The coronavirus has plunged the world into uncertainty and the constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless. All of this is taking its toll on people’s mental health.
It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus. While it is important to stay informed, there are also many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your family and friends to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Try to stay connected
At times of stress, we work better with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family, by telephone, email or social media, or contact a helpline for emotional support.
You may like to focus on the things you can do if you feel able to:
- stress management
- keep active
- eat a balanced diet
Stay in touch with friends on social media but try not to sensationalise things. If you are sharing content, use this from trusted sources, and remember that your friends might be worried too.
Also, remember to regularly assess your social media activity. Tune in with yourself and ask if they need to be adjusted. Are there particular accounts or people that are increasing your worry or anxiety? Consider muting or unfollowing accounts or hashtags that cause you to feel anxious.
Talk to your children
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need to be alert to and ask children what they have heard about the outbreak and support them, without causing them alarm.
We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible.
Let?s not avoid the ?scary topic? but engage in a way that is appropriate for them. We have more advice on talking with your children about world news.
Try to maintain a practical and calm approach
Widespread panic can complicate efforts to manage the outbreak effectively. Do your best to stay calm and follow official advice, particularly around observing good hygiene habits.
You may not be able to go to the gym, but it?s okay to get outside and go for a walk or run, so long as you keep a safe distance. Many gyms and fitness instructors are also offering virtual classes right now if you would like to workout at home.
If you?re working out at home, there are also plenty of no-equipment-exercises ? like squats, burpees, sit-ups, planks, push-ups and mountain climbers ? you can do in even a small space.
And take comfort in the fact that physical activity doesn?t have to mean a gym-style workout. Plenty of research shows that everyday activities like walking, gardening and playing with the kids improve your overall mental and physical health?so any amount of movement you can squeeze in counts.