Coronavirus and our Mental Wellbeing
Posted: Fri, 20 Mar 2020 08:37
If you are unsure whether you should self-isolate, or if you are looking for advice on Coronavirus symptoms, please read the Gov web page here.
The outbreak of Coronavirus is an anxious time for us all. You may have many worries about whether you should self-isolate or what the future holds. Coping with uncertainty is difficult and it is important to find practical ways to protect our physical health and support our mental wellbeing.
- Eat regularly and stay hydrated: it's important for our mental health
It is important for your mental and physical health to stay hydrated and think about your diet. Your appetite might change with different routines. Eating regularly and drinking enough water can help with your energy levels and mood. 6-8 200ml glasses each day is recommended for UK adults.
- Follow hygiene guidelines 'catch it, bin it, kill it'
The Government advises us to wash our hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water or hand sanitiser, especially:
- When getting to work or arriving home;
- After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose;
- Before eating or handling food.
When we cough or sneeze into a tissue, we should bin it straight away.
- Breathing exercise for stress
Some people may have difficulty with the hygiene guidelines. If the advice is making you feel stressed or anxious, here are some things you could try; let others know you are struggling, do breathing exercises to help feel more control [https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/]
- Try the Five Ways to Wellbeing
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are daily acts that can benefit our mental health and wellbeing, we can all adapt them to our circumstances, even those of us who may be self-isolating.
The Five Ways are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Learn, and Give. Read on for tips on how to support your mental health using this method.
Connecting is all about developing and nurturing your social relationships. Having a strong support network can help you through difficult times in life and can combat feelings of loneliness or isolation. In times like this, where we may be isolated for long periods of time, it is important for us to stay connected to friends and family. This could be by:
- Making the most of technology - video chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are a great way of staying in touch with friends and family, particularly if you live far apart.
- Join a local WhatsApp group for aid in your area if you are struggling to leave the house.
- If you are working from home, check in with your work colleagues every morning to share ideas and to see how everyone is coping.
Being active is a way of finding physical activity that we enjoy. Incorporating physical activity into our day to the best of our ability is an excellent way of developing our mental wellbeing and can be something we can do to boost our mood even when self-isolating. Why not try:
- Try an online video workout
- Try a half hour yoga session in the house
- Stretch out in the mornings
- Clean your home
- Look on the NHS Live Well site to see which
Taking notice is reminding ourselves to look at the small things in life, which is proven to improve our mental wellbeing. This may feel like a difficult task if you are isolated, and have been for a long time; but here are some suggestions:
- Develop a mindfulness habit, which can be done through free mindfulness apps for your phone
- Try a calming exercise such as tai chi or qui gong
- Make lists of something you are thankful for each day, no matter how small
- Being mindful in watching the news – if constant updates are making you feel more anxious, take time away from social media or TV.
Learning new things throughout our lives, no matter how old we are, is great for improving our self-esteem. We can do this through trying something completely new or trying to return to activities we once did and have always meant to pick back up again.
- Do a crossword puzzle or Sudoku
- Learn a new language
- Take a free online course from the Open University
It is proven that people who volunteer their time in some way are much more likely to rate themselves as happy and feel more connected to their community. Now more than ever, acts of kindness can go a long way, in helping ourselves and others. Why not try:
- Say thank you to someone for something they have done for you.
- Phone a relative or friend who needs support or company.
- Raising awareness of local charities on social media
- If you are not yet self-isolating, volunteer to pick up groceries for friends who are
- Further support
National support hotlines are still open during this time. If you feel as if you would like to speak to somebody, please call the Samaritans on 116 123, or see our list of local resources to support you, here.