As a result of coronavirus, many people across the country and globe are, understandably, reporting a low mood, and high levels of worry and stress.
Each and every person will face a distinct and personal challenge at this time. Whether we are confronted with bereavement, job insecurity, financial concerns, stressful home lives, or general life uncertainty, there are many things that could cause us to feel distressed and anxious.
The Mental Health Effects Of Social Distancing
One thing that will undoubtedly affect us all is social distancing. The UK Government has currently instructed that we must still stick to strict social distancing guidelines, including wearing face masks in most public places and maintaining social distancing measures when meeting anyone from outside your household or support bubble.
People are naturally hardwired to be sociable beings, and these rules may pose challenges to the mental health of many. Being around our loved ones is inherently enjoyable, can allow us to take our mind away from stress, and is generally good for our sense of wellbeing.
Meanwhile, isolation and loneliness have repeatedly been shown to be detrimental to physical and mental health. Feelings of loneliness may also currently be exacerbated for people who live alone, have challenging home lives, or lack the technology that allows for online catch-ups.
Mente’s Tips To Dealing With The Situation
Below, you’ll find a range of tips on looking after your mental health throughout and after the pandemic – but we want to stress there is no need to leave the lockdown with a new hobby, talent, or sporting expertise.
Many people also don’t have the opportunity to do so, as they work tirelessly in our hospitals, supermarkets, and care homes.
What’s more important is just doing the things that keep you feeling calm and positive. For many of us, that will mean living day by day and taking small steps to look after our wellbeing.
Know that it’s okay to find the situation tough – But remember that it will pass with time. It can be worry-inducing and upsetting – but it will pass. Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean being happy 24/7; it means acknowledging our situation and emotions, but knowing that we can get through life’s challenges.
Avoid overexposure to the news – Stay informed but limit time checking the news if it feels overwhelming. Similarly, don’t keep re-reading the same advice, about things like washing your hands, if it’s causing you anxiety.
Find ways to stay in contact and talk to others – Make sure that you schedule in time to talk to others. Speak to your friends and family regularly through video calls, phone calls, and messages. There are also specially designed apps and smart cameras that are designed for the elderly and those who are unfamiliar with technology, and these could be worth looking into if you feel they would be useful. Talking to others is reassuring and can help us to calm down, but it also helps us to know that feeling uncertain is okay. If you’re feeling lonely, you could also consider joining an online peer support group. Even listening to a podcast or to the radio could also help you to combat feelings of loneliness.
Look after yourself – Try to stay hydrated, maintain a healthy and balanced diet, incorporate some exercise across the day, and get enough sleep. The UK Government’s rulings allow for people to go outside for one form of exercise a day (whilst still staying at least 2 meters away from others where possible) so try to get some fresh air and exercise. Check out these gym-free workouts from the NHS.
Get fresh air – Get into the garden if possible. If not, open the windows and get fresh air circulating, and if possible, go outdoors for exercise once a day. Try to keep on top of the housework – Across the country, we are all spending a lot of time in our own homes now.
Try to keep it as clean and tidy as possible, as this is good for wellbeing. Cleaning can also help you to be active, which is good for our mental health. If possible, try to regularly spend time in different rooms too – even if you’re just alternating between a couple or a few rooms – as staying sedentary in the same room could cause a low mood.
Consider finding a new hobby or activity – There are many hobbies and things that we can do while we’re socially distancing. You may find that you’ve got some extra time now. Perhaps find online activities that you can do with others too, play board games, get into learning a new language, listening to a podcast, learning an instrument, or get drawing.
Aim for a level of structure – You might find it useful to plan some elements of your day in advance to give yourself some structure. Whether it’s doing the laundry in the morning, scheduling in exercise in the afternoon, or planning a meal or video call to have in the evening – there are small ways to create structure.
The APPLE Method
David Smithson, operations director of the charity Anxiety UK, recommends that whenever people feel overwhelmed by stress, they focus on the acronym
1. Acknowledge the fearful uncertainty and be mindful of it, rather than being gripped by it.
2. Pause, rather than reacting fearfully to your feelings.
3. Pull back, away from all of your worries.
4. Let go of the thought or feeling.
5. Explore the present moment and shift your attention to something non-stressful.
Seeking Support – You Still Can
Remember that there is still support out there, and you should seek it if you need it. For example, if you are having psychotherapy or counselling, see if you’re able to carry on your sessions via a video call. Remember that you can call also call the Samaritans at any time on 116 123 for support. read about how Nugent Sante and partner Mente can help you with mental health in your business through Coronavirus and beyond. Mente Mental Health