Mental health during the covid19 outbreak
At Life Insurance Cover, most people who follow our social media and website posts would note a change to our normal post/pages during the pandemic. It was decided to provide as much information as possible to help everyone get through these new and sometimes scary times.
Throughout the varies stages of the pandemic, it has been quite clear that certain age groups are struggling more than others. Although we are unsure of the reasons why the under 30s have been hit so hard in relation to their mental health. It is quite clear that coping mechanisms vary from person to person. Our article on New Horizons appealed to the child in all of us.
Here are some tips we hope will help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health at a time when there is much discussion of potential threats to our physical health.
Looking after your mental health as lockdown eases
Across the 4 nations of the UK, lockdown is easing in different ways and slightly different times. As society begins to emerge from lockdown many of us are faced with both new challenges and opportunities.
With the changes to social distancing guidelines, we are able to see friends and family in person, play sport or for some the ability to go back to work.
However, many of us may find even these longed-for changes difficult for our mental health. The idea of coming out of lockdown when the scientific debate is ongoing may also be worrying for those of us who are more at risk from the virus or living with mental health problems.
For most people, having the ability to remain safe at home and away from other people was initially extremely daunting. As we have all adopted new routines for the lockdown including cooking, reading, exercise. To now be advised that we can do more of the “normal” day to day activities can cause anxiety.
Shielded People – To still stay at home
For people who are shielding not much has changed. Lockdown still applies, with some ability to increase exercise, and to get outside with social distancing. For these groups in particular it might be difficult to see their lives returning to anything like ‘normal’ for a much longer time. As other people come out of lockdown the impact of lockdown on those who are shielding may become even greater.
As different at risk and shielding groups are told they are able to resume activities, people will need to make assessments of how safe things feel for them, and how they balance the risk to their wellbeing of remaining locked down against the risk of getting the virus if they resume activities.
Looking after your mental health while you have to stay at home
More of us will be spending a lot of time at home and many of our regular social activities will no longer be available to us. Although sometimes change can be an enriching experience, most would agree that the ability to choose a change is better than an enforced one.
It will mean a different rhythm of life, maybe even a better life balance, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual. Be in touch with other people regularly on social media, e-mail or on the phone, as they are still good ways of being close to the people who matter to you.
Create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after yourself. You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Also worthwhile noting is that if your first new daily routine doesn’t work, you can change it, as they say Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Keep on top of your wider health needs. Make sure you that you have enough prescription medicines available to you.
Avoid speculation & Rumours
Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.
Follow hygiene advice such as washing your hands more often than usual. You should do this whenever you get home or into work, blow your nose, sneeze or cough, eat or handle food. If you can’t wash your hands straightaway, use hand sanitiser and then wash them at the next opportunity.
You should also use tissues if you sneeze and make sure you dispose of them quickly; and stay at home if you are feeling unwell.
The way we are able to connect with others has changed so much over the last 20 years. But due to the pandemic it has evolved even faster. Although we are able to connect virtually, physical connections are happening at a different pace depending on who you are and where you live. Advice is significantly different if you are shielding. You still need to take extra care if you have a long-term physical health condition, are pregnant or aged over 70.
At times of stress, as humans we work better in company and 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.
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? There is no harm in taking a few days away from social media if you think it may be damaging your mental health and could cause you to feel anxious.
Talk to your Family
Involving our family and children in our plans for good health is essential. We need 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.
Try to Identify distress
It is OK to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health problem in the past, or if you are shielding, have a long-term physical health condition or fall into one of the other groups that makes you more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.
It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health.
Try and reassure people you know and sometimes even a stranger who looks like they might be struggling. Also check in with people who you know are living alone.
Do not to make assumptions
Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.
Try to manage how you follow the outbreak in the media
There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. Take time away from the news if it feels to overwhelming, take time for yourself.
It’s best that you don’t avoid all news and that you keep informing and educating yourself, but limit your news intake if it is bothering you.
For further help with mental health:
And most importantly, we will all get through this together, by helping one another.