With the current global situation, words like ‘pandemic’ ‘crisis’ and ‘self-isolation’ can spread anxiety and fear, as well as confusion on the best course of action to take. Although it is essential to follow government guidelines to help prevent the spread coronavirus, it is also paramount that we take care of our mental health at this difficult time.

Here are our tips to both manage and support your emotional wellbeing during coronavirus:

 

If you are required to self-isolate

‘Self Isolation’ can sound like a scary term, and will mean a lot of us are required to stay at home. Although this may lead to concern and panic, if we try and see it as an opportunity it can help us cope with this sudden change. Rather than try and stick to a daily routine which no longer exists, why not create a new one filled with positive attributes for your mental health and that prioritizes looking after yourself?

 

We recommend:

  • Practice meditation or participate in guided meditations to help keep your brain clear of negative emotions, keep you in a calm state, and make sure you stay in tune with the present

 

  • Read self-development books– Now is the time to read those books you have always wanted to. See the extra time as a gift to work on yourself, stop and asses. What is it you wish to achieve? Is there anything you would like to change, develop, work towards? You have time to answer these questions and put a plan in place

 

  • Reconnect with loved ones- If you are experiencing self-isolation with your loved ones, now is the time to develop a deeper connection with them. You can do this in simple ways like playing board games together or through music. If you have children, you can minimize worry by discussing the situation with them: what have they heard about the outbreak? What are their concerns? It is important to be truthful and explain the facts to them, yet avoid using the media and instead engage with them in an appropriate way.

 

Utilize technology

Let’s be thankful for modern technology: video calls help us connect with friends & family in other parts of the world, phone calls reassure loved ones we are ok and keep us connected. If you are able to work remotely this is also a way to keep productive and assure a form of normality is achieved.

 

Identify unhelpful thoughts that cause unnecessary additional drama or catastrophizing

 Instead, reframe and choose your thoughts more mindfully. Exposing yourself to media coverage can make this difficult, so when following the news choose trusted sources rather than those designed to fuel panic. It is important to stay constructively informed but essential to avoid unnecessarily negative news, especially on social media platforms.

 

Include these ideas in your self-care routine

Try to adopt at least a couple of these activities into your new daily routine to help promote wellbeing:

  • Watch interesting TED talks and listen to informative podcasts
  • Listen to calming music
  • Use relaxing scented oils or candles
  • Rediscover your creative side through writing, drawing or painting

These are all simple tips to take to help us feel calmer and offer a healthy distraction when times can feel out of our control.

 

Keep active and eat and balanced diet

For those partaking in social distancing, you should utilize at least 15 minutes of outdoor time (as long as it is safe to do so.) But, even if you are inside it is important to stay mobile- try new exercise classes, practice yoga or even just stretch to keep your body agile. Similarly, now is the time to eat healthily to protect our immune system and support our brain development.

 

And remember:

Music is not cancelled

Family is not cancelled

Dancing is not cancelled

Laughing is not cancelled

Singing is not cancelled

Family is not cancelled

Hope is not cancelled

Love is not called

 

We are stronger together.

 

As well as intensive CBT sessions, Dr Jeremy Alford is offering sessions online from the comfort of your home during this period when people are asked to stay home. For more information, contact him here: https://www.choicesretreats.com/

 

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