The Coronavirus outbreak may cause you to feel anxious, overwhelmed, confused or angry and the most important thing to remember is that it is completely understandable that you feel this way. Here are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during this time of uncertainty.
Focus on positives
If you are reading this, chances are you are currently healthy ... and that is a massive positive. “Remind yourself that in this moment you are safe and well,” says the therapist Eve Menezes Cunningham. “Anxiety is defined by fears around the future. With a pandemic, no one’s imagining that future is going to be all sunshine and rainbows but at the same time we don’t know how it’s going to pan out.” Think positively about what you do have and what you want from the future.
Stick to the facts
Find a source you trust and use this as your sole source of information. If you see things on social media, fact check it here, and in turn do not share information that could cause worry or upset to others unnecessarily. Likewise, avoid mindlessly scrolling Instagram and Facebook all day as this will do little for your mental health. You can see further advice on how to take a digital detox here.
Take time to relax
There is a lot of talk about being productive, taking up new hobbies or using this time to improve something. While this may help you cope, remember there is no pressure on you to do anything right now. Accept that you can just relax and that taking time to pause is crucial to looking after ourselves. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety - Learn more about mindfulness here.
During this time of uncertainty, many people can feel anxious due to matters feeling out of their own hands. Concentrate on the things you can control right now, such as your behaviour, a shopping list, your diet & exercise, the music you listen to, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information.
Share & Care
Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. Take time to talk about how each other are doing away from Coronavirus; introduce different topics such as book or film recommendations to give yourself a break. Make sure you're understanding of other people's concerns, worries or behaviours at this time too.
Look after your body
Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol - it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Sport Liverpool has plenty of online workouts available through their Instagram and the NHS also has some helpful guides and podcasts to keep fit.
Recognise you may feel different physically
You must remember that feeling anxious can cause physical effects that could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus, like feeling hot or short of breath, which could in turn lead to more worry. If this happens, first try to distract yourself by thinking about or doing other things. When you are feeling more at ease, see if you still have the signs you were concerned about. Check the NHS website for information on Coronavirus symptoms and what to do if you or someone you live with has them.
Look after your sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it's important to get enough. Try to keep a regular sleeping pattern and follow good sleep practices. You can see some tips to improve your sleep here.
You can also see some great websites and apps to help with stress and anxiety here.