Britons fight lockdown blues by putting up Christmas decorations five weeks earl

Britons are fighting the lockdown blues by putting up their Christmas lights early this year.

The Light Up Locally campaign was launched on Facebook by Nottinghamshire-based mental health workers in late October.

Hundreds of people have already sent in pictures of displays, which experts say could benefit their mental health.

Co-founder Maria Ditch, who works as a mental health first aid instructor at Rampton Hospital, told MailOnline: ‘We had already been aware that some staff were becoming tired and experiencing low mood and increased fear.

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‘They were facing reduced daylight hours and the second wave of the pandemic.

‘Light Up Locally was born. We were encouraging people to put up their lights from November 1st.

‘I created a Facebook page which very quickly gained momentum.

‘Very quickly, people posted pictures of their lights, swiftly followed by people putting up Christmas decorations!’

North Leverton windmill, built in the 1800s, has been lit up as part of the campaign.

The group has received photographs from as far away as Spain.

One of the campaign’s early supporters, Karen Robinson, from North Leverton with Habblesthorpe, said: ‘Everybody loves it and the children got really excited.

‘It doesn’t matter that it’s early. After the year we’ve had, we needed something.’

Ms Ditch runs the group along with admins Lorraine Gregson, Angela Beales, Sarah Hamilton and Lou Hankins, who encourage people to share their pictures.

Ms Hamilton, 29, said: ‘As a person who suffered with depression and anxiety for many years, I’m totally behind this and I soon put my outside lights up which do bring joy to me every day.

‘It’s been fantastic seeing people join the group and decorate their outside spaces with lights.

‘It’s had such a good response that we are now reaching countries outside the UK who are joining in.

‘If this helps break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourages people to talk about their mental well-being then we’ll take that as a win.’

Dr Juliet Wakefield, a senior lecturer in psychology at Nottingham Trent University, told the BBC there is ‘a lot of evidence’ Christmas lights can benefit mental health.

She said: ‘Christmas lights can be a way to telegraph a shared solidarity and identity.

‘There’s a lot of evidence that shows having this group belonging enhances our mental health.’

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