In this post, I wanted to discuss mood swings – specifically in relation to the Coronavirus lockdown.
As of the 29th May 2020, further easing of the UK lockdown was announced. I have to be honest, my emotions were all over the place. Part of me felt like the government was insane, especially our infection rate is still so high and I could not fathom why they were easing the lockdown however the other part of me was relieved and thankful at finally being able to escape the confines of my home and that I’d be able to see more of my friends and family – outside of a digital device.
I spoke to a number of people over the past day or so to get their view on the easing of the lockdown and realistically – all of them said that nothing in their current routine was going to change. They were still fearful of the spread of the virus and as many of them worked from home and would be continuing to do so then they would not need to change their habits drastically to allow for the easing of the lockdown.
Additionally, my own family who I have been quarantining with felt very similar too. My sister actually went to the supermarket today and she said that she was the only one who was wearing a mask. Despite the government guidelines around face coverings.
There is still so much uncertainty and all this uncertainty leads to anxiety, confusion and stressed situations – which from my perspective lead to mood swings. One minute I am fine and going through the day all well and dandy and the next second I am a wreck balling my eyes out because I don’t know if I am coming or going.
Firstly, this is completely and it’s likely that you’ve been experiencing some form of mood swings over the past 10-12 weeks ever since this pandemic ‘hit the fan’ so to speak.
Speaking to my grandmother today, she is isolating with my grandfather and as they are both late 70s – they are particularly vulnerable and therefore there is no guarantee as to when their quarantine will end. My grandmother has good days and bad days. Today was a particularly bad day – she was fed up, frustrated at my grandfather and annoyed at all of us people that get to go out while she is forced to stay at home. She was shouting down the phone actually – she’s naturally a fiery person but this was something different, this was desperation. When our general way of living is compromised or restricted – it’s hard not to get annoyed. We’re human after all, we’re designed to thrive roaming the world and connecting with people.
I’ve gone through an array of emotions but what’s been clear is that my stress levels have been so high – I’ve got annoyed or irked at the tiniest of things, I’ve misread people and I’ve flown off the handle far too many times – my moods have been volatile and I know for the people that I live with – they’ve been tiring to cope with especially as I am generally a happy and centred person.
Tips to help keep your mood swings at bay:
- Don’t skip meals: when my blood sugar gets low, I have found that my tolerance for anything is almost zero. I can’t cope with too many questions nor do I want to interact on a civil level with anyone because it’s just too much effort for me. By ensuring that I am eating regularly throughout the day and making sure that that food is nutritious as well has meant that I am not forcing people to battle a ‘hangry’ monster alongside everything else. I also find comfort in the routine of making ‘something to eat’ – whether it’s a salad or making a sandwich, it’s a process that’s normal and easy.
- Exercise: while I appreciate that prior to two weeks ago, we were only allowed to go out for exercise once a day… now we can go out when we want. Making the best use of that time is really important. We know that when you exercise you release endorphins and those happy hormones are going to naturally uplift you. Even though the lockdown has eased, don’t skimp on that exercise. We’re still not living ‘normal’ lives and therefore the break in our natural routines will still have some sort of impact; perhaps minor… but bolstering your resilience through exercise will sure help you.
- Maintain a routine: one of my father’s friends, despite being on furlough throughout the duration of the lockdown – chose to maintain his daily work routine. Waking up at 6am, doing his daily exercise (usually a 30 minute run), showering, eating breakfast and then he would plan his day – chores around the house, fixing something, working in the garden and then at 12.30pm, he would come in for lunch for an hour and then continue his working day. He said that some of his tasks were mundane e.g. deleting duplicate photos but others were tasks that he hadn’t had time for like painting his fence.
By maintaining a routine, you’re giving yourself structure and therefore boundaries and support.
- SLEEP! This one is so crucial. Sleeping allows to heal, process and deal with what is going on around us. Usual our mood swings are at their worst when we have had a bad nights sleep. Read our post on Sleeping Habits to see how you can improve your sleep. Make sure though, that you try to aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Allow your brain the time it needs to process what’s going on.
- Be kind to yourself and others: we are in unprecedented times. What we’re going through is hard and when don’t know when it will end and when normality will resume. I think about me today – I lost my mind over nothing. I got angry for no reason and that’s simply because I was feeling the impact of this terrible situation. I was supposed to be on my hen do, but instead I was doing chores around the house and that made me lash out. It’s not anyone’s fault – it’s just the nature of the beast. Own your anger, sadness and frustration – those emotions are valid but remember we are all in this together and just like you’re feeling like crap, so are the people around too most likely. So be kind – both to them and yourself.
If you’re finding this all quite difficult to cope with and the above don’t support in the way that you need them too then make sure that you talk to someone about it – whether that is your loved ones or a professional. Don’t let it bottle up inside you. Seek help and don’t suffer in silence.