21 Mar BLOG: Make Mental Health A Priority During Coronavirus
As cases of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) continue to rise in the UK, we will all be self-isolating and social-distancing for some length of time. This means fewer face-to-face connections and more time being alone. It is normal to feel anxious, fearful, panicked, frustrated or bored, and if you’re worried about the effect it will have on your mental health, you are not alone. So, how do we best deal with the realities of not leaving home during a crisis? It is important that you continue to make your mental health a priority, so we have provided some top tips and resources for looking after your wellbeing during this difficult time.
To help ensure our fight for better mental health in the Surrey community continues, please click here to make a donation. Thank you.
1. Limit your news intake and be careful what you read:
While it is natural to worry about the news, your family, your friends and even yourself, be mindful that panic and fear can worsen anxiety. There is a lot of information available to us, and it can be tempting to constantly check the news during times like this as it gives us the illusion of action or control. But if you notice this having a negative impact on your mental health, try to ration your worry time by scheduling a specific time of the day to check up on everything. The news is constantly changing so it is important to focus on the facts – rely on health and public officials as well as sources from credible outlets, and plan accordingly.
WHO (World Health Organisation): https://www.who.int
Positive news/Uplifting Stories:
Good News Network: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/
The Happy Newspaper: https://www.thehappynewspaper.com
Huffington Post: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/news/good-news/
Positive News: https://www.positive.news
2. Support your community and stay connected:
While the ‘fear of missing out’ may not be a concern, there is an urge to stay connected. Having human contact throughout the day is important and can make a huge difference – whether that be setting up FaceTime meetings or hang out sessions with friends and family online, or simply giving them a call. This could be a great time to reach out to someone you haven’t heard from in a while – most people are feeling just as lost as you, so don’t be afraid to make the first move and let them know that you care. You can also point your neighbours, friends and loved ones to online communities and counselling services, where people can share their concerns and talk about their mental health without fear or judgement.
Help Hub: https://www.thehelphub.co.uk
Big White Wall: https://www.bigwhitewall.com/
3. Try to keep a routine and a sense of purpose:
Sticking to a schedule is key. Don’t give in to the immediate urge to sleep in and stay up late. Set your alarm for your usual time and stick with your morning routine. Shower, eat what you normally would, get out of your pyjamas and find a space to set up work for the day. Even if you’re not able to work, creating a schedule of mealtimes, reading time, exercise, chores, and so on will help you to stay balanced in the weeks to come. Use any extra time you have very intentionally; don’t drift through the weeks. Pick one or two things you’ve wanted to learn about or how to do and teach yourself. Plan to come out of this quarantine with a new skill or hobby!
Mindset App: https://www.themindsetapp.com
Couch to 5K App: https://www.c25kfree.com
4. Move as much as you can:
If you’re social distancing, you can still take daily walks, jogs or cycles, preferably in a leafy area – or try your hand at gardening to get some much-needed fresh air! Exposing yourself to natural light also does wonders for your mental health. While gyms are currently closed, the Coronavirus doesn’t have to be a reason to quit exercising. Fitness centres across the UK are streaming classes to help make at-home workouts more fun than doing 100 crunches on your carpet. Whether you’re looking for yoga, strength training, HIIT, or dance routines, there are plenty of online resources that have you covered. But if you want to take the time off to rest, that’s also fine too. Listen to your body.
Corepower Yoga: https://www.corepoweryogaondemand.com/keep-up-your-practice
Psycle London: https://www.instagram.com/psyclelondon/channel/
Joe Wicks (HIIT): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ
5. Shift your mental space:
Use principles of mindfulness to shift your mental stance from frustration about the situation to curiosity. Keep a journal (written, sketches, or video) of your experience during this time– what you did and how you felt day by day. Take a new perspective on daily tasks and look for the joy in spending time preparing something, however simple, for others or yourself. Take time to appreciate your home and those around you; make a list of things that you are grateful for every day. There are also lots of free apps you can use to guide you through breathing techniques and meditation that can help ease your anxiety and clear your mind of anxious thoughts.
Gratitude Journal: https://gratitude.plus
IMood Journal: https://www.imoodjournal.com
6. You are only limited to your imagination:
Time is precious, and now something we have a lot of. So, here are some great ideas to help you make the most of yours:
- Start a virtual book club
- Try some Open University Courses
- Try a new recipe or make dinner as a family
- Make a scrapbook of souvenirs from a recent holiday
- Start an online blog
- Search video tutorials to learn how to draw or play an instrument
- Turn up the volume and have a family dance party
- Pop some popcorn and cuddle up for a movie marathon
- Do some spring cleaning
- Take a bubble bath and follow it up with a home manicure
- Volunteer to support people, whether that’s your elderly neighbours or within online forums
- Take part in a family games night
- Bake some goodies
- Try an online workout or virtual yoga instruction
- Do something creative, like painting, drawing or arts and crafts
- You can also sign up to Oakleaf’s Wellbeing Activities
7. Remember that help is always available:
Guildford Safe Haven remains open at Oakleaf HQ every day from 6pm-11pm offering a crisis service to those who need it most. If you are able to support us in any way, thank you.
Why we need your help:
Our Corona Virus Emergency Appeal is now live – please help our fight for better mental health in the Surrey community during this crisis. We are working around the clock to ensure that our hundreds of clients can access support over the phone and via video, but with many funding streams vanishing our financial security is at risk. If you are able to support us in any way, thank you. To make a donation, click here.
Samaritans: www.samaritans.org / 116 123 (24 hours)
Citizens Advice: www.citizensadvice.org.uk / 03444 111 444 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)
Mental Health Foundation: https://mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus