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Feeling anxious or low about coronavirus

With everything going on and the changes to day-to-day life many of us may feel anxious and worried. It's natural to feel this way when there’s a lot of uncertainty. However, there are things you can do to help look after yourself mentally and feel more in control. 

Stay connected

Even though staying at home might mean you don’t see as many people as you used to, there are others ways for you to stay connected with the people you care about. As well as giving them a ring, why not try a video call, message online or even connect over social media?

Now that restrictions are starting to be lifted you could also see about meeting up with a friend outside for a chat or walk. Make sure you follow Government guidelines when doing this though, including staying 2 metres away from anyone you don’t live with and staying in outdoor spaces. If you have been advised to shield, then the Government advice is to only go outside with members of your household or, if you live alone, with one person outside of your household.

Staying connected with others and having a chat can keep your spirits up and help with feelings of loneliness. Now might even be the perfect opportunity to reach out to an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while? Or you could share ideas and fun things with friends, such as crafts you’re working on.

Also, think about others that might be feeling worried and anxious about what’s going on. Maybe reach out for a chat, your call may help you both feel better.

How to make a video call

If you've got a smartphone, tablet or computer at home, there are easy ways to use video calls to talk to other people. Let us show you how to get started.

Talk about how you're feeling

While it might be nice to have a natter with others, don’t forget to talk about how you’re feeling too - even if sometimes it's not all that positive. If you find yourself feeling anxious, down or out of sorts, try to tell someone you trust. Talking is often one of the best ways to start feeling better. Keeping these feelings to yourself can only make you feel more worried.

Also, the chances are others will be feeling a similar way to you at the moment. Talking about how you’re feeling may also make them feel better about what’s going on. Some people find that giving themselves a dedicated time each day or week to talk about the bad things they're experiencing or what's making them feel angry, sad or concerned is a helpful way of managing their feelings. Try to keep it to a set time, like 10 minutes, then move on to something else so you don't get fixated on the negatives. 

If you think you need some help at the moment you could have a chat with your GP or refer yourself for talking therapies on the NHS self referral page. Talking therapies, involve talking to someone who is specially trained to help us manage our thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on our behaviour and mood. You can usually refer yourself to a local service to see if you could benefit from treatment, or your doctor or nurse can do it for you if you prefer. Although talking therapies can't happen face-to-face at the moment they are still able to happen online or over the phone. Your therapist can help you to find an option which works for you.

If you don't feel you can talk to someone else about your worries right now, why not try writing them down? Sometimes getting things off our chest and onto a piece of paper can help to lighten the load. 

Some organisations are still providing counselling or one-to-one support:

  • Local Minds have adapted their services and many now have helplines and are doing over the phone consultations. Contact your local Mind to see what they’re doing.
  • Anxiety UK has a helpline and lots of information on their website, including webinars to help you learn some tools for dealing with your mental health.
  • If you are struggling, you can speak to your GP. Many GP services are offering telephone consultations so don’t hesistate to contact them.

You may also find it useful to speak with others going through a similar experience to you. Mental Health UK have an online forum called Clic where you can connect with other adults, share how you are feeling, and support one another.

Keep on top of the practical things

Things you used to do easily – such as doing your shopping or picking up a prescription – might now be more difficult. This may be particularly true if you’re having to shield or aren’t sure whether you can go out and about. But don’t worry, you can still sort these things, even if you can’t get out and about. 

Don’t watch the news all day

The constant stream of information we’re getting about coronavirus can feel overwhelming. And while staying up to date with the latest information is important, watching or rereading the same information over and over again makes it hard to switch off.

You could put a set time aside to catch up with the latest information. Maybe some time in the morning and the evening can be a good way to make sure you stay up to date without overloading yourself. It also gives you time to make the most of the rest of your day.

Also, to avoid any unnecessary stress, make sure you’re getting your information from reputable sources such as GOV.UK and trusted news outlets.

Look after yourself physically

It can be tricky to stay as active when we're spending more time indoors. But it’s important to stay healthy and active by eating well, drinking enough water, doing what exercise you can and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

We have more information about how you can keep yourself healthy and active at home.

We have more information on how to stay well here

Stick to a routine – or make a new one

One of the best things you can do with everything being as uncertain as it is, is maintain a routine. It can be tricky but it can really help you feel better and more in control.

Try to keep doing what you’d normally do as best you can. If you can’t do what you normally do, why not adapt your routine or try and create a new one that prioritises looking after yourself.

Make sure you include things you enjoy. Take time to focus on your favourite hobby or explore online courses and tutorials online. And if you can’t do the things you used to, why not try something new?

Try to relax and get enough sleep

Do what you can to relax. It can be particularly difficult at the moment, but taking time in your day to unwind, be away from the news and do what helps to relax you – maybe that’s reading a book or cooking a meal – can really help.

Feeling more relaxed during the day can also help you get a better sleep at night. Sleeping well can make a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough.

Have you tried mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a popular type of meditation that helps you stay grounded in the present moment. It can help you manage your thoughts and sleep better.

Keep an eye on how you're feeling

Keep an eye on how you’re feeling. If you feel more anxious, you begin to experience physical symptoms such as changes to your heartbeat or loss of appetite or you’re concerned about how you’re feeling then contact NHS 111 online.

If you have an existing mental health issue, this can be a particularly difficult time. Make sure to stay on top of any medication you may be taking and talk about how you’re feeling to those around you or your GP or counsellor.  

Look out for each other

However you’re feeling, it’s important to take care of yourself as much as you can. You should take practical steps to look after your wellbeing.

But it’s also important to keep an eye on those around us. Check in with your loved ones and call family members and friends for a chat to see how they’re doing and share some of these tips with them if you think they’d be helpful.

Are worried about someone you care for?

They may rely on you or outside care and support, and you’re concerned about what will happen if they become unwell.

Eat well

Sometimes when we feel anxious or worried, we may find we have less of an appetite but making sure we are eating and drinking enough is essential for our health and wellbeing. If you're worried that you have recently gone off food or unintentionally lost weight, it may be a good idea to weigh yourself regularly so you can see if you are losing weight.

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Last updated: Jun 22 2020

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