By: Sidra Ahmer Clinical Psychologist & Radio Anchor
For the estimated one-in-ten people in the world who live with a mental health disorder, it’s an even tougher time. The COVID-19 pandemic is an anxious and uncertain time.
Stuck indoors, worried about an uncertain future, concerned for your family or friends: the pandemic is a stressful situation for anyone to contend with.feeling worried and anxious is normal in a crisis like this, but it can be managed.
The 14 recommendations are:
Consider how to connect with others: Video calls with friends and family can help beat isolation.
Help and support others: Think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too.
Talk about your worries: Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too.
Look after your physical wellbeing: Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside once a day (keeping the recommended 2 meters from others as outlined in the social distancing guidance
Look after your sleep: 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.
Try to manage difficult feelings: Try to focus on the things you can control, including where you get information from and actions to make yourself feel better prepared.
Manage your media and information intake: 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. It may help to only check the news at set times or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day.
Limit your media exposure, especially if you struggled with anxiety before the pandemic
Also encouraged people to check the news from reliable sources only once or twice a day.
Think about your new daily routine: Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week.
Do things you enjoy: 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.
Set goals: Setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home.
Keep your mind active: Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, or drawing and painting. Find something that works for you.
Take time to relax and focus on the present: Relaxation techniques can help some people to deal with feelings of anxiety.
If you can, once a day get outside, or bring nature in: Spending time in green spaces can benefit both your mental and physical wellbeing. If you can’t get outside you can try to get these positive effects by spending time with the windows open, or arranging space to sit and see a view (if possible) and get some natural sunlight.
To cope, limit your media exposure to the issue, do your part in helping control the virus’s spread, reach out to others,
Do what you can to protect yourself and your family, including excellent hygiene and social distancing practices.
Widening our perspective and recognizing that while things are challenging and uncertain, there are also good things in our daily lives” can make a big difference.