In these uncertain times it is natural that you and the rest of the community might be feeling more distressed, anxious or low as you have to stay at home and socially isolate or distance yourself from others.

There are many changes and challenges that people may be facing right now so it is inevitable that you might find yourself worrying more about the virus, your family, the future and the world. It is easy to end up catastrophising about coronavirus and what might happen. However we know worrying will only cause more anxiety, more uncomfortable feelings and make this experience all the more overwhelming.

If you feel at risk of harm to yourself then please call your GP or out of hours GP line 111, or the Samaritans are available 24/7 on 116 123.

Looking after your wellbeing

• Stay connected even though you cannot meet up with family and friends you can still call, message, use video calls to have that face to face connection. Talking to others virtually and using social media to connect with others can really help with those feelings of loneliness and depression. Try playing a fun game or having a meal or drink over a video call to make it more enjoyable.

• Keep a routine for adults and children, we all need some structure in our day to feel more at ease. Even if you just get up, get dressed and have breakfast at the same time every day this will help you to start the day. You can gradually build in more activities as you get used to a routine at home.

• Be active most days. Exercise is so important for our mental wellbeing and can be a helpful way of using the adrenaline that we get from anxiety. Despite not being able to go to the gym, if you can go outside then go for a walk or a run. If you are self-isolating then there are so many videos on home workouts on youtube to choose from. If you have a long term health problem maybe try doing some gentle stretches once a day to get your body moving.

• Try to get some fresh air whether that involves getting out in your garden, out for a walk or just opening the windows to let the air in.

• Keep a healthy diet and stay hydrated as we tend to comfort eat at times of stress or not eat at all, try to eat a balanced diet and have your 5 fruit and veg a day as this will help with your energy levels, anxiety and overall wellbeing. Remember to drink plenty of water.

• Maintain a good sleep routine as we can easily get into bad habits with sleep especially if our routine has changed, but sleep is vital to help us stay healthy and well. Prioritise 30 minutes or more before bed for some calming activities like a hot bath, book or relaxation. Adults need a bedtime routine just as much as children do!

• Limit media about coronavirus whilst it is important to stay informed and be aware of what you need to do during the pandemic, always consider what sources you read from. Limit how much time you spend reading articles about coronavirus as this will only create more anxiety and worry, try to limit yourself to updates once or twice a day.

• Share how you are feeling as there are probably lots of other people who are feeling the same as you right now. It can be helpful to share your feelings with others as they might be more supportive than you think, or if you feel more comfortable expressing them alone then this can help too. Remember we are all in this together.

• Help others you know who might be elderly, vulnerable or have long term health conditions who might be in great need of some practical or emotional support. It can make a great difference if you offer to drop some food off or just a phone call to see how they are doing.

Other useful links:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

https://www.psychologytools.com/assets/covid-19/guide_to_living_with_worry_and_anxiety_amidst_global_uncertainty_en-us.pdf