Xp Bonaire Feature Story
Taking care of your mind, as well as your body, is really important during these difficult times
You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you.
It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these feelings will pass.
The tips and advice here are things you can do to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may fee. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it and call your General Practitioner (GP) for advice.
1. Find out about your rights
You may be worried about your business, work and money right now. These issues can have a big effect on your mental health.
If you have not done so already, talk with your government department, bank, and employer to learn about your sick pay, benefits and special aid. Knowing the details about what the coronavirus outbreak means for you can reduce worry and help you feel more in control.
2. Stay connected with others
Maintaining healthy relationships with the people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family– by phone, messaging, video calls or social media – whether it's people you usually see often or connecting with old friends.
Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.
3. Talk about your worries
It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember, it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too.
If you cannot speak to someone you know, or if doing so has not helped, and you feel anxious for several days, call your GP and explain your mental state.
4. Look after your body
Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior that end up making you feel worse.
Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs and try not to drink too much alcohol.
You can leave your house, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. Or you could try one of the many online easy 10-minute home workouts.
5. Stay on top of difficult feelings
Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life.
Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control. In case your anxiety becomes overwhelming, seek advice from your GP.
6. Do not stay glued to the news
Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone.
You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day.
Use trustworthy sources and fact-check information from the news, social media or other people.
7. Carry on doing things you enjoy
If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy.
Make an effort to focus on your favorite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help.
There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.
8. Take time to relax
This can help with difficult emotions and worries and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety. You can find guided relaxations online, on YouTube for example.
9. Think about your new daily routine
Life is changing for a while and you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals.
You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal. Keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule.
You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV program or film or cook.
10. Look after your sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it's important to get enough.
Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices.
11. Keep your mind active
Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete Sudoku puzzles ( pick up our free print edition), finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting.
Whatever it is, find something that works for you.
There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health.
Remember, it is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus.
If this happens, try to distract yourself. When you feel less anxious, see if you still have the symptoms that worried you. If you are still concerned, call you GP and explain your situation.
Stay Strong, Safe and Healthy
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