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Mental Health and Covid part 2

Colin Dang

Mental Health & Covid Part Two

 

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important if you are staying at home because of covid. You might be worried about your finances or your loved ones. Maybe you dread the coming Winter and long dark days, especially if you know you are going to be feeling lonely or bored. It’s important to know that it’s OK to feel this way but that feelings pass. For a lot of people staying home isn’t easy but remember, you’re doing it to protect yourself and others.

 

Here are some things you can do to help your wellbeing:

 

Talk about how you feel

 It's completely normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the pandemic. Talking helps, so share how you are feeling with someone that you trust. If you don’t have anyone or if doing that hasn’t helped you then there are many helplines that the NHS recommend where trained staff can support you.

 

Stay connected

 Make sure you maintain healthy relationships during lockdown. Think about what you can still do, phone calls, social media, messaging and video calls are suggestions.  Ask for what you need. If you’re alone and feeling isolated  people may not realise how you are feeling, so tell them! Would a weekly call from your kids be enough  or would you prefer a short daily chat ? 

You can still exercise or meet in a public, outdoors space with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person. Seeing someone in person- at a social distance - might be really helpful. If you’re unsure of the new lockdown regulations they are explained on GOV.UK.

 

Understand your employment and benefit rights

 Money worries and concerns about possible redundancy are very stressful so talk to your employer. You might want to look at Government support for business and self-employed people to help understand your sick pay and benefits rights, knowing the details of how coronavirus affects you can help you feel a bit more in control.

 

Plan practical things

 If you can’t get to the shops then work out how you can get your shopping in. Try asking neighbours or family and friends, or find a delivery service. Many communities have set up support networks for people who don’t have family and are isolated. Don’t be afraid to ask for help - there's loads of support out there and people enjoy helping others.

 

Do continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible. Let services know you are staying at home, and talk about how to continue receiving support. If you need regular medicine, you should be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online via a website or app. Contact your GP and ask if they offer this. You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medicine delivered, or ask someone to collect it for you.

If you support or care for others, either in your home or by visiting them regularly, think about who can help out while you are staying at home. Let your local authority (England, Scotland and Wales only) know if you provide care or support someone you do not live with. Carers UK has further advice on creating a contingency plan.

 

Don’t focus on the news all day

 Limit the amount of time you spend listening or watching any reporting of Coronavirus or any other subject you find stressful. You could set yourself a time limit for social media and consider just checking in on the news once or twice a day. It’s a good idea to turn off  news and social media alerts as well to allow you to relax more. Use trustworthy sites such as  GOV.UK or the NHS website and fact check information you’re getting from social media and other people.

 

 

Continue doing activities you enjoy

 When we’re feeling anxious or depressed it can be hard to carry on doing the things we enjoy which doesn’t help our mood. Make time for your favourite activities if they are things you can still do from home.  If your concentration has deteriorated then short bursts of activities may be better, for instance instead of attempting to read a book with long chapters why not try a book of letters or read the diary of someone you are interested in. Your local library service may be available by email or phone and they could help you with suggestions, some are still doing deliveries.

 You might find that doing an activity like puzzles or painting is a great way to switch off. There are numerous tutorials online to help you get started and many free courses you can try. If you fancy something a bit more academic, Futurelearn has a vast amount to choose from. You can stay social with online pub quizzes, live music streams and book clubs.

 

Look after your body

 Our physical health has a massive impact on our mood but during stressful times it can be easy to fall into unhealthy habits.  Try to eat a healthy balanced diet, drink plenty of water and take regular exercise. Avoid smoking, drugs and too much alcohol.

 If you can get outside then exercising in the fresh air, especially around nature is a great option. If that isn’t possible then you can exercise from home and there are some great 10 minute workouts to try here.

 

 Relaxation and sleep

 In addition to the tips we’ve already mentioned you might want to try learning some specific relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or meditation. When practised regularly even 10 minutes a day can be really helpful as a way to deal with anxiety.

 A regular bedtime routine will really help you get a good night sleep. The NHS have some great tips to help you beat insomnia.

 

Thanks for reading and let us know if you have any ideas of your own!

 

Stay safe.

 

The Coda Team

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