Managing your wellbeing during COVID-19

There is a lot of uncertainty around the current Coronavirus outbreak. The situation is changing every day, and even though we do not know everything about the virus yet we are learning new things every day.

For many people this is causing a lot of worry and anxiety. Some may have concerns about how to stay well and healthy, and not pass the virus onto vulnerable loved ones.

Government recommendations around social distancing, staying indoors, and schools closing will have an impact on us all. Some people may find that loneliness and anxiety may get worse during this time.

Good mental health and positive wellbeing can help you better cope with the disruption Coronavirus is creating in our lives.

This guide was put together by Croydon CAMHS.

Know the facts

Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting with others during this time, but a lot of rumours about the virus are being posted. Seeing lots of scary sounding rumours can create a lot of unnecessary fear.  

Try to avoid looking at the news, and stories about Coronavirus too much. Constant monitoring of news updates and social media about Coronavirus can increase feelings of worry and distress.

Try this instead

  • Turning off automatic notifications
  • Setting boundaries of how much news you consume e.g. once a day at a specific time

Make sure you’re aware of the facts. The Government, the NHS, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other leaders are providing daily updates about decisions that are being made as a response to Coronavirus.

Stay up to date with that information and know the facts, not rumours. Below are some of the links to credible sources of information:

SLAM also have information about changes to services, and advice. Take a look at the infection control page for more up to date information.

Create a schedule

Even when you are at home, it is important to try and maintain a personal schedule. Try to shower and change your clothes each day, stick to your usual eating times and try not to spend too much time watching TV, playing video games or being on social media.

Making time to chill out is important, but by making a schedule the days will go by more quickly and you will not lose track of time.

Here's an example of a daily schedule. Try it out, or adapt it to suit your needs:

Before 9am

Wake up

Eat breakfast, make your bed, get dressed

9-10am

Morning exercise

Family walk, yoga, dance video, exercise video, or something else

10-12am

School / work time

No electronics. Complete your study tasks, or revision

12:00

Lunch

 

12.30pm

Household chores

Do something like washing up, cleaning the bathroom, or something else

1-3pm

School / work time

Electronics okay. Complete your study tasks, or revision

3-4pm

Creative time

Drawing, lego, craft, music, cook, bake, imaginative play, writing, reading

4-5pm

Get some fresh air

Walk, play outside, bike, run

5-6pm

Dinner

Connect with family members in your house

6-8pm

Free time

Connect with friends via phone, messages, chat, online gaming

9pm onwards

Bedtime

Relaxation and wind down for bedtime. Try some relaxation, or mindfulness apps.


Do not feel pressure to ‘spend this time wisely’

Although we suggest that you make a schedule to keep yourself busy do not put pressure on yourself to be doing something all the time.

Having down time is good and healthy everyone. If we set ourselves a big a task that we cannot meet, we may feel disappointed or let down by ourselves, which is a true waste of time.

Reach out to your loved ones

Keep connected with people. Everyone will be finding this time challenging so try to stay in touch with people through instant messages, video call, phone call, emails, or even letters.

Talk to your friends and family about your feelings and deal with challenges together. Receiving support and care from others can help give a sense of comfort and stability.

Helping others in their time of need helps them and you. They may be feeling alone or concerned and you could help them learn the facts about Coronavirus. 

If you have a friend who seems depressed or very low, ask a trusted adult to help connect with them.

Try to talk about things other than the Coronavirus. A lot of good is coming out of this time of need. People and communities are coming together to help each other, and it is important to keep that in mind.

Stay active

We know that physical activity helps us with our mental wellbeing. 

Try to move your body each day, even if you are indoors. Exercise can help to elevate your mood and lower stress.

Find creative ways to build physical activity into your dialysis routine and try to stick to it.

You could try:

  • Cleaning your house, or room
  • Dancing to music
  • Going up and down stairs
  • Online exercise workouts
  • Getting as much sunlight, fresh air and nature as you can. This could be in your garden, local park, or woodland. Remember to keep your distance from others



Acknowledge your feelings

It is normal to feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or upset, or have other emotional reactions to the current situation.

Allow yourself time to notice and express what you’re feeling. This could be by writing them down in a journal, talking to others, doing something creative, or practising meditation.

Manage your anxiety

You will know what helps you to manage your anxiety. Remember that breathing, mindfulness and grounding exercises will help you to relax. Try some of the following exercises:

Calm triangle breathing

  1. Breathe in for 3 seconds, feeling your lower belly expand with air.
  2. 
Hold your breath for 3 seconds.

  3. Breathe out for 3 seconds through your mouth, feeling your lower belly flatten.
  4. 
Repeat this cycle for 2-3 minutes until you feel more relaxed.

Calm Triange Breathing

 

Progressive muscle relaxation exercise

  1. Tense muscles slowly whist taking a deep breath through your nose
  2. Hold both muscles and breath for 5 sec, and then breath slowly out through mouth while releasing muscle tension in your feet
  3. Repeat with a different body part
  4. Focus on key tension spots e.g. neck, jaw, legs

 

Grounding exercise

Grounding help you focus on what is going on around you and where you are rather than focusing on the body sensations or what you are thinking. 

    • 5 things you see
    • 4 things you feel
    • 3 things you hear
    • 2 things you smell
    • 1 thing you taste

 

Mindfulness exercise

Imagine you are looking out at a calm sea. Imagine you are throwing a pebble to the center of the sea.

You are the pebble, feel the sensation as you float gently towards to bottom of the sea. Take notice of what is around you in the sea. Feel the smooth sand beneath you and the light touch of the water around you. Sit with this peaceful image. If your mind wanders to other things, gently bring it back.

Calm -sea

This exercise helps teach you to bring your mind back to a place of calm. You can get better at this through practice. This image can be used when you are beginning to see yourself moving into a state of anxiety.

Self care

Self-care includes focusing on things you can control, like good hygiene, instead of things you cannot control.

Try these things where possible:

  • Maintain your daily routine and normal activities
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Get enough sleep
  • Do things you enjoy and are in line with your core values



Be kind to yourself

Self-kindness is essential if you want to cope well in this crisis – especially if you are in a caregiver role.

Ask yourself, 'if someone I loved was going through this experience, feeling what I am feeling – if I wanted to be kind and caring towards them, how would I treat them? What might I say or do?”

Then try treating yourself the same way.


Challenge your thoughts

Our thoughts (how we think about things) are interlinked with how we feel emotionally and physically.

If our minds are filled with lots of catastrophic and anxious thoughts like, “I won’t be able to keep my family safe during this outbreak”, then this is likely going to make us feel emotionally distressed and anxious.

It might impact us in different ways; difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, difficulty concentrating, tiredness and low energy.

As best you can, try to think positive thoughts and not focus on things you have no control over.

Take joy in the little things

At the end of each day, try to identify 3 things that happened in the day that you are either grateful for or enjoyed.

This is a really nice way to reflect and focus on the good things during this time of uncertainty.

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