It will come as no surprise to many to learn that a local addiction service has seen an upsurge in enquiries since the latest lockdowns started more than two months ago.
Rightly or wrongly, isolation and stress can lead to people turning far more frequently to unhealthy substances and habits, from hard drugs and hooch to chocolate and checking your phone.
Anti-Dose addiction counsellor Lexy Davies says it’s a lack of connectivity that is the main issue.
“When we’re not connected with healthy and good people, we connect with something that ends up not being good for us, which is usually drugs and alcohol,” she says.
“Mental health issues are far worse this time. Stress and mental health are tiring, and with the extension of this one, people are over it, and now with this vaccination push, there’s a lot more stress, and there’s bullying of those who have chosen not to participate. That’s not okay.”
Having nothing to do or nowhere to go also leaves a yawning life-gap that unhealthy habits can easily fill.
“Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” Lexy says. “Boredom is a big problem, so do go out for that walk on the beach or make a nice dinner – there’s always something you can do, it’s whether or not you want to. Having structure is really good for mental health.”
She advises good self-care and planning a daily routine to boost mental and physical wellness.
“We do need to be really careful about looking after our physical selves. Mental health has a huge impact on our physical health. If you’re stressed out or depressed, you’re more likely to have a run-down immune system, but there are skills and strategies to keep yourself healthy.”
It’s also important to remember that no matter how uncertain things may appear right now, this is a temporary state.
“It’s not for ever, but people can’t see an end to it yet. That’s the pressure, long-term,” Lexy says.
“Reach out and get support, there are people out there, so find out what’s available. It’s so important to get that support to get through, because this will pass, even if it’s like passing a kidney stone.”