Aside from the necessary precautions related to physical health, what are some of the things people can do for their mental health during the transition out of lockdown?
MM: It’s really important to recognize how difficult and stressful it has been to respond to the major changes in daily life brought about by the pandemic. A number of researchers are concerned about increased stress, loneliness, anxiety, and depression symptoms, and the need for interventions to reduce the impact of these adverse effects of the lockdown (Holmes et al., The Lancet Psych, 2020). Specifically, we know that aspects of the lockdown such as social isolation (Read et al., 2020, J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci), increased boredom, and disrupted perception of time (‘blursday’), among others, have negative impacts on well-being and mental health.
However, there are things that we can do to enhance and maintain well-being moving forward as we continue to gradually transition out of lockdown. Our lab is currently conducting a study to examine the efficacy of an intervention to help improve well-being during periods of isolation, such as we are all experiencing now. We are testing an intervention that makes use of a smartphone application we have developed called the HippoCamera.