It’s OK To Say: Lockdown two and mental health - how to cope with the challenges

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner.

It's OK To Say founder Stacey Turner. - Credit: Archant

Stacey Turner, founder of mental health awareness charity It’s OK To Say, offers practical advice on coping with a second lockdown...

Today, we are officially in lockdown two. While this particular lockdown allows more freedom, it doesn’t take away from the fact that many people have been left devastated, overcome with concerns about how they and those within their circles will cope.

Every single person in the country will have been affected in some way. With businesses and leisure facilities now closed, a lot of adjustment is taking place and hitting home mentally and physically. This may be stirring up emotions and the struggles faced when things suddenly stopped with the experience of the first lockdown.

What did you find so hard about the first lockdown? For me, it was the sudden halt of everything and not being able to see people. It was also the knowledge and fear of others struggling and not feeling like I could do anything. I think it’s helpful to consider what can be done differently this time.

While I am not a religious person, I have a little spot in the Cathedral where I light a candle and watch the flame flicker and glow as I lean on the pilar, thinking through all I am worried and upset about and what I am hoping for.

Only when I am ready do I get up and leave. This has become something of a soothing ritual for me. It’s a space that allows me to breathe, give everything swishing round on the inside some much-needed attention, while also igniting the flames of hope. It’s where I also send my loved ones my love and hope for their well-being.

We are all different, but I believe it is essential to think about what might help you and your loved ones. It is OK if you’re feeling sad, lonely and your mental health is suffering. It’s OK if you don’t agree with the rules, you’re worried and anxious about the future and you have a heavy heart. It’s OK if you feel helpless and just don’t know what to do. But know, you’re not alone.

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We urge you to consider your health and think about the following: go outside for natural light every day, move your body regularly, notice and acknowledge three positive things each day, allow yourself to rest, ASK FOR HELP, create soothing spaces, create a routine prioritising sleep, shift your focus to what you can control, try not to make permanent decisions based on the current situation and your current mood, filter news, and adjust your expectations.

We are simply not functioning normally so try not to suppress your emotions, maintain social connections, talk about, write or express through art how you feel, plan things to look forward to, think about what gives you purpose and meaning, try not to forget the basics like eat and hydrate often, take breaks and rest plus look at how you can add joy into your day.

What makes you happy? Do it and enjoy some relaxation.

It’s OK To Say is currently in the process of expanding our services. We want to ensure we can offer comprehensive support to the community. Whether that be to offer a safe cosy space to just be or to arrange private help with a professional. We are currently looking for a premises to offer this and hope to announce this in the new year. Excitingly, we are also instigating a befriending service offering phone calls, texts and written letters. We will share this news as soon as we have it in place.

Please do not isolate yourself, please be kind to yourself and reach out to others if you can. We’re all in this together and if It’s OK To Say can support you or your organisation in any way, please get in touch

Please take care of you, you’re not alone. We are here for you.

If you need to chat, text SHOUT to 85258 for free 24/7 support in the UK. Visit for further support and help.