It might be difficult not to feel concerned by the constant news and updates about Coronavirus. It is obviously important that everyone knows what is happening and the precautions to take to reduce the risk of transmission and to stay physically well. It understandably can also affect your mood and lead to increased feelings of fear and anxiety.
It is a serious situation, which is affecting all of us although it is important that we find a way to keep everything in perspective. We stay psychologically healthy by balancing the worry and appropriate action on the one hand, but on the other we need to continue to do the things that we know keep us mentally healthy. True, we have to adapt to the fact that our restricted movement changes our options, but there are still many things that we can do to stay feeling okay.
Whilst we are not be able to meet up with friends and family in the way that we are accustomed to, connecting with the people we know and love will still soothe and reassure us, and help care for our psychological welfare.
Below are a few ideas that might work for you to help you cope with this unusual situation.
Keep in mind that self-isolation is the right thing to do and this is a time for collective, community focus rather than “me, me, me”:
- Limit consumption of news instead making a decision to just check in at one or two key times. E.g. A breakfast news programme and an evening news programme, and then remember to watch other types of shows to give yourself a break and focus on other topics;
- Do the things that you normally do to soothe you (listen to music, get fresh air, read, text or video call friends and talk about other stuff);
- Find a routine and stick to it (rise at a similar time each day, get dressed, eat at ‘normal’ times, go to bed at usual times);
- Get creative on the exercise front - exercise classes on TV/online, going up and down stairs, Zwift for cyclists, getting in and out of your chair, lifting tins of food, walking on the spot, or even try the new online discos;
- Catch up on dramas, films and boxsets that you have been meaning to get around to watching;
- Read a book if you feel able to concentrate or if not try listening to it as an audio book. You can download a range of podcasts and radio programmes. Hearing someone else narrating is more likely to leave you feeling soothed;
- Do something that makes you feel good: make a cake, do some gardening, go back to that knitting, go for a walk in a park, etc;
- Do something that needs doing to occupy yourself – clear out a cupboard or that drawer full of rubbish that barely shuts! Write a list of things you need to sort out - we all have a to-do list at the back of our minds;
- Make contact with people you know and love at least twice a day. Don’t worry about having things to say – get used to silence or what some people might refer to as ‘small talk’. ‘Small talk’ is okay and the important thing is to connect;
- Yoga, meditation, walking or relaxation exercises can help to regulate your breathing and remove tension from your body;
- Try online connections – Elefriends (Mind) or Big White Wall for example;
- Look out for others and make a deliberate attempt to help someone else – it is good for your mental health too.