Lockdown weighs heavily on our mental health

With the exciting news of a road map out of lockdown restrictions, it’s worth thinking about the toll current restrictions are taking on many people. According to new research, only a third of people who are working from home are accepting of the lockdown measures. One in five said they are anxious about the restrictions.

The research from insurer Canada Life also found that nearly two-thirds of people working from home full-time feel more prepared during this lockdown compared to earlier ones. It’s clear from this research that the mental health effects of the pandemic restrictions are not being felt equally.

The research found that the over 55s are doing much better than younger people, with half of older home workers accepting the lockdown measures, compared to just a quarter of those aged 18 to 34 years old. Older people also appear to be more optimistic about the effectiveness of the vaccine, with 40% of over 55s optimistic compared to 20% of younger respondents.

The research also shows that the strain of the latest lockdown is having a particularly big impact on working women, with 26% feeling anxious, 20% feeling worried, and 21% feeling depressed about the current rules. 19% of men reported feeling anxious, with 16% feeling worried and a further 15% feeling depressed.

Despite these findings, the majority of full-time workers at home feel more prepared for the current lockdown than they did during previous restrictions. 65% said they felt more prepared. One way in which people are feeling more prepared this time around is by accessing support services, including strengthening relationships with family and
friends, using mindfulness or meditation apps, or using more support from workplace schemes.

18 to 34 year olds were more than twice as likely as their older peers to use a support service to boost their mental health during the first lockdown, and this trend appears to have continued into the current lockdown restrictions.

Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director, Canada Life, said:
“It’s no surprise that the effects of a third national lockdown and a year of restrictions has left its mark on the mental health of the nation. With no clear end date in sight, many UK workers are undoubtedly feeling the effects, whether that be stress or anxiety related.

“There is no blueprint, or guide on how to protect your mental health through a pandemic so it’s really important that employers understand the role they play in supporting their workforce. With many of us working from home the potential for employees to feel isolated or overwhelmed is heightened and it’s therefore encouraging that people are now feeling more confident in dealing with this lockdown.

“Support for many may be as simple as taking the time to speak to family, colleagues and friends or turning to virtual services such as mindfulness apps and workplace support. It’s extremely encouraging to see that uptake for these coping mechanisms has increased as people look to better equip themselves with the help and guidance they need.

“It’s equally important that employers highlight such support where possibleand raise awareness of it among their workforce, whether that be access to virtual GP services, mental health or burnout prevention, or even nutrition and health coaching.”

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