Being kind to ourselves during this period of uncertainty and worry
- Staying connected with others
Keeping up our relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. Staying in touch with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person really helps – whether it’s people you normally see often or connecting with old friends.
Helping and supporting others: The CLP is thinking about how we can help those around us – if you have any ideas or community notices you would like us to post on the CLP website do contact us (see the contact details on our CLP website).
Talking about our worries: It is quite normal to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current crisis situation. It is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how we are feeling with family and friends can help them too. If you don’t feel able to do that, there are people you can speak to via NHS recommended helplines or you could find support groups online to connect with.
- Looking after our physical wellbeing
Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel emotionally and mentally. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns, so instead try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day. If you are able to go outside, consider walking or gardening (keeping the recommended 2 metres from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance). If you are staying at home, you can find free easy 10 minute work outs from Public Health England or other exercise videos to try at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has good tips for keeping active at home.
Food glorious food – try out some new recipes – take a look at Jamie Oliver’s new show “Keep Cooking and Carry On” every weeknight at 5:30pm on Channel 4 – he is showing us loads of quick and easy store cupboard recipes. https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/keep-cooking-and-carry-on/
Food supplies: Think about how you can get any supplies you need – either from a neighbour, family friends or a delivery service so you don’t worry about running out. Try to pick healthy food, especially as you might not get as much exercise as normal.
Look after your sleep: Feeling anxious or worried can make it harder to get a good night’s sleep. Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. The Every Mind Matters sleep page provides practical advice on how to improve your sleep.
- Feeling a bit wobbly ….. managing our anxious feelings
It is natural to find the news about coronavirus (COVID-19) really concerning. However, if you find that your anxiety is becoming a problem, try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared.
It is okay for us to acknowledge some things that are outside of our control right now but if you find constant repetitive thoughts about the situation are leading you to feel anxious or overwhelmed you can visit the Every Mind Matters page on anxiety and NHS mental wellbeing audio guides provide further information on how to manage anxiety.
Manage our media and information intake: 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. If it is affecting you, try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak. It may help to only check the news at set times or limiting to a couple of checks a day.
Getting the facts: Gather high-quality information that will help you to accurately determine your own or other people’s risk of contracting coronavirus (COVID-19) so that you can take reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, and fact check information that you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people.
Anxiety – where to go for further support: It is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when your mood is low or anxious, for example: faster, irregular or more noticeable heartbeat, feeling lightheaded and dizzy, headaches, chest pains or loss of appetite. It can be difficult to know what is causing these symptoms, but often people who experience them due to stress, anxiety or low mood find that they get worse when they focus on them. See advice from the NHS on managing the physical symptoms. If you are concerned about your physical symptoms, then do contact NHS 111 online.
If you are experiencing stress, feelings of anxiety or low mood, you can use the NHS mental health and wellbeing advice website for self-assessment, audio guides and practical tools, tips and advice at Every Mind Matters If you are still struggling after several weeks and it is affecting your daily life, please contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.
- Wellbeing – Top Tips to try ….
Creating a new daily routine: Life is changing for us all for a while. Think about how we can adapt and create positive new routines – such as engaging in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend). It can be helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.
Doing things we enjoy: When we are anxious, lonely or low it can help to focus on a favourite hobby, learn something new or simply take time to relax indoors. If you can’t do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, try to think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online and people are coming up with innovative online solutions like online pub quizzes and streamed live music concerts.
Set goals: Setting goals and achieving them gives us a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home. It could be watching a film, reading a book or learning something online.
Keep your mind active: Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you.
Take time to relax and focus on the present: This can help with difficult emotions, worries about the future, and can improve wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety. For useful resources see Every Mind Matters and NHS’ mindfulness page.
If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both our mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside much you can try to still get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open to let in fresh air, arranging space to sit and see a nice view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight, or get out into your garden or local fields if you can.
Remember that social distancing guidelines enable you to go outside to exercise once a day as long as you keep 2 metres apart from others who are not members of your household group.
- Responding to practical worries
- Financial concerns: You may be worried about work and money if you have to stay home – these issues can have a big impact on your mental health. For guidance on what your rights are at work, what benefits you are entitled and what further support is available please see our guidance for employees or advice from citizens advice or the National Debt line.
- Carers – If you care for other people you may be worried about how to ensure care for those who rely on you – either your dependants at home or others that you regularly visit. Let your local authority know if you provide care, or support someone you don’t live with. Further advice on creating a contingency plan is available from Carers UK.
- Hampshire County Council (HCC) provide social care support for children and adults, including care homes places and packages of personal support in the home for older people, adults with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health problems. If you have an existing package of support, make it clear to HCC that the support is still needed. Tell HCC them that alternative arrangements are required if any of the usual support can’t continue. This may include things like carers visiting, day centre sessions, or friends and family coming over to help
- You can contact the social care department online or on the phone. Find HCC contact details at https://www.hants.gov.uk/socialcareandhealth/adultsocialcare
- Maintaining health – including medical conditions
- If you are being treated or taking medication for existing conditions continue accessing treatment and support where possible. Let relevant services know that you are staying at home, and work out how to continue receiving support during this time:
- Ask about having appointments by phone, text or online. For example, this could be with your counsellor, therapist or support worker, nurse, care worker or befriender
Keep taking your medication: You might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online using an app or website if your doctor’s surgery offers this.
- Ask your pharmacy about getting your medication delivered or think about who you could ask to collect it for you. The NHS website has more information about getting prescriptions for someone else and checking if you have to pay for prescriptions
- Continue to order your repeat prescriptions in your usual timeframe. There is no need to order for a longer duration or larger quantities. Your GP practice (or clinical team) may move your prescriptions to repeat dispensing arrangements so you only have to contact your pharmacy to get a repeat of your medicine rather than your practice. You can contact NHS 111 in England if you’re worried about accessing medication
- Be careful about buying medication online. You should only buy from registered pharmacies. You can check if a pharmacy is registered on the General Pharmaceutical Council website
Keep informed about what is happening
Keep up to date with information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) from sources you can trust, such as the NHS website.
This guidance is taken from recently published government advice which can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19#contents
Alison Ridley – Branch Secretary.