For some people, the world will feel like a pretty scary place to be right now. As the cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have risen, it is only natural to feel anxious. A pandemic can have a detrimental effect on anyone’s mental health. Feelings of anxiety and depression can be heightened, and the thought of isolation can exasperate these feelings. People with existing mental health conditions such as anxiety and OCD may feel their conditions worsen during these times of uncertainty.
Thankfully, many people are showing creativity, resilience and good-will in response to the coronavirus pandemic. From how to entertain yourself and your family during isolation, to ways to look after your mental wellbeing and neighbourhood schemes to help those who can’t leave their homes. Here’s how people are responding in positive ways to the COVID-19 outbreak:
For some of us, being in isolation or practicing social distancing can heighten feelings of loneliness. For others, it may feel comforting, knowing that you and your family are safe inside your home. Whether you are isolating or social distancing, here are some things that you can do to stay in control, keep busy and help put your mind at ease:
Create a home workout: It is a known fact that exercise helps to improve our mental health. There are loads of virtual training programmes, you can even join a class with others online! Try searching on YouTube for ‘At home workouts’, or you can download a workout app. Many apps are now free for a short period of time to help people stay active and healthy during isolation!
Joe Wicks, an English fitness coach, is also posting a free online PE session Monday to Friday at 9AM. The classes are designed for children all ages and are streamed live on his YouTube channel.
Keep to a routine: Maintaining a routine is essential, it helps keep structure to your day and will give you a sense of control. It is important to plan some time into your routine for you. It can be all too easy when working from home to work into your nights and weekends. Stick to your working hours where you can, and schedule some ‘me time’ to avoid burn-out. This can be with or without other people in your household. Here are some tips on how we can incorporate “self-care” into our daily routine.
Stick to a sleep schedule: It is equally important to try to keep to your regular sleep schedule. Good quality sleep has a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Sleep promotes healing, reduces stress and is an essential part of looking after your health.
Stay connected: Technology enables us to video call and chat to our loved ones at any time of the day. Make sure you keep in touch with your family and friends where you can, especially if you are living alone and struggling at this time. There are lots of free apps, ‘FaceTime’, ‘Skype’, ‘Zoom’, ‘WhatsApp’ all allow you to video call for free.
Get creative: Studies show that creating art stimulates the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical released by the brain which makes us feel happy – – the same chemical that is released during exercise. To learn more about how to utilise arts and crafts click here. This is also a good tip for keeping children occupied throughout the day.
Learn something new: Many people now have more time to themselves than ever. Now might be the perfect opportunity to delve into learning another language, taking an online cooking course or even learning to play an instrument.
Meditate/Yoga: Many people, following meditation or yoga, achieve a sense of relaxation and inner peace, which can improve mental health. There are Mindfulness Apps such as ‘CALM’ and ‘Smiling Mind’ available to download. There are also yoga blogs, which may help you too if you are a beginner.
Maintain a healthy diet: A healthy diet doesn’t just affect our physical health. It also improves your mood and sleep quality whilst increasing our energy levels. Find out more in this article.
Limit news intake: Try not to spend too much time following the headlines surrounding the coronavirus, especially if you find yourself feeling negative afterwards. Make sure you are consuming news from reputable sources and set a schedule for when you will catch up on the latest developments to ensure it isn’t dominating your day.
You could also try to keep it balanced by dedicating time to reading good news too. Click here to read some uplifting stories.
Study a course: Stay productive. OpenLearn have a variety of free courses. They even have courses on mental health that could help develop strategies for coping with any stress you may be feeling.
Help your community: Social distancing is the first step to helping your community. Around the country people are coming together to support each other. Helping to provide shopping and prescription collection to those in need. Support groups like Mutual Aid UK and Acorn are linking people who need support to volunteers in their community. They focus on providing resources and connecting people.
We hope you found these tips and resources useful at this difficult time. Please remember we should always follow the government guidelines and ensure that we are kind to one another.
We are all in this together.
(Photo by Amy Shamblen on Unsplash)