Take care: five ways to cope with the mental impact of lockdown in the Netherlands

With the Dutch government looking to start relaxing measures soon. It seems we are almost at the end of a pandemic and can finally look forward to “normal” times. However, for many of us the impact of new ways of living has been more intense than expected.

It has been difficult times for those who suffered physically, but an unexpected year for those who had to bear the immense mental consequences. While physical sickness is easily evident with the symptoms, it may get difficult to realise your own declining mental wellbeing.

If you have felt an impact lately, here are five things you can do to try help:

1. Remember you are not alone

You can reach out to someone if you need help. Image: Kuli Kittus/Unsplash

The pandemic has caused lot of anxiety issues and sense of isolation. Knowing it’s a worldwide issue and that you are not alone in this is very important. Even the strongest of people feel the impact.

It helps to accept whether you need any kind of help. Once there is acceptance, it becomes easy to work towards it. Talking to your GP is great step,  who can advise you or refer you to specialists.

READ MORE| Mental healthcare in the Netherlands: all you need to know for 2021

Helpful Information:


2. Capture your thoughts by writing a journal

Treat yourself to a warm cup of joe and try to write about your feelings. Image: fotografierende/Unsplash

It is easier to believe everything that goes in the mind, but not all thoughts maybe necessarily appropriate. Talking positive to yourself can help uplift the mood and improve the energy.

There are many techniques to clear your mind like meditation, breathwork, positive affirmations, EFT and more. One of the effective tools could be journaling your thoughts and emotions every day. Then re-evaluating your mindset when it’s out of your mind and onto the paper.

Treat yourself to a nice takeaway coffee, find yourself a cosy corner and scribble away. Even if it only helps a little bit, it’s something and it’s worthwhile.

3. Look at bigger picture but live one day at a time

Take time to be in the moment. Image: Alexandra Tran/Unsplash

In these abnormal times where life has stopped, started and stopped again, most of our future plans have been impacted. Whilst it is important to keep looking at the bigger picture, it may help to live one day at a time.

Try to be present, just enjoy where you are and what you are doing. And most important of all, be grateful of what you have.

Organisations such as Centrum Voor Mindfulness offer mindfulness courses and meditation sessions in English and online! Every Tuesday evening, the organisation hosts online meditation sessions for English speakers in the Netherlands. It’s a great way to get out of your head and live in the moment.

4. Grab a book and read!

Dust off your mind with a good book. Image: Matias North/Unsplash

In the words of Joseph Addison:“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Reading topics of your interest helps develop perspectives and inculcates a sense of growth.

Though many of the books can be ordered online, here are some of the bookstores you can visit in the Netherlands as the current measures permit.

The Netherlands also offers some great expat friendly book clubs (many of which are now online), such as:


5. Grab your bike and cycle

Sports in the Netherlands
Get out and get on your bike! Image: Zhivko/Pixabay

What better place than Netherlands for biking! The days are getting longer and the weather seems to be getting better (aside from the occasional snowfall.)

Biking can bring in many benefits. It’s a great exercise that can help enhance mental well-being by releasing those endorphins (happy hormones!), boosts physical fitness and helps you explore different neighborhoods. Here are suggestions on scenic bike paths in the Netherlands that can be explored.

READ MORE | A guide to 10 beautiful national parks in the Netherlands

It is important to know that just like eating healthy for 2 days doesn’t make you physically fit, starting to practicing mental fitness may not reap immediate results. Incorporating mental fitness habits in daily routine is the key.

But just remember, you are stronger than you think!

Do you have any other suggestions that can help enhance mental well-being? Let us know in the comments below! 

Feature Image: Cottonbro/Pexels

Swati Manocha
Swati Manocha
Born in India and moved to the Netherlands about 9 years ago for her Masters. Swati has travelled extensively in past years, experiencing various cultures. Recently turned into a coffee enthusiast, she is passionate about exploring different things (fitness, food, whiskeys, hikes & more). She's an extrovert who is trying to adopt and enjoy the new ways of living (during covid era).

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