Guest Post by Craig Knight, Founder and Director of Identity Realization Limited (IDR)

Ahead of World Mental Health Awareness Day (Oct 10th) here are seven tips that will help us all keep a little calmer in the face of likely lockdowns and restricted social movement:

  1. Forget the term Social Distancing. Instead, remember physical distancing. Physical distancing will keep you, your bubble and others safe. But it is Social Interaction that will keep you sane. Socially interact as much as you can: Zoom, Facebook, WhatsApp, whatever. On which note. . .
  2. Make the most of the people in your social bubble. Share space with them often – cook, drink, converse. Humans need physical society, direct contact. However, if there are a few of you sharing the same tight space. . .
  3. . . . make time to be on your own too. Privacy is an essential part of the human condition. Find a space that you know is yours. In extremis, if you are being frazzled by an overload of the same people, even a lavatory can offer a temporary bolthole and a chance to reset your perspective.
  4. Don’t be brow beaten into thinking you should master the viola, write your magnus opus or develop a six-pack that you can use to grate cheese. It is still your life and now is not the time to beat yourself up over a lack of virtue signalling. Instead. . .
  5. . . . develop a routine. Decide when you will do a little work, when you will exercise, or read a book, and when you can do just what you fancy. This is your chance to tailor the day to yourself. If it suits you to stay up until the small hours and not see breakfast until noon, then do it. If you like being in bed before the average six-year-old and up before the worm-obsessed lark, this is equally fine.
  6. Remember that you are still in charge of your own life. We always have to cope inside socially agreed boundaries. These boundaries are currently just tighter than usual; but within them we can still decide how we want to operate. In short, squeeze as much joy out of whatever life you can find. Use the tools at your disposal to stay involved with others. Shift your emphasis to your online life. Stay in control of your situation and all will be fine. There are always some elements of life over which you do have control.
  7. If you are feeling low, or suffering from stress or anxiety, one of the best things to do is talk to someone you trust, ideally your family and friends. If you don’t have anyone like that, you might benefit from speaking to a professional therapist; but do check their qualifications.

Dr. Craig Knight, PhD MSc CPsychol HCPC, is Founder and Director of Identity Realization Limited (IDR).