Coronavirus has affected all aspects of our lives. Not only is it impacting our physical health but it is taking its toll on some people's mental health too. Understandably levels of stress and anxiety increase at difficult times, coupled with ongoing lockdown, the loss of normal routines and social contact. So what can we do to support our mental wellbeing during this time?
Maintaining relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing, so strive to stay in touch with friends and family. Set up regular check in’s, and really look out for those closest to you, whether that be your partner, and children at home, or from a far; your parents and grandparents, siblings, and closest friends.
Stay on top of difficult feelings, don't push them aside. Talking to friends and family is one of the best things you can do. Just hearing someone’s voice can make you feel less anxious. And don’t be afraid to have a good cry. Crying is the body’s way of releasing stress when things become too much. Sometimes the simple act of letting go of your emotions allows you to clear your mind.
Endlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram is not healthy. It’s also easy to get trapped in the 24-hour negative news cycle, but it's not healthy to be permanently plugged in. Limit the amount of time on social media and news channels, try and do something else instead. Think about turning off breaking-news and social post alerts on your phone. You could also set yourself a specific time to read updates or schedule yourself a couple of checks a day.
Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could message? Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally?
Keep things in perspective and don't panic, A huge percentage people who have contracted the coronavirus have recovered or are recovering. Remember that all crises end eventually, we can already see countries who’ve been badly impacted by coronavirus coming out of it and returning to normal. We will too.
Not only is exercise a great stress reliever, it can also help strengthen immunity. The temptation to do nothing is strong. Try to resist it. Getting out for a walk once a day or following at home workouts are all great ways to release endorphins and manage anxiety. Even following a short workout like this every day - can do wonders. Check out Nana Acheampong's abs in 5 minutes workout here for a daily dose of endorphin raising exercise.
If we are feeling worried, anxious or low, it's easy to lose interest in doing things you might usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.
Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Simple breathing exercises and relaxation techniques to help focus the mind on the now can have a powerful and immediate effect on stress. There are a wealth of online resources for meditation and mindfulness – this NHS-recommended apps list is a good place to start.
Not sure about Mindfulness - check out our guide here.
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