Welcome to our Youth Talk Blog, a section dedicated to youth lived-experiences with mental health and wellbeing, with weekly blog posts from diverse young people’s perspectives. This is a positive, fun and resourceful space, showcasing young people thriving and connecting with healthful activities, resources and support. This post has been written by Jess, our Community Education intern, who is a 22-year-old psychology student.
Here we are in another level 4 lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand, and in level 2 for the rest of the country. I know for myself personally, I really did not expect this to happen again, especially being in week 4 of lockdown currently. I know this can be challenging and very stressful for many. I have felt this way as well, especially going through it again. However, I have managed to find ways to cope through this and even somewhat enjoy aspects of lockdown. So, I hope that sharing my experience can in turn help others remain hopeful and bring the realisation that lockdown does not have to be such a drag.
I live with 3 close friends of mine, and I have found them to be a saving grace in my own experience of lockdown. Staying at home has been made all the more entertaining and less lonely by being around these people all day, every day. We are there for each other and are always around for a chat. This helps to have a conversation about our concerns of the state of the pandemic in the country. It helps me to share with others how I am feeling and hearing how others feel, it makes one feel less lonely and takes a huge weight off the chest sharing with others what is on my mind.
We have also had oodles of time to do things together that take our minds off what is happening, such as playing cards. We play this every day, and it is a great way to laugh and have fun together. We have also played other games together online such as quizzes or charades which are also great fun.
We have even had one of our flatmates celebrate a birthday during level 4 lockdown. Initially this did not seem optimal, however we made the most of what we had and had a great day involving watching movies, playing games, cooking and painting together. Her friends surprised her on a big zoom call where they all celebrated online. In this lockdown in particular, I have found being around my friends, the people in my bubble, to be hugely beneficial.
Another positive aspect of lockdown is it has given me a lot of time to focus on my university work and exercise. It can be a good opportunity to re-energise and take a break from the normal hustle and bustle of life.
With some good things I am aware, it is important to touch on aspects that are not so good about lockdown. I find watching too much television and news of the pandemic can add to stress. Although it may feel good to be informed, too much of this daily can promote stress and worries, and impact my overall mood, which is why I have made a conscious effort to regulate how much I consume this material everyday.
It is also greatly beneficial to stay in touch with people outside your bubble via zoom or phone calls. You may find as well as making yourself feel better, this can also help the person you are talking to on the other end, it could even make their day. It is crucial more than ever in this time, to check in on your loved ones and others to see how they are doing, even if it is just to say hello and ask what they have done today. Hearing and talking to others are greatly beneficial to us socially in lockdown.
I have found it is very important and a good way to maintain good mental health in lockdown to stick to a routine. Going to sleep and waking up at a reasonable time and having a schedule or a list of things to do in the day, that can involve work and aspects of self-care, keep my mind working and feelings of motivation and satisfaction still coming through. Another big one is to go outside and get fresh air, while of course maintaining a safe social distance when around others. I have found being outdoors, particularly walking amongst wildlife and trees outside in the sun, boosts my mood hugely in the day, and helps my brain work better afterwards if I have work to do.
It is important we all help each other as much as we can. Kia Kaha New Zealand!