COVID-19: Managing anxiety and worries

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed as we read news about the outbreak, especially if you have experienced trauma or a mental health issue in the past. People with long-term physical health conditions can also feel more vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus.  It’s important to acknowledge these feelings and remind each other that staying healthy is as much about your mind as it is about your body.

Here are a few extra tips to help support and manage your wellbeing:

1. Try to avoid speculation

Look up reputable sources on the outbreak. Facts can minimise fears. Rumour and speculation can fuel anxiety. Having access to good quality information about the virus can help you feel more in control.  You can get reliable up to date information from the Public Health England website.

2. Try to stay connected

At times of stress, we work better in company and with support. Try and keep in touch with your friends and family.

3. Avoid over-consumption of the media

There is extensive news coverage about the outbreak.  Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage that you perceive as upsetting. If you find that the news is causing you huge stress, it’s important to find a balance. If you are sharing content through social media, use trusted sources. Remember friends might be worried too.

4. Look after your online wellbeing

If you’re going online more than usual or seeking peer support on the internet, it’s important to not overdo it. Here is a some more information about On-line mental health

5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

This includes maintaining a proper diet, sleep and exercise.  Avoid using  smoking, alcohol or other drugs to deal with your emotions. Further information can be found on the Healthy Somerset website.

6. Make use of past coping skills

Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous life’s adversities and use those skills to help you manage your emotions during the challenging time of this outbreak. Daily practices of mindfulness and gratitude can be extremely beneficial to help us cope. And although we may have to spend less time face-to-face with others, we can still stay in touch with loved ones and take time to share appreciation and support others.

7. Make wise and kind choices

Making wise and kind choices is about looking after ourselves AND others. We can make a big difference by supporting loved ones and showing solidarity. This is a time to really celebrate our common humanity and treat everyone with empathy and compassion.

8. Try not to make assumptions

Don’t judge people and avoid jumping to conclusions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The Coronavirus can affect anyone, regardless of gender, ethnicity or sex.