The COVID-19 outbreak means most of us will be housebound for the foreseeable future, which may leave us feeling anxious, frustrated, lonely and most notably, bored, so School of Journalism trainee and Mancunian Matters journalist Anna Brocklehurst has done some research on the best ways to manage your mental health during this time.
The most important thing to remember is that these feelings are completely normal given the circumstances. However, this is only temporary, and it will pass, as will those feelings.
Addressing the nation in a rare and heart-warming speech the Queen said the UK ‘will succeed’ in its fight against COVID-19 and praised key workers for their work as every hour ‘brings us closer to a return to more normal times’.
She touchingly ended her speech saying: “We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.”
While keeping physically healthy is crucial, it is just as important to look after your mental health and wellbeing, so I have compiled a list of ways to deal with coronavirus anxiety.
“Let go of what you can’t control and focus on what you can control” – This specific quote is what helped change my entire mindset regarding the coronavirus crisis.
The prospect of being locked down at home for weeks on end seemed daunting to me, I rely on seeing my friends and family to keep me happy, but I had to accept I have no control over this whatsoever.
However, what I can control is doing my bit to end this as quickly as possible.
Staying inside limits the spread of COVID-19, so that’s what I’ve done, as should everybody because the sooner we all comply with the rules, the sooner this will all be a distant memory.
Focus on the good news – Yes there is a lot of bad news at the moment, but it is important to be aware of the good news, such as people who have recovered from COVID-19, the wonderful acts of kindness happening all around us and the new-found appreciation people have for key workers.
Good news is out there, you just have to look a little harder for it.
Don’t panic, be alert – Being in lockdown with constant exposure to the news and scary statistics it is very easy to panic, but this can be detrimental to our mental health and wellbeing.
Panic spreads faster than the virus, we need to be strong to support not only ourselves, but others around us.
Limit news intake – It is extremely easy to get bogged down reading tweets, articles and data regarding the coronavirus, but this can leave us feeling anxious. While it is important to keep up to date on the crisis, we really should be limiting the amount of news we consume.
I for one only look at the figures released each day on Twitter at 2pm by the Department of Health.
Stay in touch with others – Staying in touch with friends and family is important in maintaining a healthy mind and wellbeing. I have found FaceTime to be the best form of contact to make me feel closer to the ones I love.
Social media is also a great way to stay up to date with how people are doing, with many people choosing to document their days during this challenging time.
It is especially important that we reach out to people that we know might be struggling and to try our best to eliminate any feelings of loneliness or anxiousness a person may be experiencing.
Sleep – Spending so much time at home can make it easy to fall into an unhealthy sleeping pattern, sleeping most of the day and watching Netflix all night.
It is important to stick to your normal routine as closely as possible, including waking up and going to sleep at the same time you usually would. This is essential in keeping your mental wellbeing healthy.
Exercise – Staring at the same four walls all day can leave you feeling unmotivated and drained, going outside for a walk or run to get some fresh air is an easy way to prevent this, as are home workouts.
There are many YouTube channels out there with customised plans, my personal favourite is Chloe Ting. Her website consists of 10 customised home workout plans and YouTube videos to take you through each workout step by step.
Learn a new skill – A sure-fire way to occupy your time is to learn a new skill, such as, learning a new language, starting to exercise, taking an online course.
Shawacademy.com has made many of their online courses free, these include photography and digital marketing courses, they are four weeks long and usually cost £49.99.
Reach out for help – If you feel you are in a position where you are struggling to help yourself, reach out for help.
Sites such as anxietyuk.org.uk, youngminds.org.uk and mind.org.uk offer help and advice, as well as access to phone numbers if you feel you would benefit from speaking to someone.
Stay home – The most important thing we can do to help ourselves and others is to stay at home. Although the current measures put in place may seem drastic, they are necessary, and they are there to help us curb the spread of COVID-19.
— Lucy Dyer (@Lucyedyer) March 13, 2020
Image credit Carolyn V on Unsplash.