As communities across the globe pull together during these testing and challenging times, we are all faced with the turmoil of big changes to our daily lives as well as uncertainty, extra worry and anxiety. We have heard over several days now, the importance of mental wellbeing as well as physical wellbeing. Dr Harbinder Sandhu, Associate Professor in the Clinical Trials Unit at Warwick Medical School and clinical psychologist, explains some of the feelings we may all experience and shares some tips for looking after your own wellbeing.
“First of all acknowledge that it is okay to feel worried, sad and fearful,” explains Dr Sandhu. “After all there are many ‘what if’’ questions which do not have clear answers at the moment.
“Many of us are away from families, friends and loved ones and we are in a situation which will constantly change. However when the worry, fear and anxiety start to consume us and impact in an unhelpful way, we need to address how we can protect our own wellbeing.
“It is important to focus on what you do have control over instead of the things that are beyond your control. Remember, physical isolation does not mean social isolation – we can still talk to others via the phone, or the internet.
“Although it will be frustrating at times, a form of acceptance and learning to implement a few helpful behaviours is a good start and there are many online sources that are available for additional help. Engaging in meaningful activities will add purpose and value to your time. Revaluate what these values are for you and take this opportunity to develop a plan and work towards them. These are activities that you are motivated to do.
“Remember, the most important relationship you can work on over the next few weeks and months is the relationship with yourself.”
A few tips to keep good mental health at home:
- Be reassured we are all in this together. Communities are stronger then you think, and there are many positive stories emerging of people pulling together across the globe to support each other though these testing times.
- Develop a daily routine at home, which includes wake time, meal time and sleep time and keep these consistent as much as possible
- List things you would like to do, perhaps you have not had the time to do them in the past and that you can do whilst at home
- Keep mobile and active as much as you can at home, and try and get some fresh air
- If working from home, do not forget to have regular breaks. and put boundaries around work time and home/family/you time
- If you have family and children at home, get them involved in the things you can
- Are the days starting to merge? Plan your days, remained focused and this includes the weekends too. Habit forming occurs though repetition and routine, implementing good behaviours now will lead to healthy habits
- Be creative in what you do and how you do it, think of this as an opportunity to perhaps learn a new skill
- Take up relaxation and meditation: time for reflection is important to understand your feelings and emotions and reaction to the current situation, learn to re-channel your energy and work towards personal growth
- Restrict the amount of time you are spending on social media. Yes, to some extent it can be informative, but can also add to the anxiety and fear you may already be feeling
- Researchers and scientists are working extremely hard to find solutions and inform the Government, so please follow guidance given by Public Health England to keep you and your loved ones as safe as possible.
- Mental Health Foundation tips which are constantly being updated: https://mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus
- OCD-UK: OCD and Coronavirus Top Tips https://www.ocduk.org/ocd-and-coronavirus-survival-tips/
- Beat Eating Disorders: Eating Disorders and Coronavirus https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/coronavirus
- The Sanctuary, a chat room and safe space for people with an eating disorder to share concerns and advice on how they are coping with the pandemic. https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/sanctuary
- Papyrus, prevention of young suicide: helpline and supporting resources https://papyrus-uk.org/practising-self-care-during-times-o…/
- Bipolar UK: Bipolar disorder and coronavirus
- The Stay Alive App: An app for those at risk of suicide and those worried about someone
- CALM: Helpline for everyone but especially men, and tips on coping with social isolation
- Mind: Coronavirus and your wellbeing
- Anxiety UK: self-help resources for anxiety related conditions
- The Samaritans
- Support for victims of domestic or sexual violence and abuse: Coronavirus: Victim and witness services