Five tips for looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak

If you’re anxious about coronavirus, you’re not alone.

The outbreak is having a big impact on our daily lives and even leading some of us to self-isolate. This can create worry for anyone, and for those with an existing mental health problem it can cause even greater anxiety.

But there are some simple steps we can all take to help us cope and stay well. Here are five tips for maintaining wellbeing through the coming months:

1. Keep in touch!

While seeing friends and family in person may not be possible during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to stay connected – whether it’s by phone, video call, email, text or social media. You may want to agree regular check-in times with family and friends, especially if you are self-isolating. Remember there are safe online communities like Hafal’s Clic where you can talk safely to others about your mental health.If you are feeling very distressed and struggling to cope then don’t hesitate to make contact with Hafal’s Promise, the Samaritans or CALL.

2. Don’t over-expose yourself to negative news

It’s important to keep informed about coronavirus but if you find that coverage is making you anxious, try and limit yourself to one reliable news source and check it only once or twice a day.

Misinformation can sometimes circulate on social media so if posts are distressing you, take a break from scrolling!

3. Keep your mind active

The outbreak is leading to fewer social gatherings, the closure of services and even self-isolation. So it’s a good idea to find new ways to stay stimulated.If you are self-isolating, giving your day structure can be a good idea, with different activities planned for different times – or even regular hours of work if you are working from home.

If you find it difficult to fill the time, why not try something new? It could be experimenting with a new recipe, reading something different, using the internet to find out about a particular subject, sewing, sourcing new music, origami, keeping a diary or blog, scrapbooking, watching a new box set… the list goes on!

For loads more ideas, click here.

However, also remember that the mind can be over-stimulated. For example, hours of video game-playing may disrupt sleep patterns and routines.

4. Look after your physical health

We all know that looking after your mental wellbeing means looking after your physical wellbeing.

First the obvious: if you are self-isolating it’s important to make sure you have a regular supply of food and any medications that you need to take. Friends, family, neighbours or colleagues may be able to help keep you supplied, and supermarkets are working on increasing their delivery services.

Eating healthily and keeping hydrated is key to staying well. If we’re stuck at home and bored there may be a temptation to over eat, drink too much alcohol, etc. Setting meal times and routines can help with this, as can taking part in plenty of activities as listed above.

It’s also good to keep physically active – even if it’s spring cleaning, walking up and down the stairs or even doing exercises in your chair. Getting outdoors is even better, as long as it’s in a safe way that doesn’t bring you into close contact with others. Do you have a nearby park where you can go for a walk? Can you do some gardening?

Follow Hafal on social media for tips on staying active at home from Hafal’s Ambassador and rugby legend Dafydd James

5. Support other people!

Finally, it’s worth remembering that we’re all in this together – and there may be someone who you can support. Do you know of someone who lives alone, is vulnerable or who may be struggling at the moment? If you can, reach out to them – as long as it’s in a safe way. It may just be a phone call or a text. It could make all the difference to someone who is feeling isolated and lonely.

 

Have you got any suggestions for maintaining mental wellbeing throughout the coronavirus outbreak? Why not share your ideas on our online community Clic?

For more information on Hafal’s Promise – our pledge to our client group to provide ongoing friendly support and contact – please click here.

Matt Pearce