Infectious disease outbreaks, like the current Coronavirus (Covid 19), can be a scary and uncertain time for everyone, this can have an adverse effect on our mental health. During times like this please remember it is natural to feel worried and express concern. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our mental wellbeing during such times. Here are some tips I hope may to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Try to avoid speculation, avoid social media, unhelpful threads or people. Be careful what you share online, .While it is good to raise awareness however false information can be damaging. Ask yourself is this helpful or may this raise hysteria? Be mindful of what conversations you involve yourself in online. Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control. You can get up-to-date information and advice on the virus from Gov.UK or NHS.uk. – only follow reputable advise through the situation. Keep up to date with events including recovery statistics and stories from those whom have experienced it.
Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual. You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. This will implement as form of control within. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity. Carry hand sanitizer and tissues, this is a comfort. (You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home if you are feeling unwell) Please be advised this informaiton is changeable adapted from WHO advice 11th March 2020). For up to date information https://www.who.int/
It is a good idea to stick to your daily routine, even if you do have to stay at home routine is extremely helpful where possible, spend a little time creating a schedule of activities, include some journaling in your schedule to help you offload some of those thoughts and feelings. You may also like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to: stress management techniques, keep active. Eat a well balanced diet, use mediation, creative activities, cooking, reading, as a form of self care. Spend a little time each morning setting out your day. it is also important to focus on gratitude during troublesome times, wrtie 3 things daily you are grateful for.
Try to stay connected. At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family. Talk about other news than the virus. Talk to your family. Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm. Talk about your feelings as a family work out a plan to prepare for this time.
Be kind, look to the good, at tough times it is natural to look at the negatives but if you look around you will see so many people reaching out and helping others. Where possible you too may wish to get involved in reaching out, call an elderly relative, text a friend to check in, pick up an extra tin for the food bank, good deeds and kindness are good for our own wellbeing as well as helping others. Always look to the good.