The coronavirus has had a huge impact on our daily lives, and whether you’re young or old, employed or self-employed, you will have felt its effects. For many of us, it has caused anxiety around health and money, and now there are also a growing amount of restrictions on our daily lives.
There’s no doubt about it, the coronavirus and its impact is having an effect on many people’s mental health. The virus itself is an unknown enemy and what will happen, and how long this situation will go on for is uncertain; and it’s the fear of the unknown that’s driving our anxiety.
So how can you look after your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak?
Admit you’re anxious and express it-but don’t spiral
Given the situation, it’s completely normal to feel anxious. Express how you feel to other supportive people or write it down in a journal. But make sure you don’t get let yourself drawn into other people’s anxieties as this will only make you feel worse.
Limit how often you watch the news or check social media updates
If you’re constantly checking the news and social media for coronavirus updates, you’ll increase your anxiety and feelings of overwhelm. There’s nothing wrong with keeping yourself up to date with what’s going on, but stick to official sources like the government or the NHS.
A word on Facebook groups: There are a lot of Facebook groups popping up at the moment and the majority are all about people supporting each other which is so great to see. But watch out for those that are a constant stream of negativity, scaremongering, false information, or trolling. Everything you take in affects your mental health and overall anxiety levels, remember that.
If you can’t work at the moment, your gym is shut, or your exercise class is cancelled for the foreseeable future, you might not be as active as you usually are. Staying active is crucial for your physical and mental health so make exercise a priority. The current guidelines from the government say that you are allowed outside to exercise once per day, as long as you maintain a sensible distance from others, so you can go for a walk, jog, or bike ride. But if you’d rather stay at home, or you’re self-isolating, there are plenty of great workouts on YouTube from yoga to Pilates, high-intensity workouts and much more.
If you can’t see friends or family at the moment, it can feel quite lonely and this can affect mental health. We are very lucky to have access to technology that makes staying connected easier. You can text, call, or video call your friends and family, and even get together for a virtual cuppa or glass of wine!
Keep to a routine
If your life is upside down at the minute, sticking to a routine will help you feel just a little bit in control of things. Try to get up and go to bed at the same time and make time for exercise, self-care, and work (if you are able to work and are working from home.)
Fill your time with meaningful things
If you’ve suddenly found yourself with a lot of time on your hands, instead of scrolling through your phone every few minutes, use the time to do something you’ve been meaning to do for a while. If you’re self-employed, learn something new related to your business or tweak your website, or if you just want anything non-coronavirus related to fill your time, why not clear out your wardrobe, read that book you’ve been meaning to read, or do a free online course?
I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. I’ll be sharing lots more on the Facebook page in the coming weeks. Until next time, keep calm and carry on as best you can.