitude and understanding. There’s an acknowledgment that some days will be harder than others, and people are embracing both the good days and the bad days together. And whilst we cannot be together physically, there’s an element of comfort that as a world we are all going through this together and will eventually come out the other side stronger and more united than ever before.
Whilst we all do our best to stay strong, look after ourselves, our friends and family during this period of crisis, we must keep in mind that this crisis is going to have an impact on a significant proportion of our lives, potentially changing the way in which we act in the world forever. And whilst this video touches on some of the issues that people are experiencing, it’s clear that these are just the tip of the iceberg, with the impact of this crisis on our mental health and wellbeing likely to continue long into the future.