The coronavirus outbreak has undoubtedly meant life changing for many of us. It may be causing you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It's important to remember though that it's okay to feel this way, the situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.
There are however some simple things you can do to help take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty:
- Stay connected with people: Maintaining healthy relationships with people we are close to is important for your mental wellbeing, so thing about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while needing to stay at home. You could try phone calls, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person.
- Talk about your worries: It's perfectly normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation, and sharing your feelings with those you trust may help you better manage any negative thoughts.
- Support and help others: As you might be struggling, so may others. Try and be a good listener when it comes to other people's concerns, worries or behaviours at this time.
- Feel prepared: Working through the implications of staying home should help you feel more prepared and less concerned. Think through a normal week, how it will be affected and what you might need or what you might do to overcome any problems
- Look after your body: Physical health has a big impact on how we feel. In times like this it is very easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that could end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, and of course exercise. Try and go for a walk, get out on your bike, or GO Gateshead are publishing virtual fitness classes to our social media channels (@gogateshead); give them a try.
- Stick to the facts: When looking for information on the current pandemic find credible sources you can trust, such as gov.uk or the NHS website, and fact check information you get from elsewhere.
- Stay on top of difficult feelings: Concern about coronavirus is perfectly normal, however some of us may be experiencing intense anxiety that can affect daily life. Try and focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to and where and how often you get information. It's fine to acknowledge things that are outside of your control.
- Do things you enjoy: If you are feeling worried or anxious, it's easy to stop doing the things we enjoy. Try focusing on your favourite hobby to combat anxious thoughts. If you can't do the things you would normally because we're all spending more time indoors, think about how you could adapt them. Or what about trying something new for the first time?
- Focus on the present: Focusing on the present rather than worrying about the future will mean you're better equipped to deal with immediate challenges. Remember, this isn't forever.
- Look after your sleep: Good quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it important to get enough. Aim for between 7-8 hours per night and avoid naps during the day as these will disrupt regular sleep patterns.
For more information on maintaining positive mental health, as well as a wide range of online resources and referral services available through the NHS visit Every Mind Matters.